Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has pledged to plant more native trees in its home country in an effort to expand its carbon offset portfolio.
Woodside revealed Tuesday it had signed an agreement with Greening Australia to source and lease portions of farmland in Western Australia for integrated native tree planting projects.
In the first year of the agreement, the two companies will target up to 7500 hectares within areas of the Wheatbelt and South-West regions of Western Australia to plant a biodiverse mix of native trees.
In addition to adding to the company’s carbon offset portfolio, Woodside claims the initiative will improve biodiversity, reverse land degradation, increase farm profitability, build capacity for jobs in regional communities and support Indigenous enterprises.
“Not only will the new projects be an important part of Woodside’s expanding carbon offset portfolio, they will deliver value to regional Western Australia in the form of new jobs and opportunities, particularly for local Indigenous enterprises,” Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill said.
The agreement builds on the previous partnership between Woodside and Greening Australia, which saw the pair plant 3000 hectares of native trees over 2020 and 2021 on three Woodside-owned properties in Western Australia.
Greening Australia chief executive Brendan Foran claimed the collaboration between the companies to date showed they had the capability to restore the Western Australian landscape at scale.
“Our planting projects support biodiversity, enhance productivity for degraded farming systems and sequester carbon, whilst also supporting local communities,” he added.
“As part of this new initiative, our spatial modelling has identified priority landscapes where there is the greatest potential to sequester carbon and return life to landscapes for combined environmental, economic and community benefits.”
Woodside noted the carbon offsets generated by the large-scale tree planting schemes would play an important role in the company’s goal of reducing net equity Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.