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A tree-planting day in the forest

Tree-planting team on 10-Feb 2023

The climate crisis is undoubtedly the greatest challenge we are collectively facing as inhabitants of this planet. This challenge is complex and multifaceted. This complexity, combined with social media overload and news reporting natural disasters, can seem overwhelming. Many people know that we should all change our behaviour and reduce our emissions, and many want to make a commitment, but they do not know how.

So, how?

I am writing to tell you that contributing and making an impact can be easier than you think.

Did you know that trees are one of the best natural solutions to the climate emergency? Now you know, and if you are willing to 'get your hands dirty', you can accelerate carbon removal in a direct way – by planting or measuring trees and participating in cutting-edge carbon science! And if you are not able to travel, why not make a regular financial donation to support the cause?

The question now is: what is the best way to plant trees to accelerate carbon sequestration in trees and soil?

Surprisingly, the question has not been answered yet. In the UK, SAP has partnered with The Carbon Community, a charity that leads and facilitates a study to find the best formula for creating forests that maximise carbon removal through innovative science. Its planting and restoration projects are designed, in collaboration with world-renowned scientists, to learn more about how to accelerate and improve carbon sequestration – and the results will have global impact! The organisation is committed to sharing its findings as widely as possible to increase carbon sequestration in its projects and beyond.

The Carbon Community offers community science volunteering activities that enable participants to learn about carbon sequestration, get involved in planting, tagging, and cataloguing trees, and recording data for environmental scientists. The Carbon Community was co-founded by an ex-SAP employee.

So, what is this all about?

On Friday 10th February, The Carbon Community hosted a Tree Planting Day for SAP employees and guests at the Glandwr Forest in Llandovery, Wales. Glandwr Forest is a mixed broadleaf forest and home to The Carbon Community’s landmark carbon study which aims to accelerate and enhance the sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in trees and soil to tackle the climate crisis.

Viewpoint of the SAP forest

This unique field trial combines forest microbiome inoculation and enhanced rock weathering with basalt, two nature-based climate solutions which have never previously been deployed together at scale.

The first technique takes topsoil from established woodland that contains many beneficial fungi, and handful of this soil is placed carefully around the tree sapling’s roots to give it a good head start.

The second technique is to add a sprinkling of crushed basalt dust from a local quarry. The crushed basalt absorbs C02 as it weathers, and releases nutrients into the soil, acting like a “vitamin shot” for the young tree. Initial results show that both techniques together have a dramatic effect in speeding up the growth and hence carbon capture of young trees, but there is still more measuring to do!


The Glandwr Forest is home to the SAP Forest which is a sub-set of the bigger project - A spectacular scenery filled with trees funded by SAP employees from Give-as-You-Earn payments and SAP corporate donations. Besides donation, SAP employees can get involved through volunteering activities. Personally, I found out about the February SAP Forest trip through the SAP UK Green Team who promoted the initiative.

The SAP Green Team is an employee network coming together to promote pro-environmental behaviour, and influence SAP to become more sustainable. Pretty cool, right?

What’s more, the SAP Forest UK trip and other such initiatives are not limited to SAP employees, making it an opportunity for friends and family to join and even explore the nearby Brecon Beacons. I was happy to escape the hustle and bustle of London and join friendly colleagues on an unforgettable adventure.

On Thursday evening, through train rides and EV car-pooling, we made our way into the natural wonders of Wales. Once we reached Llandovery, we spent the night in local B&Bs, resting and preparing for an exciting Friday in the forest.

On the day…

Friday morning, we drove to the site, where we were greeted with coffee and a delicious breakfast by lovely Heather and Charles from the Carbon Community. We received a safety briefing and training on the planting techniques we would use. We then went out into the field where our tree planting began.

I am all about practical experiential learning, and I would say it couldn’t get more hands-on than planting trees. Equipped with waterproof clothing and gardening gloves, I enjoyed the educational side of the trip as much as the physical open-air activity. Above all, the company! 🙂

After a couple of hours, we enjoyed a warm lunch together and then got back to work. We were determined to achieve our planting goal for the day to then celebrate at the barn with coffee, tea, and traditional snacks.

I am pleased to announce that 250 trees were planted by our lovely team on Friday 10th of February 2023. Our activities included learning and implementing of nature-based techniques of basalt addition and soil inoculation to give the trees a strong start in their new home.

The Carbon Community helps educate young people about environmental issues through tree planting activities and runs citizen science programmes where you can contribute personally to the scientific research into carbon sequestration in trees and soil.

These grounding experiences uniquely connect trees, science, and people.

In Italian, my mother tongue, we have a saying “unire l’utile al dilettevole” that translates into “to combine the useful with the pleasurable”. This tree-planting day helped me to appreciate how fundamental community involvement is for sustainability causes. Also, it is fascinating to think that the trees we planted will grow to sequester carbon for generations to come.

Note for SAP employees: we benefit from the opportunity of taking a volunteering day as leave request. Participating in such initiatives is voting for SAP’s commitment to supporting employees volunteering efforts. Find out more about how you can make a financial donation.

If you are outside SAP – e.g. friends, family, customers or partners: You too can support the Carbon Community directly by supporting their research or getting involved through volunteering activities.

Next event: The next one will be “The Big Measure” in October 2023. Watch this space for more information or reach out to the Carbon Community directly on the above link. Will we see you there?

Now, if you are in the UK, I hope this blog inspires you to take action and contribute directly to climate science!

Liliana De Bernardi

Making sap by SAP 😉