In a UK supermarket first, Waitrose.com is covering the cost of planting thousands of wild cherry, hazel and silver birch woodlands across the UK, in a new CSR initiative. Conservation charity The Woodland Trust has partnered with Waitrose for the scheme which will result in 35,000 native British trees being planted during 2011. It is part of Waitrose’s new online shopping platform which signals a step change in the grocer’s online business, the company says. The initiative will counter possible accusations from environmentalists of additional delivery vans emitting high levels of C02 as the service expands.
Each Waitrose.com delivery contributes directly to the cost of planting the scheme, which launches today. Online shoppers will not pay anything as the supermarket will foot the entire bill. Customers will receive information about the scheme through the Waitrose.com website, when ordering shopping online and through printed receipts upon delivery.
The environmental benefits of investing in trees include the storage of atmospheric carbon, the creation of habitats for native wildlife, and the reduction of flood risks.
Quentin Clark, head of sustainability and ethical sourcing at Waitrose said: “This unique partnership is the first of its kind and is a direct result of our environmental policies and the opportunities presented to us by the growth of Waitrose.com.
We are delighted to be able to plant 35,000 trees this year and I am looking forward to this number growing every year, as our online business goes from strength to strength.”
David Taylor, corporate partnerships at the Woodland Trust said, “The Woodland Trust is absolutely thrilled to be working with Waitrose and its expanding online business. As a charity our first aim is the creation of new UK woodland and this initiative with Waitrose will see us plant over 30 acres in 2011.”