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Deloitte employees plant 3 hectares of forest on the Brussels periphery

Deloitte forest

Deloitte Belgium is planting 5,000 trees at the Keyenberg in Sint-Stevens Woluwe on a plot of over 3.16 hectares, comparable to the surface of almost 5 football fields. The trees will be planted on Saturday 12 and 19 March by Deloitte employees and their families. The organisation will also further optimise the existing green area at ‘Het Zeen’ in Zaventem. The realisation of this will be done in collaboration with Forest Fwd, specialised in company forests, and the municipality of Zaventem.

Brussels - 12 March 2022 - The new forest will be planted at the Keyenberg in Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, where the soil has recently been raised and made ready for afforestation. This forest will become public property to give everyone the chance to enjoy the green surroundings. With both the planting of the new forest and the optimisation of the existing natural area, Deloitte wants to contribute to greener spaces in Belgium.

Every Deloitte employee will get the chance to plant a tree in the coming weekends and is free to bring their family members to help. Forest Fwd, the first private afforestation company in Belgium, is supporting the implementation of this forest as part of a broader initiative to create as much extra forest as possible in Belgium.

This initiative is in line with Deloitte's two main objectives: contributing to the well-being of our staff and to a better environment. With this forest we want to literally give the planet and our people more oxygen. We hope that they will use this new nature point to re-energise and reconnect with colleagues.

Piet Vandendriessche, CEO Deloitte Belgium

Experience nature in the forest ‘het Zeen’

The existing forest het Zeen in Zaventem, which was already festively opened at the end of September, lies in the extension of the Keyenberg, a few kilometres from Gateway where Deloitte is based. Deloitte will further optimise the piece of woodland here, and use it, for example, for walking meetings or coaching sessions. This beautiful piece of nature came about with the help of the Regionaal Landschap Brabantse Kouters, the municipality of Zaventem, Agentschap Natuur en Bos, the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) and the province of Flemish Brabant. The forest is about "experience nature", with walking and cycling paths, a deckchair path, flower meadows, additional forest and a pick-your-own orchard. The existing forest het Zeen and the new forest in Sint-Stevens-Woluwe will account for 11 hectares of new nature.

Deloitte is committed to having a tangible, positive impact on our society every day. After the many Covid measures, including working from home, we really want to invest in a healthy and open space. A sustainable place where people can meet for walking meetings or team events, and relax after the working day,

says Hilde Van de Velde, Chief Purpose Officer Deloitte.

From 1 hectare to 30 hectares of forest in Zaventem

The initiative is also important for the municipality of Zaventem.

This new piece of woodland, which we can plant for our municipality together with Deloitte, fits in perfectly with the Zaventem Climate Action Plan and the European Covenant of Mayors. Different departments and citizens worked out a strong plan together, containing 120 concrete actions to reduce the CO2 emissions of our municipality. The realization of this new forest makes it clear that together with our residents and companies we are shaping the municipality of the future and we are all helping to build a place that is attractive, healthy and climate-neutral,

say Ingrid Holemans, Mayor of Zaventem, and Bart Dewandeleer, First deputy of the municipality of Zaventem.

According to the VSGB figures from ANB (Agency for Nature and Forest for the Flemish Urban Area around Brussels), in 2014 there was only one hectare of accessible forest in Zaventem. In less than 10 years, more than 15 hectares have been added (Vliegbos 7 ha, Zeen 8 ha, Kersenberg 0.5 ha). And in the next two years this will double again (Zavelbos 8,5 ha, Woluwedal 1,3 ha, Keyenbergbos 2,5 ha). This will increase the size of forests from barely one hectare to almost 30 hectares in a decade.