A TREE planting project to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has been sponsored by companies with links to deforestation, according to campaigners.

The Queen’s Green Canopy scheme looked to dedicate a patchwork of 70 ancient forest areas across the UK with the aim of reforesting the country.

However, activists have raised concerns over some of the scheme’s “platinum” sponsors. One of those raising the alarm is McDonald’s, which has previously been linked to deforestation in Brazil.

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Another of the sponsors to have caught the attention of campaigners is Coutts, the Queen’s bank. Part of the NatWest group, the firm has invested in a number of firms that activists from Wild Card, a rewilding NGO, say have profited from deforestation.

Firms linked to Coutts include Drax, which in 2021 raised sustainability concerns by burning 7.7 million tonnes of fuel made from freshly cut “green” wood.

Other firms linked to NatWest include pulp mill UPM, which has been accused of deforestation in Uruguay through paper manufacturing, and Vattenfall, which provides wood chips and pellets to energy companies.

Activists speaking to The Guardian have alleged that the Royal Family is engaging in greenwashing by helping large companies improve the image of their environmental records.

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Louisa Casson, head of forests for Greenpeace UK, said: “Sadly, the number of trees that this scheme might help to plant is a tiny fraction of the number the scheme’s corporate sponsors have helped to destroy. It’s an insult to the volunteers taking part to use their efforts to greenwash the reputations of companies that drive deforestation across the world.”

Joel Scott-Halkes, a co-founder of Wild Card, added: “The royal family are helping major corporations greenwash their own planet-wrecking activities. As representatives of our nation, they are implicating us all in a shameful cover-up of these global companies’ appalling environmental reputations.

“As the biggest landowning family in Britain, the royals should be using their time to rewild and reforest their own vast estates – not lending their name to companies like McDonald’s.”