Trees and sustainability

Q: How does Trainhugger plant a tree for every booking?

We dedicate 50p of our booking fee to our partners, the Royal Forestry Society.

Thanks to the RFS’ expertise and their 3500+ member base, we guarantee that one climate resilient tree is planted for every booking made through Trainhugger.

50p per tree might not sound like much, but we‘ve consulted with the forestry community to make sure it’s enough to cover the planting cost of one tree as part of an innovative, sustainable woodland management plan. Our planters will almost always own the land they’re planting on and are invested in the long term health and care of their trees.

Q: Why trees?

Planting trees, protecting forests and increasing green space are all important strategies in fighting climate change, supporting wildlife and improving health and wellbeing. Trees lock in carbon, are critical for biodiversity, absorb harmful pollutants, give us oxygen, help prevent flooding, improve water and soil quality and are linked to positive mental and physical health.

Trees are only as helpful as they are healthy, and the health of a tree depends on many factors like soil quality, local climate, and long term care. That’s why it’s important to plant “the right tree in the right place.” This means planting a mixture of native trees and trees that are known to thrive in warmer climates (climate resilient trees). All tree plantings and green projects that Trainhugger supports have to meet strong environmental standards based on the latest scientific research and are required to be sustainably managed.

Q: Where will the trees be planted?

All our trees will be planted by RFS members within the UK so that they directly benefit people in the UK. As our forests (and business) grows, Trainhugger will map tree planting locations so you can see where in the UK your trees are being planted. As of now, we cannot give you specific locations as we are still in the process of introducing the grant and getting our first planting project funded.

Q: What kind of trees do you plant?

We plant a diverse mix of broadleaf and conifer trees. We aim to plant trees that can thrive in a changing climate. Planting lots of different trees together also helps our forests withstand pests and disease. We work with forestry experts at the Royal Forestry Society to ensure our trees are planted according to the latest sustainable forestry management standards. Our first tree planting project in Hockeridge and Pancake wood – an hour’s train from London – is open to the public and can be visited all year round.

Q: Can I visit my trees?

We are not able to link any one tree to a specific booking, but we can tell you general areas where trees will be / are being planted. We will also share pictures, videos and information about our trees through our website, social and member newsletter. Many of our woodlands will be open for the public to visit and enjoy.

Q: When will my trees get planted?

Within two years of your original booking. Planting trees and taking care of young trees is a delicate process and we want to ensure that our planters have what they need to manage their trees in the most sustainable way possible. Tree planting season in the UK runs from November to March, and unpredictable weather, broken machinery, and other factors can disrupt plantings and green project development.

Q: What if you run out of space to plant all the trees?

There is more than enough space in the UK to plant trees, especially on privately owned land. In fact, the UK only has 13% tree cover, compared to 38% average in the EU, and climate experts recommend that the UK will need to plant at least 50 – 90 million trees a year to meet afforestation, biodiversity and climate change targets. A recent study by Friends of the Earth found that we could triple tree cover in the UK without disrupting protected natural areas like peatlands.

Q: What are the other green projects you support?

Trainhugger aims to support projects that promote biodiversity and climate resilience in the UK. While we dedicate a portion of our booking fee to planting trees so we can fulfil our “one tree per booking” promise, we are continuously looking for other ways to further support sustainable development in the UK. This could be in the form of growing coastal seagrass forests, developing urban farms, planting Miyawaki mini-forests, building a rainwater recycling garden; there are a countless number of innovative impactful projects we can help develop.

If you are interested in a green project tailored to your organisation or community, consider becoming a Trainhugger travel partner.

Q: But I’ve heard that planting lots of trees won’t actually stop climate change.

Absolutely right – even though trees are highly efficient at absorbing and storing carbon, planting trees will not stop climate change because the leading cause of climate change are heat-trapping emissions from everyday human activity. Even if we plant a trillion trees across the planet, it won’t be enough to absorb all the harmful emissions that humans emit on a daily basis.

However, planting trees and investing in sustainably managed nature-based projects are a fundamental part of any climate change solution and provide many benefits for us beyond increasing biodiversity and protecting us from climate change.

Q: What data do you use for your carbon calculator? Where are your sources from?

We want to make sure we accurately represent your Trainhugger impact. Find out where our data comes from and why attributing a specific amount of carbon to trees can be tricky.

Carbon Calculator 

Train Emissions 

  • When you input your destinations in the carbon calculator, we figure out how much CO2e per passenger KM is emitted from that train journey.
  • We use the latest official data from the UK’s Office of Rail and Road which is updated annually.
  • Currently, we’re using the measurement: 1 passenger KM of a train journey emits 36.6g of CO2e (on average). This is from the 2018 – 2019 Rail Emissions 2018-19 Annual Statistical Release. 

Tree CO2

  • When it comes to figuring out how much CO2 your tree will absorb, we use the generally accepted average measurement of one tonne of CO2 per broadleaf tree, over its lifetime (approx. 100 years, although we plan on having many of our trees growing well beyond 100 years – broadleaf trees can often grow for hundreds of years!) (Grantham Institute, Climate Change & The Environment, 2015).
  • Even though our growers are required to take very special care of their trees, we’ve also factored in a 10% buffer to account for any young trees that might not make it to full adulthood.
  • So, for our calculations, we equate one tree to absorbing 900kg (on average) over its lifetime.
  • Since trees absorb carbon at different rates depending on a number of factors (species, conifer vs broadleaf, local environment, how fast the tree grows, soil type, the age it is when the tree dies/is harvested, etc.), there is no comfortable universal number for the amount of CO2 absorbed by a tree. That is why we want to be conservative in our estimates, and include the 10% buffer.
  • As we grow as a company, we will look into partnering with research institutions and other experts in the field and connecting them with specific Trainhugger growing projects so that we can begin to start understanding a more exact figure for how much CO2 is being absorbed from the atmosphere by the trees you help plant.

End Result

  • Once you’ve inputted your to/from destinations into the calculator on the Trainhugger website, it will show you how much CO2 your journey emits, how much CO2 your tree will likely absorb over its lifetime (900kg) and the CO2 you’ve helped save from the atmosphere by booking your train ticket with Trainhugger (tree CO2 absorbed – journey CO2 emitted). Yay!

Your Trainhugger Impact

  • In your account you can see how many trees you’ve helped plant. To put this into helpful context, we’ve offered up some comparisons.
    • One tonne of CO2 absorbed is like stopping 3 sq metres of arctic sea ice melting (2016 Study)
    • One tonne of CO2 absorbed is like taking 0.22 cars off the road for a year (EPA Carbon Calculator)
    • One tonne of CO2 absorbed is like saving 0.12 homes’ energy use for a year (EPA Carbon Calculator)