Hughes Insurance and Woodland Trust Northern Ireland have joined forces to plant thousands of trees in Northern Ireland by 2022.

The relationship aims to reduce the Newtownards-based insurance broker’s carbon footprint whilst increasing the number of trees being planted in Northern Ireland by the Bangor-based charity.

Hughes intends to donate £2 to Woodland Trust Northern Ireland for every customer that switches to e-mail based communications. As one of Northern Ireland’s largest insurance brokers, Hughes aim to encourage up to 80% of its customers to switch by 2022, as it plans its journey to become a carbon neutral business.

Ian McCurley, chief executive of Woodland Trust NI commented:

“Northern Ireland is one of the least-wooded regions in Europe, with just 8% woodland cover compared with the European average of 37%. Our role is to stand up for trees, protect our woods and increase woodland cover locally for the benefit of people, wildlife and climate.

"The partnership with Hughes Insurance is an excellent example of how progressive local businesses can get involved and help us increase woodland cover throughout Northern Ireland whilst reducing their own carbon footprint.”

The partnership with Woodland Trust Northern Ireland has been established to facilitate the planting of thousands of additional trees in the region.

Don Brennan, trading director at Hughes Insurance advised:

“As a local business, with local staff, we are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and protecting the environment. Our partnership with the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland provides us with tangible targets that we can focus on to offset our carbon footprint.

"A business of our scale, and the administrative nature of our processes, means we produce huge amounts of printed materials that often go unread. Whilst our target of 80% is ambitious we believe it’s achievable as the entire team is committed to driving this change. So far this year nearly 10% of customers have changed their preferences, meaning 47% of customers have now switched to paperless communications. Simply put, our goal is to use less paper and help plant more trees.”

The Woodland Trust has been established in Northern Ireland for 20 years and manages 50 woods across the country. Many of these woodlands recently experienced a surge in visitor numbers during lockdown as the public chose to take their daily exercise in these free to visit locations.

Don concluded: “We are excited to be working with Woodland Trust Northern Ireland and look forward to supporting them and their ongoing objectives of offsetting carbon emissions, protecting wildlife and tackling climate change.”

Notes to editors

For media enquiries contact Glynis Watt at the Woodland Trust on 0792 0245545 or via email at glyniswatt@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims:  

  1. to protect ancient woodland, which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. to restore damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. to plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free. Further news can be found at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk