In an age where human impact on the planet has reached unprecedented levels, we stopped to ask ourselves: what role can we play in helping to minimize our impact, and make a positive change?
In past years, we've been proud to welcome hundreds of students to Amsterdam each summer for our programmes. But in a time as wrought with ecological questions as the present, we’ve been evaluating our own environmental impact: students travel from across the world to study in Amsterdam, increasing their (and our combined) carbon footprint. We believe that the programmes we offer positively change the lives of those who participate. We also believe in a ripple effect: that knowledge learned in Amsterdam spreads around the world, enriching academic and social conversations, wherever our students call home.
In sprintg 2020, we planted two forests of trees in sustainable forestry projects in the Netherlands and Uganda. To make this happen, we worked with Trees For All, a Dutch not-for-profit organisation dedicated to sustainable forestry, planting 2000 trees for our community of students, staff, and partners.
We wanted to supplement our global education reach with a new initiative: to co-create a lasting, living environment with our community. While there’s no doubt education has a positive impact, we are also ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work, and to fund projects that are of global, societal importance.
Why plant trees? Why not invest in carbon credits? While carbon credits are indeed an excellent way to achieve a guaranteed offset for carbon emissions through certified sustainable projects, we chose to work with Trees for All to plant sustainably managed forests both in the Netherlands and abroad in socially responsible projects that positively impact Earth, and empower people to make positive changes to the landscape and environment.
While the amount of CO2 that a tree will process in its life is dependent on many variables (location, health, age, size, ecosystem, etc.) planting trees is an excellent way to make a positive lasting change on the landscape. Further, the symbolic aspect of tree planting matches well with our own story: knowledge has deep reaching effects, and must be tended to. Trees and knowledge have been twinned for aeons, and we want to support this instantly recognisable association to have a lasting impact we can point to all together.