A FIRST-of-its-kind business has been launched to guide organisations through the carbon-offsetting journey, from identifying sites to growing trees and navigating the rapidly emerging carbon market.
Akre, the brainchild of Renwick Drysdale, builds on his forestry heritage and is an evolution of the woodland creation consultancy, Kilrie Trees.
Created following a £2m private funding package, Akre encompasses the world’s first verified carbon negative tree nursery, with a natural capital consultancy and exchange. Its team of six dedicated staff work alongside one of the UK’s most experienced horticulture consultants, Rodney Shearer.
It is seeking to tap into surging demand for carbon-offsetting and habitat restoration, with Scotland’s vast peatland and tracts of poor quality agricultural land putting the country at the epicentre of rewilding and carbon-sequestration.
Mr Drysdale, 31, recently helped to advise the high-profile Abrdn acquisition of 1500 hectares of the Cairngorm National Park. A majority of the 1.5 million broadleaf trees will be grown at the Akre tree nursery located near Kirkcaldy. The nursery was designed in consultation with world leading experts in horticulture and tree production.
It is the world’s first verified carbon negative tree nursery and uses an innovative combination of environmental controls, including LED lighting, to optimise quality and improve the efficiency of production. The nursery has been designed with the principles of circular economy at its core. Running on a solar power and battery system as well as a rain water collection system, the nursery is self-sufficient and exports green energy.
Speaking on the launch of the business, Renwick said: “Our mission is to help businesses help the planet – and to help transform our clients’ relationship with nature from extractive to restorative.”
“We design bespoke nature-based strategies, delivering and managing ecological restoration plans for businesses, funds, communities and private investors.”
“What this means is that we are a single contact and solution for firms looking to offset emissions to have a positive impact on the environment we all rely on. We exist to help landowners and businesses alike, justify and implement restoration work while meeting net zero targets.”
“We can grow and plant the trees before assisting clients with the process of registering carbon credits while reporting on the co-benefits of planting to habitat, flood risk mitigation and amenity.”
Akre consists of three divisions, Akre Capital, Akre Trees and Akre Exchange, all able to work independently or in conjunction, depending on the client’s needs:
- Akre Capital works as a natural capital consultancy and project developer, specialising in advising organisations on how to better improve their carbon footprint through solutions such as tree growing and planting as well as land acquisition and peat restoration.
- Akre Trees grows trees from seed at the Akre tree nursery in Fife before planting them on the land best suited for restoration. Akre also provides high quality trees for sustainable forestry and clients looking to buy trees for their own woodland creation projects and is now open for enquiries for the 2023-24 planting season. It is Mr Drysdale’s ambition to be growing 10 million trees per year by 2024. Akre Trees grow trees for one to two years at the Akre Tree Nursery. Once the trees are 20-40cm tall, Akre plants the trees to restore habitats and offset businesses’ emissions, reducing their carbon footprint.
- Akre Exchange acts as a marketplace for organisations to buy and sell natural capital such as carbon credits and biodiversity units.
Renwick has planted trees from the age of seven on the family farm in Fife. After completing his undergraduate degree he embarked on a career managing operations in 10 countries over a seven year period, before returning to complete a masters in Ecological Economics at the University of Edinburgh. His team consists of experts in forestry, woodland creation and horticulture with a combined experience of over 100 years.
He added: “The business has grown out of a sheer demand from people who want to make the most of their environmental potential. Whether it be through forestry, restoration, tree planting or natural capital trading, there is a host of ways businesses small or large can work towards a greener world – and Akre is very excited to play a big part in that.”
For more information on Akre, please visit: https://akre.co.uk/