16 December 2019
City of Trees worked with one of Europe’s leading construction firms, Royal BAM Group, to celebrate their 150th anniversary year by planting its 150,000th tree
The Group, which began as a small family business in the Dutch polder village of Groot-Ammers in 1869, operates in five European countries as well as outside Europe and employs more than 20,000 people.
BAM pledged to plant 150,000 trees during the year, says CEO Rob van Wingerden because, ‘future generations matter to us. We need to help preserve the planet for them. That’s why BAM chose to celebrate its 150th anniversary by planting 150,000 trees around the world, instead of, for example, organising a party. Forests are key to restraining climate change and restoring biodiversity. Trees provide clean air to breathe and so much more.’
Mr Van Wingerden is himself planting the final tree at Boz Park, Bury, Greater Manchester on Tuesday 10 December. National Tree Week took place at the end of November, making the start of tree-planting.
The UK has the least forest coverage in Europe (around 13%; the average is 35%). BAM is supporting City of Trees to create a new 3,000 tree broadleaf woodland in Bury,
Beth Kelsall, Delivery Co-Ordinator for City of Trees, says: ‘We aim to plant half a million trees by of March 2020, which marks the end of tree planting season. The trees also form part of the Northern Forest, an ambitious initiative aiming to plant 50 million trees in 25 years, stretching from Liverpool to Hull"
She adds “The private sector is critical to this, bringing in both funding and volunteer support. Tree planting is a great way people can connect to nature and it’s not a mechanised process. Planting the right tree in the right place is also crucial for their long term survival.
A team of some 50 volunteers, plus Woodhey Brass Band, and local school, Summerseat Methodist Primary School, will be on hand to make the occasion into a real community effort.
It is a pattern BAM has repeated throughout the year by planting trees in areas of the world in need of reforestation, such as 50,000 trees each in Bolivia and Uganda. The 50,000 remaining have been allocated to Europe and spread between its home markets in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark and the UK.
Royal BAM Group has teamed up in its tree planting initiative with Trees for All. Simone Groenendijk, managing director of Trees for All: 'We are proud to be working alongside BAM. Together we will realise the planting of 150,000 new trees in 2019. The initiative has also inspired other organisations to team up with our foundation in their own tree planting programmes, for which we are grateful to BAM. BAM's initiative to celebrate its 150th anniversary this way is a wonderful gift to the planet and to the many generations who will live on it after us.'
Despite its global significance, climate change also has very personal connotations for many. As Rob van Wingerden adds: ‘When my family and I were standing at the foot of a Canadian glacier, which since 1985 had shrunk several kilometres, we were staring in the face of climate change. Talk about a wake-up call … I said to my children: ‘If we don’t do anything, you’ll be standing here in 20 years and there will be no more glacier.’ Everyone, including BAM, has a responsibility to take sustainability very seriously.’
BAM aims to have a ‘net positive impact’ on society by 2050, a plan that involves not just reducing negative impacts on the environment and society but actively enhancing these.
James Wimpenny, CEO of BAM Construct UK, which alongside BAM Nuttall and BAM PPP, is one of the BAM companies in the UK, said: ‘We all know this won’t solve the need to reforest our world. But it shows how private companies working with the charitable sector can make a genuine difference and give something back that is well worth doing.’
UK sister company BAM Nuttall is the civil engineering company currently behind the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme, so vital to addressing climate change and looking for bio-renewable energy.
Read more about the 150,000 trees BAM has helped to plant around the world this year, here: https://www.bam150years.com/en.