This spring TD Economics released a special report on the economic value of the environmental and social benefits provided by Toronto’s 10 million trees. The report drew a surprising amount of interest, and not just among those working in the urban forestry and environment sector but from the public at large, which tells us there’s a thirst for information that defines the economic value of the benefits provided by the natural environment. And it’s easy to see why – it makes the business case for preserving and growing our forests and other “natural capital.”
I’m often asked why TD Economics would pursue what is a somewhat unconventional area of study for a big bank. The answer is fairly simple. There’s a strong link between the environment and the economy. TD has made a commitment to be an environmental leader, and part of that means providing thought leadership that can help drive the important conversations we need to have about the environment.
Let me share some highlights from the report:
- Urban forests are made up of the trees, shrubs and other flora and fauna that line the streets, parks and ravines of our cities.
- Urban forests do more than beautify the scenery. They represent an important investment in environmental condition, human health and the overall quality of life.
- The trees in the City of Toronto’s urban forest are worth an estimated $7 billion, or about $700 per-tree.
- Toronto’s urban forest provides residents with over $80 million, or about $8 per-tree, worth of environmental benefits and cost savings each year. For the average single family household, this works out to $125 of savings per annum.
- For every dollar spent on annual maintenance, Toronto’s urban forest returns anywhere from $1.35 – $3.20 worth of benefits and cost savings each year.
- Maintaining the health of our urban forests is the best way to protect the value of our green investment.
To read the full report, visit “Urban Forests: The Value of Trees in the City of Toronto
Karen Clarke-Whistler is the Chief Environment Officer for TD Bank Group.