Love flowers? Interested in sequestering carbon, helping pollinators and rewilding outdoor spaces? Then My Square Metre may just be the place for you.

My Square Metre was founded by Ed Crowther, who realised that tree planting is often the most popular choice for carbon offsetting, when planting wildflowers is a more efficient route to both offsetting carbon and boosting biodiversity above and below ground. Wildflower planting for carbon storage is incredibly effective, as wildflowers sequester carbon within the first year of planting, in comparison to tree planting which can take several years.

Concerned by the sharp decline in habitats in Britain, Crowther wanted to take action and created a platform that would offer people fast, easy, and affordable carbon offsetting while boosting biodiversity.

Designed as a way to micro-offset carbon footprints through wildflower planting, here’s what you need to know.

How it works

First, My Square Metre’s carbon calculators work out the footprint of regular activities that are relevant to you, whether it be driving or using technology. Simply input your monthly usage and it will work out how much carbon is produced, then give you the option of a one-time purchase or monthly subscription.

My Square Metre use these funds to plant wildflowers on a piece of land that was previously Grade 3, 4 or 5 (poor quality) land or a brownfield site (former industrial or previously developed land) after surveying the site to find out what plants would be most beneficial for the area. They don’t plant on land that is suitable for farming, as don’t want to take away productive land that can be useful. 

When the land has been purchased, you receive a What3Words link and QR connected to your specific square metre to where it is. Finding the right land and purchasing takes some time, so it isn’t done immediately, but given that it takes 20 years before most trees start to have a tangible carbon benefit, it’s significantly quicker.

This land is then protected for 30 years, after which time it will be fully rewilded and the wildflowers can proliferate without intervention. They carefully monitor the soil to measure health, biodiversity and carbon sequestration with the help of Agricarbon. After the 30 years has passed, the land will either stay as wild meadowland or be used for green agricultural or innovation contracts which will continue to keep the carbon sequestered and the biodiversity intact. Less than 1% of the land will be developed, but only at net zero carbon or for other sustainable community-focused projects.

When you join My Square Metre, you can see how much carbon you have successfully offset in your account, alongside how much meadowland has been created, how many wildflowers you have planted, and how many bees you have provided food for. So they we have planted 1,744 square metres of meadowland with 872,000 wildflowers and offset 5,232kg of CO2.

Why wildflowers?

Wildflower meadows used to be much more abundant, but since the 1930s the UK has lost 97% of meadowland due to land development and large-scale farming. 

My Square Metre developed their environmental and ecological strategy in collaboration with experts at the University of Lincoln to perform surveys, develop a planting policy and strategically target land that would have the most positive impact from transformation.

There are multiple benefits of wildflower cultivation, including:

  • Providing food and shelter to bees and other essential pollinators, as well as other animals, insects and birds.
  • Boosting biodiversity and creating a resilient, healthy habitat that supports life.  
  • Sequestering carbon in the soil where it belongs, countering the effects of climate breakdown.

Wildflower meadows are particularly adept at capturing carbon dioxide, absorbing it through photosynthesis and keeping it sequestered in their extensive root systems. Even if a wildflower meadow is cut once a year, that carbon stays locked away and the wildflowers grow back. One hectare alone can absorb 3 tonnes of CO2 in a year.

Plus, wildflowers are a perfect choice as they grow best in low-quality soil that is poor in nutrients, and they don’t require any pesticides. In fact, the presence of wildflowers and the wildlife they attract enriches and improves the soil of meadows, supporting soil health  and ecosystem biodiversity alongside carbon storage. Just one square metre of wildflowers will feed 24 bees each year for 30 years!

53% of Britain’s native species have declined, including harebells and heather, due to factors such as agricultural intensification and climate change. Only together can we achieve meaningful change, as the majority of lost meadowland is under farming ownership.

Through My Square Metre, we are giving biodiversity space to thrive and monitoring it to make sure we are doing everything we can, especially for struggling native species. We are also helping to lower the carbon in the atmosphere by putting it into the ground and regenerating depleted soil at the same time.

How do they choose the flowers?

My Square Metre select a blend of native English wildflowers and grasses to sow that suit the exact area they plant in.

They plant a blend of 30 different English native wildflowers and grasses depending on the surrounding environment, natural light levels and other levels. You can see their different wildflower mixes here. Meadows are carefully monitored to watch for invasive species or any other harmful elements. If an invasive species were discovered, they would take action by physically removing it and keeping a close eye on the area in case it returns.

They then take care of the land, cutting the meadow once a year and sowing more seeds if needed, although most wildflowers are self-seeding and don’t usually require this. They simply monitor it for 30 years to maintain its health.

Essentially, I love this idea. Carbon offsetting isn’t a magic solution that will fix everything, but My Square Metre also recognise this. They aim to improve soil health, restore native species, support pollinators and regenerate poor-quality land, carbon storage is just a bonus. 

Learn more and get involved here