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Southwick Primary School planting trees

Haskel celebrates 75 years by deepening its roots

A global manufacturer which has roots in the North East is celebrating its 75th anniversary by sewing new seeds of growth and supporting Sunderland City Council’s ambition to make the city carbon neutral by 2040.

Haskel Europe, based in North Hylton in Sunderland, was joined by pupils from Southwick Community Primary School on World Earth Day [Thurs 22nd April] as it planted 75 trees, one for each year it has been in business.

A total of 50 of the copper beech trees were planted in Southwick Cemetery while the remaining 25 will be planted on the grounds of Southwick Community Primary itself.

The decision to plant the seedlings coincided with Haskel, which manufacturers high-pressure pumps, valves and package solutions for an array of industries, announcing its global commitment to realise net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its operations by 2050.

Darran Heath, Haskel’s general manager, said: “Haskel’s products and services provide a unique opportunity to contribute to solving pressing climate change issues facing our world in areas such as water and energy consumption.

“As part of the Ingersoll Rand group, our Environmental Goals focus on energy, water and waste topics and it’s great to be able to come together with the council and local community to make a difference in the city we live and work in.

“This Earth Day celebration marks the start of Haskel’s 75th anniversary celebrations and reaffirms our commitment to reducing our carbon impact. Globally the Ingersoll Rand group aims to plant 3,000 trees to support earthday.org’s theme for 2021 to Restore Our Earth.”

Haskel, a business of the Precision and Science Technologies Segment at Ingersoll Rand, is playing a key role in driving the global shift to clean energy-powered transport solutions. It opened Europe’s largest facility dedicated to testing components and systems for the hydrogen market at its Sunderland plant in 2018 and its components have been used in over 200 hydrogen refuelling projects globally, including one of the world’s largest refuelling stations in China, built for the Olympics.

The Sunderland facility, a first of its kind, resulted in Haskel Europe reporting record figures last year, as the company saw turnover for the hydrogen systems division grow by 250% between 2019 and 2020 and resulting in the company sparking a major recruitment drive.

Darran added: “As Haskel continues to grow we will continue to invest in clean energy and in the North East, working together to achieve our environmental goals and to Restore Our Earth for the next generation.”

A total of 16 pupils from Southwick Community Primary School supported Haskel’s efforts by getting green-fingered and helping to plant the trees at the cemetery site. The remaining Year 3 learners were on hand to dig, plant and water the trees on the school fields.

Christian Robson, head teacher at Southwick Community Primary School, said: “Our school is thrilled to be involved in the tree planting to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Haskel.

“Supporting a local business with a strong environmental ethos and community conscience is something we feel passionately about as a school. The children are delighted to play an active part in contributing to solving climate change in their own local area.

“Planting trees is part of our whole school commitment to empower our children to realise positive change for the world they will inherit. As a school we actively engage in Earth day, this year we will continue to reduce our electricity usage during Earth Hour.”

Commitments to tackling climate change by companies such as Haskel reflect the increasing recognition of the scale of the climate emergency and the need for us all to act. 

In December 2020, partners across Sunderland adopted the city-wide Low Carbon Framework which is underpinned by individual partner action plans. This includes organisations such as Sunderland University, Sunderland College, Together for Children, Gentoo and the South Tyneside and Sunderland NSH Foundation Trust. All partners recognise the critical role of young people across the city have to play in us achieving our carbon reduction goals.

Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development at Sunderland City Council, said: “For decades, Haskel has not only been a pioneer in the development of clean energy-powered hydrogen solutions, but a pioneer among the North East advanced manufacturing community, helping establish the region as a world-leader in advanced manufacturing and clean energy.  We’re delighted to see them continuing to invest in the city as growing our green economy is one of the priorities in our Low Carbon Framework.

“Climate change is something we take incredibly seriously, not only as a Council - but as a city - and working collaboratively with the private, public and third sectors will be critical if we are to achieve our city-wide ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.”