“Bird Forest will see us plant over 10,000 trees in the next two years”
OT heard from Bird founder, Ed Bird, as the eyewear brand breaks new ground on a local project
09 February 2023
Could you tell us about the decision to begin planting trees in Devon to create the Bird Forest? Where did the idea come from?
We thrive on nature at Bird and the environment has always been at the heart of our decisions. We’ve wanted to start our own project for many years and had looked into supporting the various projects you can find online, but kept coming back to doing something local. It’s a project that makes sense for us as we build our community in the South West, and being able to manage a local project means our team and volunteers can have a direct connection with nature and see the results over time. Homegrown, literally.
Has Bird partnered with any other organisations on this project?
We’re working closely with Devon County Council and The Devon Wildlife Trust as part of a wider innovation project to support our drive towards carbon zero, which also sees us beginning to manufacture products in Devon.
The project has been part-funded by Devon County Council through the Green Innovation Fund. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of a Net Zero economy and support local businesses to scale-up and innovate.
We believe the eyewear industry has a once-in-history opportunity to demonstrate that creativity and respect for nature can lead to authentic sustainability, so it’s an important step towards reaching that.
What will the Bird Forest include?
The Bird Forest is located across three main sites in Devon: Haytor, Pinhoe and Slapton.
We’ll be planting oak, alder, willow, hawthorn, and beech as well as fruit trees and more. Combined, these will enable a diverse and natural woodland.
Planting the right trees in the right place is important, and we’re working with the experts at Devon Wildlife Trust to select the right species for each area, so that when planted, the trees will thrive and be healthy. All of this means the Bird Forest will be able to provide the benefits intended, such as shade, oxygen production, wildlife habitats and more.
The eyewear industry has a once-in-history opportunity to demonstrate that creativity and respect for nature can lead to authentic sustainability
How many trees have been planted so far, and how many do you plan to plant in the rest of 2023? Will Bird’s volunteer planting days be a regular event?
Our Bird Forest will see us plant over 10,000 trees in the next two years, alongside re-wilding and habitat cultivation across a number of sites. We’re also sponsoring a Devon-based tree nursery with 4000 trees, which is open to community groups to request trees for local projects.
Our planting days are lots of fun. We put the call out to our flock asking for volunteers to join us and it’s been great to have people from our customer base get involved. It’s a great opportunity to connect with our customers on a different level and get to know them better. We’ll be running several public and private planting sessions throughout this year and plan to make this a regular event.
For us it’s not just about creating exceptional frames, but extending the mentality that brands and companies should give back more than they take, and leave a positive legacy for people and the planet
How has the news been received by the Bird Eyewear community – including customers and practices?
We’ve had fantastic feedback from our community on this project. We’ve had volunteers from our own customer base, but also from other businesses and through word-of-mouth. It gives people a valid reason to spend a whole day outside connecting with nature. We’d like to extend our planting projects to our stockists, so that they can be directly involved in local planting projects, and at the very least sharing the stories and brand impact with their customers.
What does it mean to you to be taking this step?
We’re extremely grateful to our partners and volunteers who’ve helped us develop this project right here in Devon. It feeds nicely into our portfolio of environmental projects and supports what we stand for as a brand; making better eyewear for a better world. For us it’s not just about creating exceptional frames, but extending the mentality that brands and companies should give back more than they take, and leave a positive legacy for people and the planet.
Bird Eyewear will be showcasing its exclusive optical range at 100% Optical on Stand D48.