At Close Brothers Asset Finance, we actively promote a culture of volunteering and take a flexible approach to allow our people to contribute to the communities in which they both live and work, and it’s something we’re very proud of and like to celebrate.
In the latest instalment in our focus on our employees’ voluntary activities, we speak with Anton Nebbe, Head of PR & Communications, about his work with JUST ONE Tree (JOT).
Tell me about who you volunteer for and what its aims are…
JUST ONE Tree is a non-profit organisation providing a platform for individuals, schools and businesses to collectively combat climate change. We work to restore and protect the planet through reforestation both on land and in the oceans, while helping to bring environmental education to the next generations.
For every £1 donated, a tree is planted. Businesses can partner with JOT to increase their corporate social responsibility and compensate for their carbon emissions by planting trees. For example, some firms donate £1 for every inquiry they receive, or every sale they make.
What do they do with schools – how can parents and children get involved?
For the past two years JOT has held JUST ONE Tree Days at hundreds of schools across the UK and beyond (2021: Friday 15 October in England, and Friday 1 October in Scotland). This international non-uniform day encourages children to bring in £1 to plant a tree and help reforest the planet. Over 150,000 children from eight countries have taken part since launching the first JUST ONE Tree Day.
The day highlights to children and young people how their individual actions can make a difference in the fight against climate change and the biodiversity crises. It is open to both primary and secondary schools – they can sign up at the justonetree.life website.
Schools taking part can access lesson resources that fit in with the national curriculum. As part of their fundraising activities, children learn about photosynthesis, the benefits of trees for both people and wildlife and the vital role they play in reducing the impacts of climate change.
I’d strongly encourage any parents to let their children’s school know about JOT Day – the more participating, the better.
What do you do for them – what’s your role?
I help and advise on all matters PR, including writing press releases.
Why did you decide to join – what appealed to you?
I’ve always thought it important to volunteer, and working with JOT gives me the opportunity to combine my skills and my passion for the environment.
I’m personally very, very concerned about biodiversity loss, in particular – if we look around us, we can see it almost happen in real time. I could either have sat back and let it happen with a shrug of the shoulders or work directly with people who are actively trying to do something for the betterment of everyone – and everything.
What do you, personally, get out of it?
I get a huge sense of satisfaction from working with like-minded people who are genuinely trying to make a difference.
The people at JOT are really inspirational – founder, Amanda Bronkhorst - is an example of someone who made a choice to do something positive and put it into action.
Do you think it’s important to give back to the communities in which we live?
I do – I started an amateur boxing club (Creekside) about eight years ago after the previous club closed. It was a big step but it’s been incredibly rewarding, with everyone involved in the club very well recognised for our efforts by the local community.
Some of our boxers have won England vests and others are Southern Area champions in their weight divisions – for a small club we really punch above our weight, so to speak…
What example does volunteering give to others – what message does it send?
I can only speak for myself, but my view is it sends a message that community – both local and beyond – really matters. If we all ‘donate’ just some of our time, we can make a disproportionate difference.
What are some of the projects JUST ONE Tree has been involved in?
The money raised is used to plant the ‘right trees in the right place’ and supports reforestation projects in Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines and Zambia, including mangroves and kelp forests.
For full details, including videos: https://www.justonetree.life/where-we-plant.html
If you'd like to find out more about JUST ONE Tree: