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Environment

Environmental Stewardship

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.

In 2023, our conifer seedlings were planted on approximately 680,000 acres in the US and Brazil. The forests that develop from those seedlings will sequester around 202 million tonnes of carbon over their 25 year life. This is enough to offset the carbon emissions of the entire population of New Zealand for 2.5 years.

Weather risk

Given the nature of our business, ArborGen has a heightened risk posed by extreme weather events, from high winds and tornadoes to flooding and extreme heat. These can affect our orchards, seed production, cone harvest and seedling growth.

As an integral component of our risk management framework, we have initiated strategic measures to both mitigate and offset the potential impact of such events.

One such initiative has been the expansion of the water reservoir at our Inimutaba Nursery. This not only bolsters our resilience but also serves as a vital buffer against production losses stemming from water deficits during periods of climatic stress. 

We also mitigate our risk through orchard diversification, both geographically and age class.  By recycling older orchards, we can ensure there are younger, more resilient orchards which are better suited to withstand tropical force winds.

Protecting and renewing 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 ~100,000 acres, 50+ million of our hardwood seedlings, comprising more than 40 different species of hardwoods, have gone into environmental plantings in the US.

Sustainable operations

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.

Climate-related disclosures

ArborGen remains committed to transparency and responsible corporate governance. This year, for the first time, ArborGen will report against the Aotearoa New Zealand Climate Standards. We will publish our Climate-related Disclosures as a separate document on or before 31 July 2024 and this will be available on our website.

Moving forward, ArborGen is dedicated to further enhancing this aspect of our annual reporting, ensuring continued compliance and providing stakeholders with valuable insights into our sustainable practices and climate-related initiatives.

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.    

 

RECYCLABLE PACKAGING
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.    

 

PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY
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.

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