KWS and VolkerRail invest in climate-adaptive forests in Rhenen and Valkenswaard

VolkerWessels companies KWS and VolkerRail have signed an agreement with FSC Netherlands and the Dutch Union of Forest Groups to invest in climate-adaptive forests in the Dutch municipalities of Rhenen and Valkenswaard. Climate-smart measures will be taken to enable the forests to sequester more carbon dioxide and make them more resistant to the effects of climate change. The investment will enable KWS and VolkerRail – together with the VolkerInfra Schiphol partnership – to offset 2,500 tonnes of CO₂ emitted on project ‘Plot 2 aircraft stands’ at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

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VolkerInfra Schiphol has high sustainability ambitions that are a good fit with the objectives of KWS, VolkerRail and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The airport wants to be the most sustainable airport in the world, both by being emission-free and waste-free in 2030 and by contributing to emission-free aviation in 2050. Contractor VolkerInfra Schiphol wants to reduce the emissions of fine particles and nitrogen emitted by the equipment by 50% and work climate-neutral at Plot 2. The CO₂ emissions on the project have already been reduced as much as possible, for example by using more electric equipment including the construction sector’s first electric truck that is now driving around at Schiphol Airport. And leftover materials are recycled as much as possible on the project. Furthermore the agreement with FSC Netherlands and the Dutch Union of Forest Groups ensures that 2,500 tonnes of the CO₂ emissions are now offset.

“Our partnership wanted to invest in Dutch forestry projects so that we would not only offset our CO₂ emissions but also help maintain strong climate-adaptive forests in the Netherlands. Our collaboration with FSC Netherlands and the Dutch Union of Forest Groups is a great way to flesh out this ambition,” said KWS Director Rolf Mars.

Liesbeth Gort, Director of FSC Netherlands: “The project is a perfect reflection of what FSC Netherlands stands for in the coming years: managing forests sustainably in the battle against climate change, seeing to it that the forest’s owner is better rewarded for sustainable FSC forest management, and promoting the use of more timber in construction.”

Nicole Olland, Director of the Dutch Union of Forest Groups: "We applaud the initiative taken by VolkerInfra Schiphol. As a group we have been advising and unburdening our members for more than 30 years when it comes to maintaining forests and nature. Our knowledge and expertise of the sites means we can make an important contribution to these and future investments made by businesses."

Promoting climate-proof forests

The forests that the contribution made by VolkerInfra Schiphol will go to are Landgoed Prattenburg in Rhenen and the municipal forests in Valkenswaard. As a result of the contribution these FSC-certified forests will be enhanced with tree species that better suit the changing climate. This will turn them into climate-smart and climate-proof forests. Overt time the trees will provide high-quality wood that can be used well in the increasingly growing area of timber construction. This will ensure that the CO₂ remains stored in the wood.

Previously VolkerWessels signed a similar agreement with FSC Netherlands and the Dutch Union of Forest Groups. The new agreement for the Schiphol project is an addition to the one with VolkerWessels. As such, this financial contribution is separate from the commitment previously made by VolkerWessels.