COO lifts the lid on Ando's new 'giving back' initiative | Insurance Business New Zealand
Ando Insurance Group – which has developed its own emissions reduction plan and is one of the newest signatories to the Climate Leaders Coalition – is leveraging its industry position to support the country-wide Trees That Count initiative via the underwriting agency’s freshly launched “Trees for Transport” undertaking.
An online community marketplace, Trees That Count is managed by environmental charity Project Crimson Trust and connects native tree planters with funded or gifted trees across New Zealand. Trees for Transport is Ando’s way to take part in this Kiwi movement.
Speaking with Insurance Business, Ando chief operating officer Thérèse Singleton (pictured) noted: “The concept is that for $10, you can contribute to a fund that will help to plant a native tree, and Ando is contributing at least $10,000 a year. Within our website, and on the website for Trees That Count, you can go in and contribute $10 to buy your own native tree as well.
“So, the idea is that ultimately Ando is going to be sponsoring staff planting events, and we’re looking to try and get more and more of our brokers and more of our key partners interested in getting involved in Trees for Transport… We’re hoping to expand this to as many of our business partners as possible, who are happy to come onboard. It’s also getting our staff behind the initiative.
Trees for Transport, which was set up this year, has so far funded more than 2,500 native trees.
“Part of it is around tree planting projects throughout the year and committing to our staff’s involvement in that,” added Singleton, “but the broader issue is around really trying to use our network of partners and our position in the market as an insurance company to get as many people as possible accessing the initiative.”
According to the Trees That Count homepage, the wider undertaking has supported over 1,000 planting projects, with individuals and businesses alike funding and gifting more than 1.2 million of Aotearoa’s special native trees.
For Singleton, the underwriting agency’s participation is broadly about doing the right thing.
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“There’s a very, very strong desire from the team at Ando to do something towards assisting with the climate change agenda,” she told Insurance Business. “There was a lot of consideration put into, ‘What is the most appropriate thing and how can we contribute?’ We have a lot of other factors we’re looking at, including our own carbon footprint.
“But being an insurance company, the opportunity to make a huge difference doesn’t really exist because of the nature of our business. We’re obviously looking at tightening up all of our carbon footprint and being a good citizen in that regard, but as a business we felt we needed and wanted to do more than that, which is where the [Trees for Transport] initiative came from.”
The COO went on to highlight: “What we have tried to do is to contribute back to the environment, because 47% of the CO2 emissions come from the transport sector. And, as an insurance company, we do contribute to that because we insure a lot of private and commercial vehicles. So, the concept arose from our staff on our own desire to really want to give back and to start contributing towards the climate change initiatives that are underway and need to be underway in New Zealand.”
In Singleton’s view, Trees for Transport is an exciting and “ultimately a really good initiative for New Zealand” that she is hoping everybody can get onboard to support.