Finalist category: Sustainability

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Finalist, Sustainability Award, 2021

Woman sitting under a treeVana is a Sanskrit term that translates to “a forest, wood, grove, spring… abundance”. It is also the name I’ve used for a data-driven afforestation initiative that can only be implemented on the foundations of Section 54 and the UK’s fertile open data infrastructure. We and others in the Open Data movement, have already been able to influence changes in corporate behaviour through strategic use of open data. We can do so to achieve greater afforestation. Simply put, we aim to use the data we have in TISCreport to inform company officers of the potential for afforestation within the land assets of their companies, and enable them to partner with environmental groups willing to plant those saplings using funding available from the Forestry Commission (and others).  

Simply by making ownership more visible to the corporate heart (ie connecting the body corporate to the head) we can enable landowners to re-evaluate the effectiveness of their own land use in the context of global warming. More land *should* mean more effective land use to combat our climate emergency. The Vana engine has connected multiple open data and silo data sources with live supply chain data, enabling us to confirm that 29,792 corporate entities own 130.9% of the right type of land required to achieve afforestation targets in England alone1. This is only 5% of total corporate land holdings, hardly making a dent in those aggregated land assets. Put another way, Vana has confirmed that corporates are overwhelmingly the best hope of enabling the UK to hit its tree-planting targets. All we need to achieve these goals is to connect the willingness of corporate landholders who own the woodland opportunity with the efforts of environmental groups to plant these trees across the UK.  

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