Secto Rally Finland started a vast planting project – 13,500 seedlings to planted in the first phase

AKK Sports Ltd, the organiser of the Finnish round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Secto Rally Finland, has begun a reforestation project on the 27.5-hectare peatland area the company owns in Jämsä, Central Finland, in order to compensate for the carbon footprint of the event. A total of approximately 13,500 seedlings will be planted in the area called “Pohjansuo” before Midsummer celebrated in June.

With the future growth of the seedlings, AKK Sports will fully compensate the carbon footprint of their own organisation as well as the competitors for the years 2021 and 2022. In addition to that, it will also compensate approximately 20 percent of the carbon footprint caused by the movement of the spectators during this year’s Rally Finland.

– The forest around our area is mixed woodland, so we are now starting this project with pine seedlings. They will cover an area of approximately six hectares. Next year, we will continue with birch or spruce, so that the carbon footprint will be compensated in an increasing manner from year to year, says AKK Sports Ltd CFO Markus Häkkinen.

Route master Pekka “Peku” Tähtinen and project manager (responsibility, staff and accommodation) Tiina Sammallahti planting seedlings.

 – Our goal is that with the Rally Finland 2025 plantings, we will fully compensate the carbon footprint caused by the movement of the spectators during the event, and that by 2030 we will be a completely carbon-neutral World Rally Championship event. As far as we know, this is a very significant and unique project – especially in the field of motorsport events, on a global scale, Häkkinen continues.

Planting area in partnership with Neova – local help in the tree planting endeavour

The professionals from a local forestry management association helping with the planting.

AKK Sports Ltd and Neova Oy entered a three-year partnership in the autumn of 2021. The aim of the partnership is to create a model that can be used to fully compensate the total carbon footprint of Rally Finland by 2030. The model is based on the forest owned by the Finnish WRC event and the vast carbon sink that keeps on growing as the tree planting goes on.

According to Neova’s Communications and Public Affairs Director Ahti Martikainen, the afforestation of a former peat production area and using it for carbon offsetting is a reliably verifiable way of compensating for carbon dioxide emissions.

– In addition to that, an afforested area always increases the biodiversity of a peatland area. If you add together all the plant, animal and fungal species in one hectare of forest, there can be as many as 20,000 different species, which is more than can be found in normal peatland or mire nature, by several tenfolds, says Martikainen.

According to AKK’s Markus Häkkinen, the plan is to also involve local youth and different clubs and associations in the planting work in the future.

– This year, these first plantings are carried out by a local forestry management association, but we are hoping that in the future we will be able to also employ and involve local clubs, associations and young people in our planting operations – through for example hunting clubs or 4-H youth organisations.

Secto Rally Finland forest planting compensates carbon footprint

  • In 2021, AKK Sports Ltd acquired 27.5 hectares of bogland previously used for peat production from Neova.
  • By Midsummer this year, 13,500 pine seedlings will be planted in the area called “Pohjansuo” located in Jämsä, Central Finland.
  • The growth of the seedlings will compensate the carbon footprint of both the rally organisation and the competitors for this year as well as last year.
  • Their growth will also compensate approximately 20 percent of the carbon footprint caused by the movement of the rally spectators.  
  • The planting will be increased gradually from year to year until 2030, with the goal of having a completely carbon-neutral Rally Finland by then.
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