Following our purpose to get involved and do more for our community, we're kicking off a new series in which we'll amplify and give more visibility to projects, organizations, and companies that are trying to do things differently, in a better way, innovating to break the cycle and making the world more sustainable and equitable.
Our current economic system combined with our production and consumption habits have a detrimental effect on the environment. Among other causes, these have contributed to a rise in temperature in a way we have never experienced before. Experts argue we are currently on a path that will lead us past the 1,5°C degree tipping point.
The consequences of reaching this point will be devastating for the planet and its inhabitants: rising water levels, dramatic biodiversity loss, and extreme weather conditions. Ultimately this will result in a planet that becomes uninhabitable for future generations. This is a problem that will affect all of us, regardless of our particular location or nationality. It's time for action.
For our very first issue of Gamechangers, we'd love to introduce you to Regreener. An organization that's facilitating climate action and making contributions more traceable and transparent than ever before. Keep reading to learn more about the project and how you can get involved!
This Dutch company was born in 2021 and its name honors its mission. Regreener focuses on taking action against climate change by planting trees, protecting rainforests, and funding the world's best carbon compensating solutions.
They trust the scientific evidence and believe that simply complaining about the current state of affairs, or turning a blind eye is not the way forward. The way forward is to be realistic and optimistic, because we are still in time to turn the situation around. We need to work hard and make sure we work together – compensating carbon emissions tree by tree, project by project.
Regreener helps restore ecosystems in an impactful and transparent way by offering individuals, families and businesses the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions (for as little as around €1,60 per week) and to keep track of their net green impact through an extremely user-friendly interface.
What's more, they are fully transparent about their financials and publicly declare where contributions are actually going, something that's definitely a pain point for similar projects and organizations.
We sat down with Job, one of the founders of Regreener, to find out more about the idea behind the project, their motivations, and their outlook for the future.
Get to know them
Zillennial Mag: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to discuss a project as interesting as Regreener. Doing a little digging we found out you were a lawyer before founding the company. What made you put a stop to that career path and move into sustainability? Was there a tipping point?
Job: Indeed, I worked for a British law firm for three and a half years. During my time there I focused mainly on mergers and acquisitions. The longer I did that, the more I realized that drafting contracts and negotiating legal terms was not how I wanted to spend my time. I began to take an increasing interest in reforestation and nature restoration. It is difficult to pinpoint the definitive turning point, I think it was more of a long process.
ZMag: We can definitely relate, we started Zillennial Mag for similar reasons as we felt like there was a need to do more for the planet and our environment. How did you come up with the idea, and what made you believe it could succeed?
Job: Bernard (my co-founder) and I realized a few things when looking at existing tree planting programs. First of all, most of the companies offering tree planting or other forms of carbon compensation were just focusing on large, very polluting companies. Next to that, we noticed a major lack of transparency. Last but not least, a lot of the companies were offering complicated processes in order for companies to realize green impact. We believed (and still believe) that we could create the biggest impact by making sure Regreener offers all of its users (individuals and businesses alike) the opportunity to fight climate change in an easy, transparent and positive way.
ZMag: Why do you think no one has created a company like this before?
Job: There are a lot of companies out there that offer the opportunity to do something in the fight against climate change. We offer green impact in a lot of different ways so we have different competitors for every business line we have. I think the big difference between Regreener and the other providers of green impact solutions is that we are super transparent. Every month, we publish our financials and all evidence of the realized impact. That way, we create a paper trail so that our users can keep track of what happens with their money. Our business model is fully transparent.
ZMag: If there is something Zillennials definitely value is transparency, traceability, and accountability. Those are the main factors that pushed us to reach out to you. You're definitely changing the game. And since you're creating a long-lasting impact beyond individuals and communities, we could imagine the government would be interested in taking part in a project like yours. Are you receiving any financial support from the government or other public organizations?
Job: Regreener is not an NGO but a sustainable commercial company. We have raised funding from several angel investors but we do not receive any support from the government or any other public organizations.
ZMag: Climate change is a huge problem. We can imagine the Regreener team deals with challenging and discouraging news on a daily basis. How do you manage to keep everyone focused without getting overwhelmed? This is one of the things we struggle with and would love to hear how you’re dealing with it!
Job: Unfortunately, it’s a fact that you are inundated with negative messages when you are engaged in fighting climate change. It can be very overwhelming. What especially frustrates me personally is that lots of companies are still fully focused on profit maximization. We also encounter a lot of people that simply do not care. We try to deal with the situation by approaching it in a very positive way. For example, we focus on the green impact we have realized rather than on the problem of climate change itself. We share positive climate news stories with our community. I personally believe that this is a good way to deal with all the negativities.
ZMag: One of your biggest initiatives is reducing carbon emissions through reforestation. Since you don't own the land that the trees are planted on, how can you ensure that it is not deforested again? (Is it ensured that local communities will not cut down the trees again in the future? For instance, if there’s a change in local government, etc)
Job: For our tree planting projects we have partnered up only with reputable tree planting organizations. Our partners map the reforestation and conservation areas. These maps are recorded in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database. Due to natural environmental conditions, there is never a 100% guarantee that the trees will survive, as we have no influence on certain natural disasters, but we look at the risks and develop a risk mitigation plan for each project. However, Regreener’s focus is not just on planting trees, it is on growing forests: what matters is long-term survival.
ZMag: When deep-diving into your website it's easy to notice that reforestation is not your only approach to offsetting carbon emissions and fighting climate change. How do you find and select the communities, organizations, and projects you partner with?
Job: At the moment, we support tree planting, rainforest protection, and green energy projects. Later this year, we will add new projects to our portfolio. Lots of project developers reach out to us. When selecting projects, we look at four criteria:
CO2 capture. To us, it is very important that the projects we support remove CO2 from the air or prevent CO2 from being emitted.
Impact on biodiversity. We don’t simply look at CO2. For example, planting a million trees means nothing if it’s done the wrong way. What really matters to us is the overall impact of a project on nature.
Social impact. We always look at the impact a project has on local communities. Our tree planting and rainforest protecting projects have a heavy focus on the local communities.
Information supply. We don’t just want to achieve green impact, we also want to be able to tell our users what they have done. Therefore, it is essential that Regreener receives enough information on the projects we support and is able to supply that transparency back to its users.
ZMag: It's refreshing to see that your partnership criteria not only embody the company values but also take into account the preservation of the surrounding environment including social communities. No wonder your team has made incredible progress in just one year. What’s next for Regreener?
Job: Thanks! We are currently working on a full rebranding and a new website. Other than that, we are diversifying our portfolio in order to maximize our impact. We expect to hit 500,000 trees planted within the next six months!
ZMag: If you could request one thing that every person should do, what would it be?
Job: Be aware of the choices you make. No one is perfect, but it would be great if we could all start thinking about the bigger picture a bit more. Although inside Regreener we often focus on the positive, it is important to mention that we are really heading in the wrong direction unless we take action. We all need to take a few steps in the right direction, and then we will be well on our way.
ZMag: Thanks so much for your time Job! It was lovely to hear more about such an innovative solution. We wish you and your whole team nothing but success.
As you've just read, getting involved to offset your carbon emissions has never been easier, more transparent, or more affordable. It's time for all of us to take action. Head out to the Regreener website to find out about their individual or family plans. And why not, share the project within your company as an alternative to offset emissions at scale.