Last year I signed up to AGL's Future Forests program, joining thousands of other AGL customers keen to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their electricity usage. After a simple sign-up process, it was all ticking along smoothly in the background. So I was pleasantly surprised this week to receive an update from AGL on how the Future Forests program performed over its first year of operation.
What is AGL's Future Forests program?
Future Forests is our flagship carbon-offset program, helping Aussie households offset the emissions associated with their electricity usage for just $1 a week. To do this, we've partnered with Carbon Neutral, who are planting a diverse mix of native Australian trees in the Yarra Yarra biodiversity corridor in Western Australia. As the trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and store the carbon as 'biomass' in the living trees - sending oxygen back out into the atmosphere. And as the trees mature, they encourage birds and animals to move back into the previously disturbed area, improving biodiversity in the process.
So how did we go in 2017?
Over 2017, 610,000 native seedlings from more than 60 diverse species were planted over 3,000 hectares of cleared land. This year's plantings will store (or 'sequester') around 600,000 tonnes of CO2-e over the next 50 years - enough to offset the emissions from 120,000 residential homes within the Future Forest program each year.
AGL, greenhouse gas and climate change
Climate change is a critical issue facing Australia and the global community. As Australia's largest direct greenhouse gas emitting business, we recognise that we have a key role to play in gradually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We're committed to leading the way towards a modern, decarbonised generation sector, through developing and investing in new renewable and near-zero emission technologies. We're already Australia's largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy, and this is just the beginning.
It's a large and complex job to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of our economy, while at the same time providing reliable and affordable energy for Australian households and businesses. That's why we're working with all our stakeholders - customers, investors, communities, policy-makers and employees - to develop a responsible, sustainable and effective strategy for decarbonising our economy. Future Forests is a part of this strategy, by empowering each of our customers to actively and positively engage on the issue of climate change.
I'm glad to be part of Future Forests, and I'm proud of the work that AGL is doing in leading Australia towards a sustainable energy future.
Learn more about our Future Forests program here.
To read more about our approach to climate change, check out our Sustainability Report.