Providing volunteer workers with tools to help clear overgrown pathways developed into a relationship that has led to the Japanese firm supplying the National Trust with 400 vehicles over the next three years.
The deal will see Honda provide a wide range of equipment from diesel-powered Civic models to all-terrain vehicles as well as a wide range of power tool equipment and even lawn mowers for the Trust.
And it will include providing 10 superclean IMA hybrid versions of the Civic for the pool car fleet operated by the organisation, which, like the carmaker, is based in Swindon.
The process leading to the contract – hailed as a 'dream deal' by national corporate sales manager Ian Hughes – began when Honda sales executive Paul Mundy persuaded the power equipment division to provide strimmers to ease the massive job of clearing pathways that became overgrown during the foot and mouth epidemic.
'It was a favour that led to our involvement in other initiatives including pond clearing, dry stone walling and tree planting and we soon found we shared a level of enthusiasm and understanding to improve the environment,' Hughes said.
'Over the last year, we have been supporting the Trust's working holidays initiative, a programme of 400 holiday options centred on conservation projects involving coastal areas, woodland, farmland and historic buildings.
'The trust is now studying some of our own environmental initiatives and is particularly interested in the simple methods we've used to recycle water and cut emissions at our factory,' he added.
Honda has also netted a £13 million, two-year deal under which Accord diesel models will join Vauxhall and Renault products on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's user-chooser fleet.
Corporate sales executive Graham Avent said: 'Part of the development of this relationship is to have Honda outboard motors powering the nation's lifeboats – and we're very excited about that.'