BrewDog plants 500,000 trees, 750 applications for Next Unicorn

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Peat this: James Watt (left) and fellow BrewDog co-founder Martin Dickie
Peat this: James Watt (left) and fellow BrewDog co-founder Martin Dickie

Related tags Brewdog Social responsibility Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Finance Legislation

Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog has planted more than 500,000 trees in The Lost Forest.

Despite accusations of not following through with its environmentally friendly plans of planting 1m trees in the Kinrara area of Scotland’s Cairngorns National Park, the company’s chief executive James Watt announced it had now planted most of the trees it committed to.

Watt said: “We have now planted over 500,000 trees in The Lost Forest. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are creating a native, bio-diverse woodland at The Lost Forest as we rewild a huge chunk of the Scottish Highlands. The scale is staggering, at almost 10,000 acres, The Lost Forest bigger than 17 actual counties.

“As well as planting over 1m trees, we have also already restored huge amount of peatlands – peatland restoration is a very effective form of carbon sequestration. Both the trees and the peatlands will enable us to pull a massive amount of carbon out of our atmosphere as we continue to put everything on the line to help save our home planet.

“The Lost Forest is one of the biggest forest creation and peatland restoration projects the UK has ever seen.”

The Next Unicorn

Taking a shot back at naysayers, he added: “I wonder if all of the media outlets who criticised us for not starting planting trees before we had all the requisite permissions will now cover the fact that we have planted half a million trees in the past few months? Sadly, I very much doubt it.”

BrewDog announced in June 2022, it had commissioned work to create a £12m bio-energy plant at its Ellon base in Scotland. To read the story from last year, click here​.

Meanwhile, Watt’s initiative to find the next “billion-dollar company” called The Next Unicorn​, has received a staggering 750 applications.

The co-founder of BrewDog, which operates more than 100 bars and hotels across the world, said: “Thanks for everyone who submitted a pitch deck – we have been genuinely blown away by the response and it is so brilliant to see so many people looking to grow fantastic businesses all over Europe.”

Biggest initiative of this kind

He continued: “The huge amount of entries makes this by far the biggest initiative of this kind, ever.

“With The Next Unicorn I am investing up to £5m of my own money in three businesses as I look to take all I have learned in building a remarkable business to help others do exactly the same.”

He added reviewing and shortlisting is already under way and praised the standard of applications so far, and added: “So many brilliant entrepreneurs and awesome businesses.”

The business is working to make a shortlist of 150, which will then be reduced to 50 to be reviewed by the full Next Unicorn Investment Committee before a final shortlist is created for the in-person pitches in London on 15-16 May.

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