Fife company launches helping firms with carbon-offsetting via tree-planting, backed by seven-figure 'seed' funding

A “first of its kind” business has been launched to help firms with carbon-offsetting, after receiving a seven-figure funding package to help its ambitions – such as growing 10 million trees a year by 2024 – take root.

Kirkcaldy-based Akre is the brainchild of Renwick Drysdale, who says the venture builds on his forestry heritage and is an evolution of the woodland-creation consultancy Kilrie Trees. He recently worked on a major contract with Edinburgh-based investment giant Abrdn.

Arke has received a private funding package of £2 million to get off the ground, and says it encompasses the world’s first verified carbon-negative tree nursery, with a natural capital consultancy and exchange, adding that its six-strong team, whose collective experience exceeds 100 years, work alongside “one of the UK’s most experienced horticulture consultants” Rodney Shearer.

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It intends to tap into surging demand for carbon-offsetting and habitat restoration, saying Scotland’s “vast peatland and tracts of poor quality agricultural land [put] the country at the epicentre of rewilding and carbon-sequestration”.

The new group comprises three divisions. Akre Exchange acts as a marketplace for organisations to buy and sell natural capital such as carbon credits and biodiversity units, while Akre Capital works as a natural capital consultancy and project-developer, specialising in advising organisations on how to improve their carbon footprint through, say, tree-growing and planting as well as land acquisition and peat restoration.

Akre Trees grows trees from seed at the group’s nursery in Fife before planting them on the land best suited for restoration, and provides high-quality trees for sustainable forestry and clients looking to buy trees for their own woodland-creation projects.

Mr Drysdale recently helped to advise investment giant Abrdn’s acquisition of 1,500 hectares of the Cairngorm National Park. A majority of the 1.5 million broadleaf trees will be grown at the Akre nursery near Kirkcaldy.

'The business has grown out of a sheer demand from people who want to make the most of their environmental potential,' says Akre founder Renwick Drysdale. Picture: contributed.

He says he has planted trees from the age of seven on the family farm in Fife, later managing operations in ten countries over a seven-year period, before returning to complete a masters in Ecological Economics at the University of Edinburgh.

Transform

Mr Drysdale said: “Our mission is to help businesses help the planet – and to help transform our clients’ relationship with nature from extractive to restorative. We design bespoke nature-based strategies, delivering and managing ecological restoration plans for businesses, funds, communities and private investors.

“What this means is that we are a single contact and solution for firms looking to offset emissions to have a positive impact on the environment we all rely on. We exist to help landowners and businesses alike justify and implement restoration work while meeting net-zero targets.

Mr Drysdale and team, which consists of experts in forestry, woodland-creation and horticulture with a combined experience of more than 100 years. Picture: contributed.

“We can grow and plant the trees before assisting clients with the process of registering carbon credits while reporting on the co-benefits of planting to habitat, flood risk mitigation and amenity.

“The business has grown out of a sheer demand from people who want to make the most of their environmental potential. Whether it be through forestry, restoration, tree-planting or natural capital trading, there is a host of ways businesses small or large can work towards a greener world – and Akre is very excited to play a big part in that.”

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