Specialist alternative asset manager Gresham House has set up a measurable sustainability system for its forestry investments.

The manager said the Gresham House Forest Charter covers a range of subjects that will allow the group to target significant new planting and afforestation in a biodiverse, sustainable manner, for the long term.

The Forest Charter will cover a range of subjects including carbon emissions, biodiversity, supply chain sustainability, governance and social impact, Gresham House said.

The detailed Charter outlines “quantifiable commitments and key performance indicators that all Gresham House discretionary-managed forests will adhere to, which are aligned with – and often go beyond – existing national and international standards”, the manager said.

Gresham House is the UK’s largest commercial forestry manager, globally overseeing forestry assets worth £3bn (€3.5bn).

Gresham House said it has pledged to increase the carbon sequestration of forests under management and reduce their operational carbon footprint, enhance woodland biodiversity, and certify timber is sold according to national or international standards.

The Charter also details actions Gresham House will take to consult and engage with local communities near to its forests, as well as its aim to provide them with equitable opportunities for employment.

Olly Hughes, managing director of forestry at Gresham House, said: “We have dedicated significant resources to reviewing our current forest assets and exploring ways to enhance biodiversity and sustainable measures, and we have already commenced a programme of development to make this a reality.

“The Forest Charter will not only hold us to account, it will deliver tangible benefits for the environment, while also improving the long-term viability of the assets themselves and their attractiveness to investors.”

Hughes said in the aftermath of the COP26 climate conference, awareness of the role forests and timber can play in the global transition to net-zero has grown.

“As stewards of such an important resource, it is our duty to ensure it is managed sustainably, and through our Forest Charter, we hope to grow on industry standards.”

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