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Barker and Stonehouse, planting trees worldwide

Trees4Trees: From major reforestation project in Indonesia, to a global all-inclusive not-for-profit foundation.

Alumnus James Barker, Managing Director of Barker and Stonehouse co-founded the Trees4Trees Foundation – a crucial sustainability project. We had the pleasure of gaining further insight from son of James, key player and Ambassador of the initiative, alumnus George Barker. Read George’s blog below.

Studying at Newcastle University

Being part of a University in a city such as Newcastle was fantastic! I only really had my sights set on Newcastle University and it did not disappoint. With the University so embedded in a city with such great history, culture, people and nightlife, it is truly like no other.

Studying both Geography and Business Management as part of my Combined Honours gave me great flexibility in the courses, topics and issues I was able to learn about. I had access to a unique breadth of topics, while also digging deep into areas that really interested me. Very current issues, such as global supply chains, lean innovative thinking and the question of sustainability were all integral parts of my time at Newcastle, and I have carried this thinking into my professional life. Understanding more about the geographical environment, taken within a human and business context, is an approach I feel will be very critical in trying to help solve the climate emergency.

Barker and Stonehouse Sustainability Strategy, Trees4Trees

Twelve years ago, my father, James Barker, being aware of the ecological impact of the furniture industry, co-founded the Trees4Trees (T4T) Foundation. The Foundation started as a reforestation program based in Central Java, Indonesia. Since then, it has evolved into an all-inclusive not-for-profit foundation. Individuals and businesses have already contributed to planting over 1.7 million high-value trees and counting!

What I believe is so important to a foundation like T4T, is the involvement of the community. The benefits stretch far beyond just tree planting and Carbon offset. The success of the project to date is largely due to the inclusion of local governments, agricultural schools, farmers and their families. Educating the farmers on best harvesting practices, which valuable trees to plant (whether that be timber, fruit trees or coffee), as well as the best price they should get for their harvest, are all important aspects of the program.

Once this trust between Trees4Trees and the community is established, the economic benefits can be so significant for the local people. To date, over 17,000 families have been supported. I spoke with farmers who through the planting of high value timber and fruit trees and coffee, were able to send children to college or pay for their daughter’s wedding. This was really amazing to see! Have a view of our videos:

Top tips for a sustainable future?

There’s no one right way to help contribute to a more sustainable future. But I really suggest that people research, educate themselves and get involved. Getting stuck into a foundation like this for example. They are not just looking for donations (which are important), but for help with skills such as marketing, content creation and research.

Get involved

The time is certainly ripe for such a fantastic foundation such as T4T to make an environmental impact, capture carbon, but also do it in such a way that helps alleviate poverty and include local farmers and their families. 

If you would like to get involved in the program, you can plant a tree by following this link! When you do this, you will get a QR code which will take you to the exact Geo-location of where that tree/trees are planted in Indonesia!

Or if you are a business interested in the program, you can get in touch by emailing us at dms@trees4trees.org.

Want to share your story? Email us at advancement@ncl.ac.uk

published on: 19 October 2020