Yes, this is it. This is the blog that tells you about our CSR policy.
But I’ll try to make it a little more than a box ticker blog for two reasons.
K&C started to support Plant for the Planet in 2017. The decision was taken because the cause made a personal connection with a key member of the company’s management – our Head of Sales, Claudia Söhlemann. She was the NGO’s original evangelist inside the company.
But it’s also fair to say, she didn’t face much resistance to her push to start backing the Plant for the Planet initiative – tree planting.
In 2017, Claudia and Michael attended a conference that brought together the owners and senior management of Bavarian SMEs with politicians, to exchange views and share experiences. While there, they attended a presentation given by a young man who, at the time, was a student at the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland.
Claudia recounted to me how he used his presentation to share a vision he had first shared as a schoolboy in the Munich area – for schoolchildren to plant trees as their contribution to the environment.
And he put a number on it – 1 million trees in every country in the world.
The idea enthused both his schoolmates and their teachers. Around two months later they organised their first tree planting session, planting, remembers Claudia “I don’t know, 20 or 30 trees”.
Other classes were impressed enough by the initiative to take it up themselves and soon the whole school was planting trees.
Other schools heard about what was going on. They started planting trees too.
The boy it all started with, the one with the vision for schoolchildren to plant trees, was Felix Finkbeiner. He was 9.
In May 2010, less than 3 years after Felix first described his vision to his classmates and their teacher – the millionth tree was planted.
In 2011, Felix addressed the UN. By then he’d founded Plant for the Planet as an NGO and raised his ambitions – when he addressed the world leaders assembled before him, he called for the restoration of 1 trillion trees.
The UN’s response was to entrust Felix’s NGO with its Billion Tree Campaign. Plant for the Planet turned it into the Trillion Tree Campaign, which officially launched in 2018 – shortly after Claudia had championed K&C’s support of the cause.
We originally started supporting Plant for the Planet over 5 years ago through a program that encouraged companies to offset their carbon footprint by funding the planting of trees.
We provided details of all operations, including offices, broader energy consumption and business travel. Our annual carbon footprint was calculated and we were told how many newly planted trees would offset that – and the cost of funding the planting of those trees.
The “K&C trees” were contributed to a restoration project that is replanting and protecting the ancient Mayan forests of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
The organisation has subsequently moved away from the “offsetting” model and today simply accepts donations. Which we continue to enthusiastically make.
Since the Covid pandemic, our carbon footprint has dropped significantly as we moved to and then maintained a new remote model of work. So now our annual donation, which has remained constant, should put us in net positive territory – the carbon footprint of our operations being less than the carbon captured by the tree planting funded.
Our choice of Plant for the Planet is a match for K&C as a company. It reflects our:
The K&C team is made up of 16 or 17 different nationalities. This means, explains Claudia, “different people, different cultures, different religions and different holidays, all of which we try to respect”.
Despite the differences across such an international team (and teams within that team), there’s also a lot to be found in common between individuals from different countries and backgrounds. And it’s the things that we share, which far outweigh the differences, that help form the bonds that create the K&C team both we and our clients rely on and benefit from.
One of the most basic, and important, things that everyone in K&C shares, no matter where they have come from and where they live now, or will in future, is that we are all citizens of planet Earth.
We breathe the same air, drink the same water, and rely on the same global ecosystem to provide the raw materials to meet our daily needs for food, shelter and warmth.
Plant for the Planet’s mission is for a healthier, more sustainable planet. That will benefit everyone who is a part of K&C as well as our customers and other stakeholders. And the rest of humanity and the ecosystem we are part of and influence so heavily.
So we support the cause. With your help. Thank you.