Record HSBC UK donation to enable mass tree planting

Beech woodland in early autumn, Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

Thanks to a £4 million gift from HSBC UK, 2 million trees will be planted as part of our ambitious plans to increase access to nature, tackle climate change, protect landscapes, and attract more wildlife.

The new woodlands will cover an area roughly the size of Worcester, and lock in the carbon equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road each year.  

It’s the largest environmental donation of its kind made to the National Trust and the four-year project represents a major step forward in the fight against climate change. It will provide homes for nature and, by planting the right trees in the right places, will offer those living in urban areas access to new, nature-rich woodland.  

" The recent lockdowns have taught us that access to nature is more important than ever, and by planting trees in the right places we can ensure these carbon rich habitats work for both nature and people. "

HSBC’s global presence opens the door to new areas of international expertise, particularly around agroforestry management and how nature-based solutions to the climate crisis are being implemented across the globe. The gift is part of HSBC’s new Climate Solutions Partnership, which aims to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change.

The £4 million donation will enable the creation of woodland and carbon rich habitat in Wales and Northern Ireland, with sites currently being identified, as well as areas in England that include Killerton in Devon, Wallington in Northumberland, Dunham Massey in Cheshire, on the Buscot and Coleshill Estate in Oxfordshire, and at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.

As part of our plan to become net zero by 2030, we have committed to planting and establishing 20 million trees covering an area the size of Birmingham. The mass tree planting projects will engage local communities and offer HSBC staff the opportunity to contribute alongside National Trust staff and volunteers.

Tree planting on tenant farmland at Lodge Park, Gloucestershire
Tree planting on tenant farmland at Lodge Park, Gloucestershire
Tree planting on tenant farmland at Lodge Park, Gloucestershire

As explained by National Trust Director-General, Hilary McGrady: ‘This donation offers so much more than just tree planting. By creating these woodlands, we hope to see further benefits by allowing the landscape to regenerate naturally and without the need for so much intervention by way of tree planting in the future. Nature has a way of healing if we can just give it a chance.’

This was echoed by Michaela Wright, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC UK: ‘We believe nature-based solutions can provide a third of the global climate mitigation needed by 2030, protecting nature as well as meeting people’s needs.’

‘Our ambition is to leverage our financial expertise with the knowledge and experience in scaling solutions of our global partners, to open the door for National Trust to explore new areas of agroforestry management and how nature-based solutions are being implemented to tackle the climate crisis internationally.’

Tree planting and ensuring the right trees flourish in the right areas are key strategies in turning the tide on climate change. Whether through carbon capture, ecosystem restoration, habitat creation, or soil stabilisation, trees perform a vital role in creating a better home for both wildlife and people, and this donation helps us take a significant step towards achieving that.