As we understand and become more aware of the devastating impacts of climate change, businesses around the world are having to consider their own impact on the environment and what can be done to tackle climate change. 2019 saw the beginning of a partnership between Zurich UK and Tree-Nation which is a fantastic step in our continued efforts to reduce our environmental footprint.
Tree-nation are an organisation who run reforestation projects around the world to tackle rising CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions are one of the greenhouse gasses causing climate change, but did you know that deforestation is responsible for 17% of these CO2 emissions? This is because a single tree can offset up to 250 Kg of CO2 in its lifetime. In fact some studies suggest that planting trees is the most effective solution to climate change currently available to us.
The importance of reforestation inspired us at Zurich. Through a series of schemes last year offered through our Direct Life, Travel, Income Protection and Zurich Corporate Risk products we gave customers the opportunity to plant a tree. At the end of 2019 the Zurich Tree-Nation forest was home to an incredible 44,923 trees.
Thanks to this project, in less than one year there are just under 45,000 additional trees working to support the planet. Trees are the lungs of the world, providing us with oxygen as well as combatting climate change. They provide habitats for various species all over the world and are powerful flood defences. This is why organisations and governments alike are working hard to plant billions of trees around the world.
Tree-Nation manages the planting of forests for several large companies, and businesses of all sizes are working hard to improve their environmental impact. What other steps can be taken to help save trees?
Save paper: Consider if something actually needs printing and what measures you could take to reduce printing in your organisation. For example, are you making the most of the digital alternatives to print?
- Recycle and reuse: Where you do have to use paper you can dispose of it responsibly, recycling or reusing wherever possible. You can also ensure that your organisations have facilities to make recycling as easy as possible.
- Respect forests: The United Kingdom is 13% woodland, around 3.19 million hectares. Between 2018 and 2019 there were 13,000 hectares of newly created woodland, do you make the most of these natural resources? Getting outside has benefits to people’s mental and physical wellbeing. It’s also important to stick to paths where possible and don’t leave litter in woodlands. As a business you can ensure you that you are responsibly dealing with waste and not impacting on the environment more than necessary.
- Donate your own trees: Organisations such as Tree-Nation not only support businesses but they also offer opportunities for you to plant trees individually and offset carbon emissions.
As well as planting trees we’ve made efforts to reduce our printing across the Zurich Group, with schemes such as #ThinkBeforeYouPrint and #NoPrintDay reducing printing by 74% in 2019. In fact #NoPrintDay alone saved six trees. When we do have to print we have ensured that suppliers focus on digitalisation and that we exclusively use paper which is from sustainable forests approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
As we start the new decade we hope to continue our efforts to reduce our environmental impact, support reforestation and to Plant a Tree wherever possible. Pledges such as this from organisations and individuals alike are vital to tackling climate change. What could you do in 2020 to help support the environment?