Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Here at the VDS, we are on a journey to reduce our environmental impact as much as we possibly can, and we’re working hard to embed sustainability throughout our business.

We have identified many areas in which we are able to make positive changes and a high priority is our use of paper.

In 2021, we used over six and a half tonnes of paper, with our popular VDS Newsletter accounting for more than three quarters of that – that’s a carbon footprint of over 4.5 tonnes of CO2e for the newsletter paper alone (and that’s without ink and postage included!).

We know how important environmental sustainability is to many of our members, so we’re asking for your support to help us reduce our paper use.

For every member who makes the switch from paper to email for their service communications, such as policy renewal information, we will plant a tree on your behalf with our partners Eco Offset Ltd and Eden Reforestation Projects.

But it's your choice

It’s important to us that we communicate with our members in the way that you want to be communicated with, so there will always be the option to carry on receiving paper communications if you wish.

So why plant trees?

There are many obvious benefits that trees bring to our world:

  • They are amazing at not only removing carbon from the air, but they also lock it up and store it inside their trunks, vegetation, and roots
  • Trees and plants improve the health of our soil, which is vital for sustaining crops, retaining water, and sequestering carbon too
  • But it’s not all about carbon – trees are vital for our wildlife. They provide healthy habitats, food, shelter and improve biodiversity
  • Trees are natural flood defences, forming barriers that can retain water on land for longer, reducing flooding of natural watercourses downstream.

If you’re wondering how long it takes for a tree to bring these wonderful benefits, well it depends on the type of tree and its location, but generally trees take a good 10-15 years to mature and provide efficient carbon removal and storage.

But that doesn’t mean that freshly planted trees don’t contribute…

We can't have a healthy planet, without healthy people and communities

When exploring tree planting projects, we wanted to be sure that the people responsible for the planting and stewardship of the trees were paid a fair wage for their work and that local, indigenous communities could benefit from our contribution.

Eden Reforestation Projects plants trees in some of the most impoverished areas of the world and they ensure they employ local people to do this.

The social benefits are immediate, enabling people to earn a living wage, providing employment for women as well as men and helping people to provide for their families. The saplings they plant get to work with supporting soil health, habitat, and biodiversity and as they grow over the next 10-20 years will remove and sequester CO2.

As the forest canopy is restored, leaf litter, water, and wildlife return, and nature begins to heal. Meanwhile, communities that are facing extreme poverty are given new opportunities at economic self-sufficiency, improved health, and education.

Putting the local community at the centre of their work inspires great commitment to reforestation in their country and a sense of ownership to protect their forests long-term.

Through their work, Eden have planted over 976 million trees, over 266 project sites in eleven countries and empowered over 11,500 employees with a fair living wage.

We are proud to be working on this initiative and contributing to these vital environmental and community projects. We look forward to updating you on our progress over the coming months.

To update or share your communication preferences with us, click through the link below. And remember, for every member who makes the switch from paper to email for their service communications, we will plant a tree on your behalf.

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