Seasalt launches Reskinned take-back and resale scheme

Seagrass restoration: Stage one complete of Seasalt-backed Cornwall Wildlife Trust research project

Stage one of a seagrass restoration project in Cornwall, which is funded by clothing retailer Seasalt, has been completed.

The ‘Seeding Change Together’ initiative in the River Fal, which is a planting study led by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust aiming to better understand the carbon capture qualities of seagrass, was announced in August.

Seasalt has committed to donating £150,000 as part of a three-year partnership. If the work is successful, Cornwall Wildlife Trust believes it could lead to large-scale seagrass restoration and planting in Cornwall’s estuaries which could help tackle climate change.

Those involved in the seagrass restoration project are using technology never previously trialled in Cornwall to study the seagrass bed at the trust’s Fal-Ruan nature reserve. The trust said approximately 4,000 seeds were collected from stable and healthy meadows in the Fal Estuary at the end of last summer.

However, researchers were reportedly surprised the seed pods collected yielded only a quarter of the seeds expected, with the trust’s marine experts concerned the summer’s prolonged periods of high temperatures may have affected the seeds’ development.

Various tests have been undertaken aimed at identifying the most effective ways of restoring and growing seagrass. Among the methods deployed are placing seed mixtures into biodegradable hessian bags which are planted into the mudflats, as well as using cuttings of seagrass as an alternative to seed collection.

Paul Hayes, CEO at Seasalt, said: “Seeding Change Together is a vital project for the UK’s seagrass restoration efforts and we’re thrilled to be helping play a part in generating this essential research.

“Climate change isn’t a future problem – it’s here and now – and it’s alarming that extreme weather may be impacting the planting trials. We take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously and are committed to accelerating the transformation of our business to create positive change within our industry.”

He added: “It’s essential that we can protect these vital habitats so that we can influence the options we all have in the future. I can’t wait for Spring and to see the next phase of the project come together.”

Sophie Pipe, seagrass project officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, commented: “We experienced record-breaking heatwaves and droughts last summer, in addition to an incredibly mild start to autumn and sudden cold snaps this winter.

“These extreme conditions may have affected the seagrass meadows on site, but it’s an unknown as to what those short-term and long-term impacts will be. That’s why our research is so important.”

She continued: “We’re hoping to know more when the seedlings sprout in late spring or early summer this year. They could stay dormant for longer than we expect if there’s a temperature drop, or they could sprout early.

“Water quality is also something that may affect the health of the seagrass beds. We’re keen to study that in more detail on the site.”

The trials are small-scale and relatively low-cost, but the trust has ambitions to scale the work to restore many of Cornwall’s lost seagrass meadows using the same methodology it is deploying at Fal-Ruan.

So far, a small group of volunteers – including employees from Seasalt – have contributed over 120 hours of work to the project by collecting and planting the seeds. The team used bodyboards on the mud when moving around the site, which the trust said helped to minimise disturbance to the plants.

In other greener retailing news at Seasalt this week, a new head of sustainability has been appointed. William Gee has taken on the role, after leaving a similar role at Freddie’s Flowers at the end of 2022.

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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