Mini partners with Tiny Forest in sustainability push

13 April 2021

As sustainability becomes a key theme in many industries, carmakers are looking for ways to improve their green credentials. Mini is supporting Earthwatch Europe’s ‘Tiny Forest’ initiative and continuing its commitment to urban green spaces.

The BMW-owned brand has funded and planted a first ‘Tiny Forest’ near one of its production sites in Swindon, UK. With this partnership, Mini wants to raise awareness of local environmental projects and calls for a responsible approach to nature. The OEM’s next Tiny Forest will be planted near the carmaker’s Oxford plant in 2022.

‘Tiny Forests provide rich opportunities for connecting young and old alike with the environment and sustainability,’ explains Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest officer at Earthwatch Europe. ‘We must give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action. We are delighted to be working with Mini UK to bring these inspiring spaces to Swindon and Oxford.’

Small and sustainable

The partnership with Earthwatch Europe allows Mini to play to two of its strengths. The manufacturer has always been a standard-bearer when it comes to small cars. It is also striving to champion sustainable motoring through its new Mini Electric-e battery-electric vehicle (BEV).

Therefore, the initiative is a perfect parallel in the natural world. Tiny Forests see 600 indigenous trees planted especially close to each other in a space the size of a tennis court, and areallowed to grow in a completely natural way. The result is up to 30% more density, up to 10 times faster growth and 30 times better absorption of carbon dioxide. This, in turn, will attract more than 500 animal and plant species over the next three years and transform the Tiny Forest into an accessible mini-ecosystem.

‘Mini is excited to partner with Earthwatch Europe to plant Tiny Forests in our local communities and across the UK,’ added David George, director of Mini Great Britain and Ireland. ‘For over 61 years, we have made cars using resources responsibly and to maximum effect. Our shared values of sustainability and bringing people together is what makes this such a great partnership.’

Reducing carbon output

Thanks to students and helpers' active support, Earthwatch Europe will collect a lot of data in the ‘Tiny Forest’ over the next two years. This will help the organisation learn more about carbon absorption, thermal comfort, biodiversity and the social benefits of such green spaces in an urban area.

The move will allow Mini to offset some of the CO2 emitted through its vehicles' production, lowering the company’s carbon footprint. While vehicle manufacturers are increasingly turning to BEV models to meet strict European CO2 targets, there is also an increased focus on the environmental impact of mass production.

BMW recently announced that Mini would transform into an electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) only business by 2030, with the brand producing its last internal combustion engine (ICE) in 2025. As most of its models sit in the small-car segment, this move makes sense for BMW, which will increase electrification of its own fleet but rely on Mini for BEV demand in a market where the technology is more widely used.