Sustainability Report 2013 Outlines Coillte’s Commitment to the Business of Sustainability

BITCI News - Uncategorized - Sep 26, 2014

Coillte, Ireland’s leading natural resources company, recently launched their Sustainability Report for 2013. The report maps out the sustainability of the organisation’s economic, environmental and social performance, as measured by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework – an international standard for sustainability reporting by companies and a way for organizations to become more sustainable.

CoillteThe approach taken by Coillte in using the GRI framework – one of the few indigenous Irish companies to use GRI – sets strict parameters on how the company measures its corporate social and sustainability responsibilities. This has also fostered an on-going commitment within the company to become leaders in sustainability. Last year Coillte won the Millicom European Business Award for Environmental and Corporate Sustainability, at a ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey – the first Irish company to win the award. This year Coillte is reporting to the B+ GRI reporting framework level (there are three levels in the GRI system) and the contents of the report have been externally evaluated.

Speaking at the launch of the report was Minster for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, who said, “Coillte’s 2013 Sustainability report shows the capacity for Irish companies to demonstrate transparency and accountability, through clear reporting on the performance of their economic, social and environmental responsibilities. Coillte has shown that it is possible to find an appropriate balance between enabling the growth and sustainability of their industry, whilst at the same time having regard to protection of the environment and maintenance of the social benefits and other public goods that forests provide.”

Also speaking at the launch of the report was interim CEO Gerry Britchfield, who said, “Coillte’s core purpose is to enrich lives locally, nationally and globally through innovative and sustainable management of natural resources. The 2013 Sustainability report demonstrates Coillte’s on-going commitment to placing the business of sustainability at the heart of what we do. At the same time, with the help of innovative products, the company is delivering strong business sales to customers in Ireland and abroad, proving that sustainability and successes in business are mutual.”

The Sustainability Report 2013 provides examples of the depth and breadth of Coillte’s efforts to protect and enhance biodiversity on their land.

  • In 2013 90,954 hectares, or 21% of the Coillte estate was set aside as Coillte Biodiversity Areas.
  • In 2013 26,687 hectares, or 6% of Coillte estate, was set aside as Coillte Old wood land sites.
  • In 2013, under the PLANFORBIO project, in collaboration with University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology, Coillte undertook a major study of forest biodiversity in Ireland. For more info see:
  • In 2013 the LIFE PROJECT made substantial progress towards in furthering action plans to restore 16 Raised Bogs. Since 2000 Coillte has restored 3,200 hectares of raised bog and blanket bog and over 1,200 hectares of native forests.
  • Under the LIFE programme for habitat restoration, in 2013 Coillte worked on a number of initiatives in the protection of natural habitats and wild species such as the Hen Harrier.

Speaking on Coillte’s efforts to protect and enhance biodiversity, interim CEO Gerry Britchfield said “This report shows that Coillte is active in many projects to enhance & protect biodiversity, such as the LIFE PROJECT & PLANFORBIO. But the trend in sustainability reporting is to recognise that business itself depends on the natural resources and biodiversity of healthy ecosystems. By measuring the value of the natural environments under Coillte’s stewardship, what we call Public Goods, it helps us to realise that these resources are not limitless or indestructible. We believe the future is positive as more organisations like ours embrace the benefit to their business by measuring Public Goods.”

Coillte and the Heritage Council have conducted research to evaluate Public Goods under three headings – biodiversity/nature, landscape and cultural heritage. A cumulative value of €500m was established, comprising of €322m for biodiversity/nature, €96m for landscape and €92m for cultural heritage. These values mirror those found in similar studies for Scotland’s Forestry Commission.In addition, Coillte and the Irish Sports Council estimated that forest recreation had a Public Goods value of €97m.

A full copy of Coille’s 2013 Sustainability report can be viewed by logging on to