THIS IS A GREAT STORY I FOUND TODAY ON GUARDIAN.COM. THEY PLANT ONE TREE PER CUSTOMER EACH FULL MONTH - THAT'S 12 TREES PER YEAR IN YOUR NAME (so to speak) FOR THE LIFETIME OF YOUR SERVICE WITH THEM (no lock in contracts). PRETTY GREAT FOR A TELCO COMPANY AYE? THEIR NAME IS FELIX. I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE, SO I'M PASSING ON THIS EXCITING NEWS.
I ALSO KNOW A WEB BROWSER COMPANY WHO DO SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR (internationally) I WILL WRITE ABOUT SOON. WE NEED A LOT MORE TREES IN OUR COUNTRY AND HAVE FOR SOMETIME. LET'S HEAR FELIX STORY.
Being sustainable is a choice, and it’s one that every brand should be making. Every day, we’re flooded with ideas about how to be more sustainable. We know to turn off the lights, unplug appliances at the wall and reuse our shopping bags. But what about the brands we support? What are they doing to amplify our good choices?
There’s a shift away from letting individuals take responsibility for climate change. More of us than ever are aware of the impact of fossil fuels, unethical behaviour and damaging supply chains. As a result, almost 80% of us believe companies and brands should be responsible for their impact on the environment, and that retailers should have sustainable practices in place.
Sustainability can be a learning experience for brands
When Paul Tierney and his team had the idea for felix mobile, they weren’t sustainability experts. But they knew the environmental impact caused by telecommunications companies.
“The biggest portion of our emissions as a business is generated by electricity to power mobile phone towers,” says Tierney, general manager of business development at felix. Without widespread greener options - for example, the solar-powered towers seen in other countries - felix looked for alternatives. “None of us had much of a background in carbon neutrality or renewable energy, so that was a learning curve for us.”
Felix started by defining its vision as a new telco brand. Creating a sustainable brand right from the start was a non-negotiable. Offsetting carbon use was a good starting point, but Tierney knew it could do more.
“We went through a comprehensive process to calculate our footprint and build up a picture of the quantifiable impact of running this business. A lot of our time was spent thinking about how we could do this in a better way. How can we offset our emissions in the best possible way? We realised we needed to create something else and drive a net positive benefit.”
The answer was trees. Felix customers are helping to grow a forest: every month, felix plants one tree per subscriber through One Tree Planted reforestation projects. And if you sign up for a subscription, your new SIM card comes with a packet of seeds, so you can cultivate your own patch of greenery.
From its start as a sustainability beginner, felix is now Australia’s first telco brand powered by 100% renewable electricity.
Being sustainable doesn’t mean compromising customer experience.
Tierney says one of the misconceptions companies have is that focusing on sustainability means compromising other parts of the business.
“It’s no longer true that a sustainable choice should be seen as requiring a trade-off elsewhere. A sustainable choice, in fact, can deliver a much better customer experience than some customers have today.”
Felix was determined to match its commitment to sustainability with a really good customer experience and exceptional customer service. Helping customers to feel empowered because they’re doing something positive was a bonus. The brand keeps its base up to date on all the green activities going on behind the scenes - as part of their plan, customers receive periodic updates on the tree planting projects and the real-world impact their subscriptions are having.
In reality, being part of a sustainable brand is customer experience. Climate action is important to us. We want to choose the green option. We want to know that by joining a sustainable customer base, we’re making a bigger difference than we would on our own.
Brands must take responsibility for greener futures.
Only 20% of our carbon impact is direct, from actions such as driving our cars or using our air conditioners. The majority comes from the production of products and services we use. By reviewing these we can have a significant impact. Where our food comes from is important, as is the way banks invest our savings and how our service providers power their businesses.
We can’t make those changes ourselves. What we can do is support companies whose values align with our own. Consumers want transparency, accountability and optimism about the future.
“These are complex areas,” Tierney says. “To combat that, it is important to be transparent and say, here’s the impact we’re having, here’s what we’re doing about it, and here’s the proof. It’s really embedding it in all the decision making and culture.”
He hopes felix can inspire other brands to recognise the push from consumers to be greener. In Tierney’s mind, considering climate impact should be a non-negotiable - for the planet and for long-term business success. “If another company can look at what we do and be driven to make sustainability more of a focus,” he says, “that is a really positive thing.”
Switch to felix mobile for just $35 / month - the plan with a bigger plan.
THE CLIMATE LEADERSHIP THAT INSPIRES ME
By Tim Christophersen
For proving that everyone can be a climate leader.
In January 2007, when Finkbeiner was nine years old and in fourth grade, he gave a class presentation on the climate crisis in which he suggested to classmates that children should plant one million trees in each country of the world. Together with many of his classmates, Felix planted a tree on 28 March 2007 and launched Plant-for-the-Planet. After three years, the initiative planted its millionth tree. A decade later, Plant-for-the-Plant employs 130 people internationally and has trained more than 81,000 children and youth in 73 countries.
The organization currently restores 22,500 hectares of forest on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico by planting on average one tree every 15 seconds. Plant-for-the-Planet leads the UN Billion Tree Campaign, as part of which 13.6 billion trees have been planted to date.
It would be too glib to say it has been easy, or that without Felix’s personal drive and charisma, or without the support of his school and his family it would have been as successful but this is the climate leadership that inspires me because it should powerfully inspire everyone with what we are capable of, without much more than purpose, ambition and commitment to action.
Felix Finkbeiner is a German environmentalist and the founder of the international tree-planting and environmental advocacy organization Plant-for-the-Planet - led by children and youth. He is speaking at the global landscapes forum event, the Online Forum for The Decade of Ecosystem Restoration in New York this week as part of the United Nations Climate Week 2019.
Tim Christophersen is the Head of Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch at UN Environment.
I Must Say, This Young Man Inspires Me Too!