I have always had a passion for the forest. When I was a child, my father used to take me to the woods and teach me the mysteries of each species. Quercus robur, Fagus silvatica, Acer platanoides or Buxus sempervivens were some of the trees and bushes you could find around our house.
Trees are brilliant organisms. They can do so many things most of us don’t know. Trees talk, share their resources and help each other out. They are a family, although not all trees are friends. They even have their own, fungus-based Internet, allowing them to share valuable information among peers. Trees are an unlikely source of inspiration.
When I thought of a name for my agency, Quercus – meaning “oak” in Latin – immediately came to my mind. Not only is the oak tree a magnificent species, but it’s also a great metaphor for a small idea developing into a huge project; a reminder of my childhood as one of the first botanical names I learned; and an allusion to my passion for whisky, which is almost exclusively matured in oak casks.
However, I wanted to go further than a tree as the company name and a greenish logo. No matter how small your company is, you can make an impact! And it’s vital you do so.
Here is what Quercus has been doing since day 1 to make our work a bit better, a bit greener, and also a bit more fun:
Donating 1% of our turnover to nature
Our pledge is simple: “1% for the Forest”. But what does it mean precisely? It means giving something back, as a business, to nature. Moreover, not giving back to nature anywhere but to our local environment. Meaning, in our case, reinvesting at least 1% of our turnover into environmental projects aiming to protect the French forest.
We started by partnering with EcoTree in 2020 and 2021, before becoming a member of 1% for the Planet in 2022. So far, we have funded the sustainable management of 125 trees of various species all over France, as well as the rehabilitation of 1,500 sqm of wetland. We have also donated part of our turnover to a selection of French NGOs, including Canopée, LPO Alsace and Robin du Bois. Each year, we’ll choose new projects, always looking for a direct, local impact. And if we can, we’ll give more than 1%.
Reducing the impact of this website
Hosting this website could be one of our main sources of carbon emissions. This is why we chose Infomaniak as our web hosting provider. Infomaniak supplies its servers with 100% renewable energy, builds green data centres without air conditioning and offsets all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 200%. We pollute. But with Infomaniak’s help, we do our best to reduce our impact.
Using Ecosia as our default search engine
Every email we send or receive, every article we read, every file we up- or download carries its footprint. So does every search query. Searching the web is part of our daily work. But we try to do it in the most sustainable way. Using Ecosia as our default search engine allows us to fund tree planting while doing our work. In a decade, they have planted over 118 million trees worldwide thanks to the search queries of their users.
Staying focused thanks to Forest
This might sound funny but the benefits are real. I have been using the Forest app on my phone for years and still love it. Their claim says it all: “Forest is an app that helps you stay focused on the important things in life. Whenever you want to stay focused, plant a tree.” Easy: Open the app. Choose a flower or tree you would like to grow. Set the timer (between 10 minutes and 2 hours). Close the app. Don’t look at your phone anymore. If you leave the app halfway, your plant will die. And trust me, you will be sad to see some dead branches in your virtual forest.
The more time you stay focused using the app, the more trees you grow, the more points you get, and the more species you unlock. Over the last 5 years, I have grown hundreds of trees in my virtual forest, and also planted a real tree using my rewards. Over a million genuine trees have already been planted by Forest users. If you want to try staying focused thanks to the app, here are the links you need: App Store / Google Play Store. Good luck growing your forest!
None of these initiatives has had any negative impact on our work efficiency, our reputation or our financial results. They have actually made our daily work better, greener, and more motivating… Above all, they have strengthened my belief that even a very small business can make a huge difference!