The Repsol Foundation and the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action spearhead the largest reforestation program in the country

The Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, and Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau signed in Lisbon a strategic agreement to develop a large-scale reforestation project in Portugal called Green Engine +Floresta. Prime Minister António Costa and the Minister of the Economy and Maritime Affairs, António Costa Silva, also attended the presentation ceremony.
  • The project will invest more than 400 million euros innthe reforestation of 100,000 hectares of scorched and barren land in Portugal by planting more than 90 million trees in the coming years, which will absorb 25 million metric tons of carbon.
  • The Green Engine +Floresta project is expected to create thousands of local and inclusive employment opportunities, especially in rural areas of the country. Furthermore, the Repsol Foundation will offer training programs to improve employability and encourage entrepreneurship in rural areas.
  • The overall aim is to drive the voluntary carbon market in Portugal by backing reforestation as a natural climate solution that generates major environmental, social, and economic benefits in rural areas.
  • The new agreement is a decisive move to convert the Iberian Peninsula into a high-quality, competitive carbon sink in Europe.
  • Through this project, the Repsol Foundation will work, along with public agencies, private entities, and Portuguese forestry experts, in addition to property owners, to promote social cohesion and the incorporation of territory into the project that will guarantee the care and maintenance of the reforested land.
  • According to Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau, Green Engine +Floresta is an excellent opportunity to develop the voluntary carbon market in Portugal; and he recognizes the hard work and institutional support received from Portuguese authorities.
  • The Green Engine +Floresta project "represents a before and after in the development of the European carbon market and especially in Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula's leadership as natural carbon sinks," said Brufau.
  • CO2 capture by natural means, such as forests, backed by satellite technology for controlling and monitoring the development of forests is, without a doubt, another huge opportunity for the economy and for addressing the challenges of our countries in terms of energy transition, highlighted the Repsol chairman.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa participated in the event where the Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro; Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau; and the managing director of Grupo Sylvestris, Jaime Rábago, signed the pioneering agreement to create Green Engine +Floresta, the biggest project for large-scale reforestation in Portugal for offsetting carbon footprints.  This initiative unites Portugal's desire and commitment to a just and sustainable energy transition with the Repsol Foundation, the Sylvestris Group, and a team of experts that since 2021 has been successfully carrying out this project in Spain.

The launch of the Green Engine +Floresta project in Portugal sets an unprecedented benchmark in the country's reforestation, with its goal of restoring biodiversity on 100,000 hectares by planting more than 90 million native tree species. Forest fires in recent years have led to devastating damage and a loss of more than 90,000 hectares of forest per year since 2017.

Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau highlighted that "CO2 capture by natural means, such as forests, backed by satellite technology for controlling and monitoring the development of forests is, without a doubt, another huge opportunity for the economy and for facing the challenges of our countries in terms of energy transition."

Given the natural properties of trees to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it in its tissue for growth, this project could offset more than 25 million metric tons of CO₂.

The initiative aims to boost the voluntary carbon market by carrying out high-quality reforestation projects that are in line with the highest national and international standards, which will help place the Iberian Peninsula, and specifically Portugal, as a leading carbon sink in Europe.

The reforestation project will create thousands of local and inclusive job opportunities and will work with public administration and social organizations to encourage hiring vulnerable populations. Likewise, the Repsol Foundation will start up a program of different training initiatives for improving employability in the forestry sector and for driving entrepreneurship among residents in areas where the reforestation is to take place.

Local businesses will be hired to carry out the project, thus incentivizing the creation of new businesses in the forestry sector, driving the local economy, and attracting economic activity and wealth in the area.

Another key aspect of the project is its application of satellite technology in the forestry sector. Green Engine +Floresta also has support from Hispasat, a leading technology company, with whom it is using satellite technology for the comprehensive protection of forests against fires and for monitoring the growth of forests, a key aspect for providing greater rigor in the voluntary carbon market for offsetting emissions. Additionally, the launch of this technology will bring free broadband WiFi to residents in very remote areas where the planting is to take place, thereby driving social and digital cohesion.

The goal in the coming years is to carry out a pilot project in the north of the country that would reforest an area of 5–10,000 hectares with more than 9 million native tree species. This would lead to the absorption of 2.5 million metric tons of CO2 and generate an enormous positive impact on employment and the local economy. Work has already begun on an area of 58.5 hectares in the cities of Alpedrinha, Cardigos, and Sardoal, which were affected by forest fires in 2017 and 2019. In order to obtain international certification for this absorption project, Verra standards are being followed in a pilot program in order to earn Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) credits for the first project in Portugal.

Government strategy in environmental matters

The Portuguese government has demonstrated its clear commitment to fighting climate change and is working on a decree-law to promote the voluntary carbon market with the aim of driving participation from both public and private organizations in climate action.

The law backs natural climate solutions, especially reforestation, through the regulation of standards that ensure quality in absorption projects by guaranteeing the transparency and integrity that the market requires. The Green Engine +Floresta project will focus on the optimum use of natural resources and the development of rural areas by supporting the Portuguese forestry sector while responding to the growing commitment from businesses to achieve net zero emissions and to other commitments reached in the Paris Agreement.

It will likewise coordinate with private owners to organize the incorporation of their terrain into the project and to ensure its maintenance and care once reforested.

At the event, executive managing director of the Repsol Foundation, António Calçada, presented the project in detail, after which a round table on reforestation and carbon markets in Portugal was held. The Secretary of State for Nature Conservation and Forests, João Paulo Catarino; the managing director of Grupo Sylvestris, Jaime Rábago, and the head of Strategy for the Repsol Foundation, Vega Tapia, participated. The participants spotlighted the great potential the Iberian Peninsula has as a carbon sink in Europe as well as the need to create uniform standards and commit to measures that drive the voluntary carbon market. The speakers also pointed out that reforestation is an excellent means for making progress toward a low-carbon, profitable, efficient, competitive, and scalable economy.

Funding the project

The Green Engine +Floresta represents an opportunity for businesses and organizations to offset their carbon footprint with high-quality reforestation projects in nearby areas. The Repsol Foundation has already created the Green Engine marketplace (, an online platform where individuals and businesses can join these projects; and soon these new forests in Portugal will be added.

Funding for the first years of work is guaranteed by the ESG Portobello Carbono Verde Fund, an innovative investment fund led by the Repsol Foundation, Crédit Agricole Indosuez, and Portobello Capital. The 100-million-euro fund is destined for reforestation projects for offsetting carbon emissions in Spain and Portugal.

Green Engine in Spain

The Repsol Foundation, alongside its investee company, Grupo Sylvestris, launched Green Engine in 2021, with the aim of making reforestation an important tool in offsetting emissions, as part of the energy transition already underway.

Green Engine is a triple impact project—economic, environmental, and social—founded on public-private collaboration and aligned with Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, and the European Green Deal.

The forestry operations are led in part by the Sylvestris Group, a Repsol Foundation investee company that boasts over 30 years of experience in the forestry sector.

The Green Engine project is already underway in various Spanish regions, in which more than 2,000 hectares of forest have already been successfully reforested with the help of Public Administration and well-known private companies such as Microsoft, Orange, El Corte Inglés, Caja Rural de Zamora, AstraZeneca, Banco Santander, Fundación Tierra Pura, Enagás, and Ilunion, among others.