CGI (TSX: GIB.A) (NYSE: GIB), has today launched its new UK-wide initiative, entitled No Planet B, by planting 5,500 trees in the Scottish Borders – one for every CGI worker in the UK. The scheme to reforest land is in partnership with Forest Carbon and the Borders Forest Trust as part of National Tree Week.
Lindsay McGranaghan, CGI’s Business Unit Leader in Scotland, planted the first of thousands of native trees and shrubs – including Birch, Oak, Rowan and Willow ¬– on former farmed land owned by Borders Forest Trust at Talla and Gameshope Estate, near Tweedsmuir, Peeblesshire. The trees will form part of a new programme to create a 250-acre public access native woodland.
Lindsay was joined by Michael Herron, Leader of CGI UK’s Government Business Unit and senior leader responsible for Environmental Issues in the UK. Also in attendance were Corporate Social Responsibility Lead Philippa Green, David Robertson, Chief Financial Officer, Scottish Borders Council, James Hepburne Scott, co-founder and director of Forest Carbon, and Andy Wilson, site officer for Borders Forest Trust.
The move followed a consultation by Tara McGeehan, President of CGI’s UK Operations, who asked its UK workforce their opinion as to the best way to show CGI’s commitment to supporting the environment and tackling climate issues. CGI’s members backed the idea to plant a tree for each 5,500 employee, thereby offseting the carbon emissions from the firm’s flights to and from the UK for 2018.
CGI has also made available more than 2,500 saplings for members to plant in parks, schools, care homes and nature reserves they have nominated as part of the scheme. Nearly 70 members have applied so far and more are being encouraged to take part.
Lindsay said she was “extremely proud” that the Borders – where CGI has one of its four offices in Scotland – had been chosen as the ideal UK site to plant the 5,500 trees.
She said: “CGI’s Scottish members wholeheartedly backed the planting of trees as a way to offset some of our carbon emissions and are excited to be taking part in local tree planting initiatives in their local communities.”
Michael Herron added: “It’s really important that we make climate change our business and, as a corporate body, do everything we can to help tackle it. As well as supporting our environment, trees do so much for the wellbeing of our communities, our clients and our members.”
Tara McGeehan said: “We are proud to support National Tree Week and encourage communities across the UK to get planting trees to help the environment. Many thanks also go to Forest Carbon as well as the Borders Forest Trust for helping us secure the perfect site to plant our 5,500 trees for our 5,500 UK members.”
Andy Wilson, site officer for Borders Forest Trust, said: “Borders Forest Trust bought the 1800 hectare Talla and Gameshope Estate in 2004 with the aim of ecological restoration on a landscape scale. The first phase of this was completed in 2019 with 45 hectares of native broadleaf woodland. We are delighted that CGI has contributed to the second phase of this programme.”
James Hepburne Scott, of Forest Carbon, said: “Forest Carbon has been creating new woodlands in the UK on behalf of companies since 2006. We make sure the right trees are planted in the right place. We are delighted that CGI has chosen to plant 5,500 native trees in the Borders, and hope more firms will get behind forward-thinking initiatives like these that offer tangible social and environmental benefits.”
Tracey Logan, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council, said “Protecting the environment is one of our core priorities at the Council and I am delighted our IT partners at CGI are undertaking this very generous gesture to contribute to our beautiful landscape in the Scottish Borders.”
CGI’s Scotland Business Unit comprises four offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders and Aberdeen. The company employs just over 500 people across Scotland.
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world. With approximately 77,500 consultants and professionals across the globe, CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions. CGI works with clients through a local relationship model complemented by a global delivery network that helps clients digitally transform their organizations and accelerate results. With Fiscal 2019 reported revenue of C$12.1 billion, CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). Learn more at cgi.com.
About National Tree Week
National Tree Week is the UK’s largest tree celebration, inspiring communities across the UK to plant thousands of trees every year since 1975. Marking the start of the tree planting season, the campaign has its roots in the response to Dutch Elm Disease crisis of the 1960s, which wiped out more than 20 million of our most significant landscape trees. People came together to “Plant A Tree in ‘73”, and every year since, organisations, professionals, schools and a network of volunteer Tree Wardens have planted trees around the country to lay down roots for a tree-filled future.
About Talla and Gameshope Estate
Talla and Gameshope Estate was bought by regional woodland conservation charity Borders Forest Trust in 2004 with the aim of ecological restoration on a landscape scale. Restoration is being achieved through a combination of natural process such as the removal of livestock to allow vegetation recovery and direct intervention through work such as tree planting. A full assessment of the site was carried out to provide a greater understanding of the existing habitats and their condition and to guide the plan for restoration work. From this, ground suitable for native woodland planting was identified and this is forming the basis of the Forest Carbon projects at Talla and Gameshope. CGI is contributing to the second phase of the programme, with phase 1 completed in 2019 and having planted 45 hectares of native broadleaf woodland. The woodland type to be established through the planting is oak-birch woodland, with rowan, holly, aspen, hazel, hawthorn and juniper, all planted in a randomised pattern to mimic a natural distribution.