Companies around the world are placing increasing emphasis on balancing CO2 emissions. This includes the world's biggest car manufacturers and groups, which plant thousands of trees around the world every year to help the planet get enough clean air.

Kia Italy, for example, recently announced that it had signed an agreement with the Treebu charity to plant 1,600 Paulownie trees and redevelop a disused site in the Verona area. But Kia isn't the only brand - here's why and how.

The Korean experience

The decision to plant Paulownia, a genus of plant that has inhabited the earth for hundreds of thousands of years and is native to the temperate boreal zone, was taken, according to Kia, after careful consideration of the plant's characteristics.

In fact, it is the fastest-growing family in the world. In other words, it reaches full maturity in 6 to 8 years. This gives it a high level of CO2 absorption, enabling it to clean the soil of hydrocarbons and heavy metals in a short space of time and increase the amount of organic matter in the soil. What's more, it is a plant capable of producing high-quality wood that can also be used in construction, shipbuilding and furniture.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of these plantations, the experts chose the method of planting a sterile clone of a hybrid between several pure species, to reduce the risk of invasion to zero.

Le projet Kia Italia

Le projet Kia Italia

La place de la forêt de Kia

La place de la forêt de Kia

A worldwide mission

Planting trees and plants to offset the CO2 emitted during production processes is a practice that has been implemented for several years by almost all the world's car manufacturers, including the new Chinese companies.

Going in alphabetical order to give a few examples, the BMW Group, through Mini, has been involved for years in reclaiming green spaces in front of factories, thanks to the"Tiny Forest" initiative, which came into being in 2021 near Swindon, England.

MINI, la petite forêt de Swindon

MINI, the Tiny Forest of Swindon

But that's not all. The company itself, through BMW of North America, announced in April 2023 that it had formed an Earth Day partnership with Scenic America to plant 25 trees for every electric vehicle test drive in the US.

In June 2023, BYD announced that it had begun planting 1,500 trees in Nepal through the country's official importer and distributor, Cimex Inc. The initiative is called "Building Dreams & Forests" and aims to produce around 4,133 tonnes of oxygen over the next five years.

Le projet BYD Building Dreams & Forest

Le projet BYD Building Dreams & Forest

Le projet BYD Building Dreams & Forest

Le projet BYD Building Dreams & Forest

Like the Kia brand, part of the same Korean group, Hyundai is also involved on a daily basis in tree planting with the IONIQ Forest Sinsido project. Thanks to this scheme, the company has planted more than 25,000 trees on a landfill site in Incheon since 2016, as part of a partnership with Tree Planet. A quantity that absorbs up to 225 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 1,100 kg of fine particles per year.

La forêt de Sinsida de Hyundai

Forêt de Sinsido d'Hyundai

La foresta Sinsido di Hyundai
La foresta Sinsido di Hyundai

In Germany, Mercedes-Benz has also chosen to use trees to offset its annual CO2 emissions. As part of the "Green Factory" programme, for example, the company has planted around 3,000 trees on a site near the new Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft plant in Kecskemet since 2015.

Le projet Mercedes-Benz hongrois

The Hungarian Mercedes-Benz project

Finally, the Stellantis Group, as part of the "Plant a Tree" project carried out in collaboration with Océanium, has planted 10,000 trees near Tobor in Senegal since 2021.

Subsequently, the same project has been launched in 13 other European countries, with the aim of planting and giving life to a tree every time customers agree to repair their vehicle using and reconditioned spare parts.

Gallery: Even car manufacturers plant trees to offset CO2