Forests have an important role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced genetic trees absorb up to 40% more CO2 than traditional Open Pollinated seedlings.
We estimate that approximately 400 million tons of CO2 has been absorbed from the atmosphere in the last 10 years by the trees provided by ArborGen to our customers. In 2022, our conifer seedlings were planted on approximately 600,000 acres in the US and Brazil. The forests that develop from those seedlings will sequester around 64 million tonnes of carbon over their 25 year life. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), those tons of carbon consumption will offset the carbon emissions from all the cars in Auckland, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Paris and London for a full year.
We are actively assessing opportunities in emerging global carbon markets, to provide our advanced genetics seedlings for large scale afforestation and reforestation projects in the Southern US. Once planted, these seedlings will become large, dedicated carbon fixing forests over several hundred square miles. ArborGen expects to provide seedlings and technical advice through multi-year purchase agreements and executed the first of these recently, with the first seedlings (both pine and hardwoods) being supplied in FY24.
Our seedlings are used in the protection and renewal of important or damaged areas. ArborGen hardwood seedlings, such as oaks, ash and tupelos, are often used as part of planting programmes for the protection and renewal of important or damaged areas in projects such as restoring wetlands, reclaiming lands used for surface mining and conserving wildlife habitat. Over the last five years, across 1,000 square miles, 30 million of our seedlings, comprising more than 40 different species of hardwoods, have gone into environmental plantings in the US.
Our culture of sustainability is built into our operational practices. We follow recommended best practices to minimise chemical usage, runoff and soil erosion. We monitor and manage the use of our natural resources and optimise transport and deliveries to reduce transport emissions. Our seedlings are grown at a very high density, reducing the acreage required.
ArborGen is a member of the Forest Landowners Association and the Forest Resources Association, and a supporter of the American Forest Foundation for family forest owners. Our customers are members of global, national and regional sustainability and environmental forestry organisations, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.
Demonstrating care for and protection of our natual ecosystem
REUSE & RECYCLING
In Brazil, all plastic waste such as tubes, trays and boxes that are no longer suitable for use are returned to suppliers for recycling and replacement. ArborGen provides depreciated products in exchange for new products, and by doing so participates in the reuse of material.
In the US, over the last two years, ArborGen has moved 80% of its bareroot seedlings sold from being delivered in non-recyclable waxed boxes to delivery in bags. ArborGen has also moved away from waxed container boxes to unwaxed boxes for containerised seedlings.
At our Brazillian operations, any waste generated through substrates is reused by several small companies. They use this waste as a base in their production of seedlings (natives, gardening, landscaping, etc). This action does not generate any income for ArborGen, however it promotes sustainability and good practice in the local community.