Twelve months ago, Officeworks announced the launch of Restoring Australia – an Australian-first initiative to help customers make a positive difference to the environment. Partnering with Greening Australia, Officeworks committed to planting two trees for every one used, based on the weight of paper-based products purchased by Officeworks’ customers. Encompassing over 8,000 products, the initiative set out to re-establish native plants across landscapes to revegetate bushland, help wildlife flourish, support threatened species, and increase the water quality in these regions.
Since the launch, Officeworks has worked closely with Greening Australia to plant 200,000 trees across sites in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. These projects have seen the establishment of up to twenty species of native trees on each site, along with appropriate protection, such as fencing, to ensure that the plants survive. The current projects are targeting areas that are home to seven threatened species, including the Tasmanian Devil, the Eastern Spotted Quoll and the Glossy-Black Cockatoo. Working with over thirty landholders, established trees also provide benefits to farmers, in the form of shade and shelter for cattle and helping with issues such as weed control.
Throughout the first three years, seedlings face many challenges, including the threat of flooding and drought, being used as a source of food for wildlife, or from the spread of disease. On inspection at the Ross site in Tasmania in March 2018, it was evident that some of the seedlings had been impacted by grazing, resulting in a number of trees dying. On further investigation, it was discovered that sheep entered the area for a short period when a fence was down. To address the issue, Greening Australia improved the fence structure and replanted the trees. In order to maintain a high survival rate, processes are in place for such challenges and planting sites are continually monitored, with issues addressed as they arise.
As Restoring Australia enters the second year, Officeworks expects to plant a further 220,000 trees, bringing the total trees planted by June 2019 to over 400,000. The initiative will continue to help customers make bigger things happen to the environment, when they purchase their paper products at Officeworks.