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For every customer who switches to digital mail, Turien & Co will plant a tree

14 February 2024

Even for a financial institution there are plenty of creative possibilities to create an impact. As can be seen in our landscape partner Turien & Co Insurance and their partner company Ansvar insurance company. For every customer who switches from mail on paper to digital mail, the insurance companies will plant a tree. In this way they contribute to restoring landscape elements: trees and hedges in the Dutch countryside.

Insurance world rookie

If you had told Henk Cornelissen a couple of years ago that he would he would be employed by an insurance company, he would not have believed you. He was doing Future Planet Studies and got his PhD in climate studies. He knew little or nothing about finance – even less about insurance. And yet Henk is like a fish in water with Turien & Co and Ansvar.

“I am manager of sustainability and my assignment is to set up all sorts of sustainable projects”, he explains. “Besides, I am occupied making our insurance products more sustainable.” Henk is also responsible for sustainable partnerships, including co-operation with Trees for All.

Advantages of switching

Since 2021 Turien and Ansvar have planted a tree for every customer who switches to digital communication. Henk: “In all printed letters we send to customers, such as policy conditions and invoices, we point out this campaign. We mention the advantages of a switch. For one thing, digital mail is more convenient. Moreover, it saves paper, transport and CO2-emission, so it benefits the environment. And we also plant a tree in your name if you switch.”

“Our contributions as landscape partner are spent in the Netherlands. For us, this local focus really means additional value.”

Henk Cornelissen

Contribution to biodiversity

Turien and Ansvar are our landscape partners. What that implies? The insurance companies’ tree donations we spend specifically on planting landscape elements, such as rows of trees, hedges or coppices in the countryside. Those are conducive to more biodiversity, since they attract plants and animals – from butterflies and bees to bats and fire salamanders. Those small animals find food among trees and hedges, where they can also propagate and find shelter.

The link between biodiversity and insurers is more logical than it seems at first sight. “As damage insurer we benefit by stable eco systems and combatting climate change”, Henk explains. “Climate change enhances the risks of damage. For example by means of flooding, fire or rising sea level. As insurers we want to limit those risks. We think it is important to contribute to healthy living conditions and to enhance biodiversity in our own environment.”

38,000 switchers

This gave Turien the notion of planting trees. “We thought Trees for All was a fine partner to set this up. Since we are their landscape partner, our donations are spent within the Nether-lands. This local focus has additional value for us. After all, our customers are in the Nether-lands.”

Since the campaign began, 38,000 customers switched from traditional to digital mail. The trees are planted in various settings in the Netherlands, taking up several planting days. One part in a farmer’s meadow in Friesland, for example, another part in the Gelderland country-side and then some in Overijssel or Utrecht. “There is always a project somewhere near a customer’s home that he or she has contributed to”, Henk says. “That makes our part extra palpable.”

Henk and his colleagues were present at several Trees for All arbor days. “Such a day is really something special. I remember being busy digging a ditch together with some colleagues in order to plant a row of trees in. It won’t go that fast, I thought at first, but when I looked up I saw all those other people working hard. In less than no time we had planted rows of trees together. That was really impressive!”

Roll up your sleeves

By now, the highest number of switching customers has probably been passed. The campaign continues, but as it does Henk is reflecting on new forms of co-operation with Trees for All “So that we can impact even more strongly.”

Henk hopes Turien and Ansvar may inspire other financial institutions to contribute to nature conservation and biodiversity, too. “We don’t want the Netherlands to change into one enormous parking lot now, do we? Let’s roll up our sleeves together now!”

The importance of our landscape partners

The Dutch countryside originally boasts many landscape elements: trees and hedges which shape our landscapes. In recent decades 60% of these elements have disappeared, for instance as a result of agricultural scaling up and urbanization. Trees for All dedicates itself to restoring landscape elements in the whole country. We are able to do so, thanks to our landscape partners, such as Turien & Co. Want to be a landscape partner, too? Good idea!

Become a landscape partner