Co-op and the RSPB, the UK's largest nature conservation charity, have announced a three-year partnership to protect some of nature’s carbon ‘stores’ through restoration and long-term management of UK peatland.
Announcing the three-year partnership this month, the British retailer said its investment will enable RSPB's ongoing restoration and long-term management of areas of internationally important, RSPB-owned upland peatland in Scotland and Wales which are equivalent in size to around 400 football pitches.
Through this initiative, the groups hope to bring peatland back into good condition to reduce carbon loss and, help to tackle climate change and protect nature.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In the UK alone, an estimated 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon are stored in peatlands, and it is believed that without any intervention to repair and preserve UK peatlands, with almost 80% of UK peatland degraded, their greenhouse gas emissions could exceed the equivalent of 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year, according to the IUCN Peatland Programme.
Co-op’s initial investment will see RSPB receive £1 million (€1.16 million) this year, funded through sales of compostable carrier bags in its stores.
In addition to restoring and maintaining actively eroding peatland, and creating the conditions needed for the areas to recover, Co-op said the projects will deliver additional environmental benefits including the protection of natural habitats for wildlife and reducing flood risk by regulating water flow.
“We are in the grip of a climate and environment emergency, a crisis which is of humankind’s making and around the world we are seeing shocking water shortages, floods, extreme heat and biodiversity losses," said Guy Stuart, director of sustainability, technical and agriculture at Co-op.
"It’s widely acknowledged that de-carbonisation needs to speed up and through co-operation of the global community, we can work together to reduce carbon at a faster rate.
"Our pioneering partnership with the RSPB will play a part in helping to avoid carbon emissions through repairing vital peatlands to increase carbon stores and support our work to prioritise action where we are able to make the most impact.”