Repsol Foundation launches Green Engine, the largest reforestation project in Spain01.09.2021
The Repsol Foundation, Junta de Extremadura, and the Sylvestris Group, together with Banco Santander, the Tierra Pura Foundation, Ilunion, and Enagás, launch Green Engine in this autonomous community, the first to join this innovative public-private collaboration initiative. Green Engine hopes to become the largest large-scale reforestation project to promote emissions offsetting in Spain.
This is a unique project that seeks to generate a positive triple impact: environmental, restoring natural areas and contributing to action against climate change; social, creating local and inclusive employment; and economic, betting on green investment for the future, boosting the local business network in rural areas.
The overall objective is to reforest up to 70,000 hectares in Spain, to promote the offsetting of 16 million tons of CO₂. With this project, more than 15,000 local and inclusive job opportunities in the Spanish rural environment will be created. An ambitious commitment to a social, green, and sustainable economy.
In Extremadura, 5,000 hectares of empty lands or those affected by fires will be reforested in different municipalities over the next three years. The selection of lands has been led by the Junta de Extremadura, in collaboration with the different councils and forestry experts.
These new forests will absorb 1.3 million tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere, allowing companies and institutions that join Green Engine in Extremadura to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. The works will start this very fall in the northern mountain range of Cáceres, with the planting of around 1 million trees of native species, conserving and improving the biodiversity and guaranteeing its long-term resilience.
More than 1,000 workers from the area will be hired for the plantings, with 70% belonging to vulnerable groups, contributing to keeping people in the region.
Furthermore, within the framework of the project, training programs and fostering of innovation and technological development will be launched in the forestry sector. The aim is to position Spain as a quality, competitive, and pioneering carbon sink in Europe.
Likewise, through the reforestation activity, the local business network of the areas where the plantings are being carried out will be supported, revitalizing the Extremaduran rural economy and activities related to tourism and the services sector.
Green Engine is based on an innovative public-private collaboration model to address future challenges, especially economic recovery and rural development following the COVID-19 impact. It is aligned with the social, environmental, and economic
enhancement strategy of the Extremadura 2030 Plan, 2030 Agenda, and the European Green Deal, promoting a green economy within the framework of the energy transition.
António Calçada, Executive Managing Director of the Repsol Foundation, stated that “thanks to the drive of the Public Administration and collaborating companies, we have managed to launch this ambitious reforestation program for the offsetting of emissions, which aspires to be the largest in Spain”. Furthermore, António Calçada highlighted the triple impact of Green Engine: “economic, by promoting a green and sustainable economy; social, through the creation of local and inclusive employment; and environmental, by generating new forests and helping to conserve those already existing”.
The forestry projects will be led by the Sylvestris Group, an investee company of the Repsol Foundation, which has more than 30 years experience in the forestry sector. The new forests will be designed in accordance with the Spanish Climate Change Office standards, the official certification body for offsetting projects in Spain, part of the Ministry for the Environmental Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
The project is soon planned to be extended to new autonomous communities, with the collaboration of both the Public Administration as well as private entities and companies.
Furthermore, the Repsol Foundation has recently signed a strategic agreement with KPMG to increase the volume and competitiveness of the voluntary CO₂ emissions offsetting market in Spain.
Reforestation, a natural climate solution with great potential in Spain
Trees, through photosynthesis, absorb CO₂ and lodge it in their tissues. Thus, reforestations represent a natural climate solution that offers technically proven, attractive, and cost-effective options for the capturing of CO₂ from the atmosphere, generating environmental and social benefits.
Spain has the necessary natural spaces and professionals to position itself as a leading carbon sink in Europe, responding to the growing commitment of companies to offset their footprint.