What are we doing


Trees on the Land is a cross-border initiative from the Green Economy Foundation. The project works to establish young native trees at sites across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We run an annual tree planting event where landowners across the 32 counties turn out to plant their trees on a selected Saturday in February. We are currently co-ordinating our next planting day – Saturday 15th February 2020.

Trees on the Land provides simple schemes for landowners to access quality native tree mixes each season. We work with farmers, smallholders, community groups, councils, schools, colleges and many other landowners to coordinate sites to accommodate trees.

We plant small woodlands, coppices, orchards, hedgerows, shelter belts, agroforestry projects, reforestation sites and larger woodlands. The project has planted over a million trees since 2013.

For more information please see www.treesontheland.com


As an established NGO we recognise the challenges faced by new innovative projects. We want to ensure that the lessons we have learned over time – from both our successes and our failures – can be
useful for future decisions. We also have an established well governed legal structure in GEF to facilitate community nature based projects in getting started and in connecting different idea and initiatives to
each other.

An example of this is West Cork Donut Economics Network. This is a network of micro and small to medium enterprises (mSME's) working under a small leadership team to deliver information and best
practice sharing to others who are interested in developing the business models described by Kate Rayworth in her Donut Economics book. This has become a project of GEF and we are currently working
to fund this project and move it forward to the next stage.

We also work on tree planting with local community groups – news to follow.


One of our core objectives is to mainstream sustainability. Our focus is on mainstreaming the principles of Sustainable Development as opposed to simply facilitating mainstream use of the word sustainable.
Sustainability has gone from an obscure environmental terminology to a United Nations global initiative. This has led to sectors from financial and investment sectors to multinationals and manufacturing
sectors, and even recently the tobacco industry claiming all sorts of sustainability credentials. This requires effective watchdogging and monitoring for greenwashing claims.

But even in this context we continue to engage, and to work from within the system to bring about the controlled change that is required. This means that we work on implementation of the Sustainable
Development Goals, and monitor the implementation of these. For example in the summer of 2023 Ireland the EU will report to the United Nations General Assembly on the progress being made towards
achieving the SDGs. We will be there, watching, monitoring and offering our own views on how this is proceeding. We work with our networks to be able to provide effective accurate feedback into these
larger systemic initiatives.


Click here for more information.


When our founder, Ian Wright met up with local man Roy Corbin in Tobago they discussed the declining biodiversity in the Tobago rainforest. Ian took his experience from founding the Irish Natural Forestry
Foundation, which was to become the GEF, and applied it to solving the biodiversity threats in Tobago. The result has been an affiliated project of GEF, where we cooperate, share knowledge, promote each
others work, and will sign an MoU which is currently being drafted. The Corbin Local Wildlife Park is an fascinating project of education, and practical hands on conservation and habitat restoration.


Our CEO, Cillian Lohan, was selected by his colleagues in the Irish Environmental Network and proposed to the Irish Government as a nominee for the EESC. The nomination was accepted and approved by the
European Council. Cillian got straight to work in this position and proposed the creation of a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. This was established, with Cillian as the inaugural chair of their
Coordination Group. He continues to work regularly to drive the ECESP forward in his monthly meetings as part of the 6 person Steering group with the DG ENV of the European Commission.

He also became on of two Vice Presidents of the EESC from 2020 – 2023. In this time he delivered a new Communication Strategy for EESC, updated audio-visual facilities, established new governance procedures, created a Connecting EU Seminar to connect civil society organisations from all over EU, and hosted a large youth event called Your Europe, Your Say.

On youth matters, he also wrote an Opinion on Structured Youth Engagement, and from this established the Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables.

He currently is President of the EU-UK Follow Up Group, and VP of the section that deals with climate, sustainability, rural development and agriculture, NAT Section.


Committed to European integration, the EESC contributes to strengthening the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the European Union by enabling civil society organisations from the Member States to express their views at European level.

This Committee fulfils three key missions:

  • helping to ensure that European policies and legislation tie in better with economic, social and civic circumstances on the ground, by assisting the European Parliament, Council and European Commission, making use of EESC members; experience and representativeness, dialogue and efforts to secure consensus serving the general interest;
  • promoting the development of a more participatory European Union, which is more in touch with popular opinion, by acting as an institutional forum representing, informing, expressing the views of and securing dialogue with organised civil society;
  • promoting the values on which European integration is founded and advancing, in Europe and across the world, the cause of democracy and participatory democracy, as well as the role of civil society organisations.

The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europes socio-occupational interest groups and others a formal platform to express their points of view on EU issues. Its opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Unions decision-making process.