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University of Edinburgh celebrates 1000th tree planted in the region

A Scottish University and a coffee supplier have marked their ongoing commitment to supporting the community and environment with the planting of a 1,000th apple tree in Edinburgh.

In 2011, the University of Edinburgh became the first higher education institute to partner with Coffee Conscience, a Scotland-based supplier that provides Fairtrade hot drinks to businesses, public buildings and cafes across the country. The supplier reinvests 2.5% of its Fairtrade sales back into community projects, working with the social enterprise Fruitful Scotland, which provides workshop support for local schools and charities to plant apple trees.

Since the beginning of the partnership, the University’s sales of Coffee Conscience products has helped reinvest enough funding to plant 1,000 trees in the Lothian region, including a large number at its Easter Bush campus, as well as at care homes, parks, community land,  and local schools.

The 1,000th tree was recently placed at Cramond Park, with the support of local school children and The Commonwealth Orchard, a Scottish-based organisation dedicated to regenerating the country through the development of apple orchards and re-introduction of local heritage varieties.

Billy Miller, Managing Director at Coffee Conscience, said:

“Since our formation in 2011, our ethos has always been to ensure our work upholds a social, environmental and community-focussed approach. As our organisation grew, we began looking for partnerships with higher education institutes, and the University of Edinburgh was the first to step forward and offer a working partnership.

“The tree project has brought new life to various parts of Edinburgh and beyond, but, just as importantly, it also brings together locals to have a renewed community spirit. Children especially have loved having the chance to learn about the environment and make their own positive impact, however small it may seem. The orchards leave a legacy for the community, wildlife, and our next generation.”

As well as the apple tree project, the partnership between the University and Coffee Conscience has led to a coffee waste-recycling scheme. The University sends the by-product to a social enterprise called Revive Eco, which extracts oil for reuse, before the waste is returned to the University for composting in horticultural areas, reducing the need to buy new peat.

Mr Miller added: “The University’s support over recent years has been invaluable – over the last eight years we have engaged with a wide array of charities, schools and other community groups to promote our various projects, allowing us to share our message far and wide. I can’t praise the students, staff, and the catering team enough – they’ve helped make a real difference with every cup.”

Ian McCaulay, director (catering), University of Edinburgh’s Accommodation, Catering and Events team, added:

“Environmental initiatives are key to our University’s policies, from community support to promoting green transport, so to reach 1,000th  tree planted is a huge milestone for us and a testament to the success of our Coffee Conscience partnership.

“Billy and the rest of the team are clearly dedicated to the cause, so I have every faith that our partnership will continue to thrive. I look forward to the planting of the next 1,000 trees.”

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