Paavo Pettai, Creative Director of Havas Estonia, chats about an ambitious initiative for petrol company Alexela, which promises to plant a tree for every person in the country through a clever customer programme.
With a goal of planting 1.3 million trees by 2025, the programme engages Alexela’s customer base and pushes forward the client’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
Here Paavo explains the creative behind the campaign and how the initiative aligns with Havas Group’s own drive to make a meaningful difference.
What was the concept behind this campaign and its development?
Like many companies, our client Alexela has been making an effort to use their power and platform to make a difference to people. They have established a number of initiatives that support people on a local level in Estonia. For instance they have previously paired up with the Estonian Basketball Federation to build outdoor basketball courts for communities across the country, and they’ve been involved in initiatives which support children with special needs, to name just a few. However, they had never rolled out a sustainability initiative on a national scale before.
They had the vision and the drive to make a meaningful difference on a mass scale, and we were tasked to help them do that. It is their goal to neutralise their carbon footprint by 2030. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the idea for this campaign first came from, but we knew we wanted to do something that would unite Alexela’s whole customer base across the country. The client was very interested in compensating for their carbon footprint, and so we had the idea to set a goal; to plant a tree for every single person in Estonia! We are a small nation of just 1.3 million people but it is a starting point.
The initiative is run through a customer programme. How does it work?
Alexela customers sign up to the programme online and every time they fill up on fuel, €0.01 of each litre of petrol is donated to planting a tree. Each tree costs €0.25 so, if you’re using the programme every time you fill up, you’ll plant a lot of trees!
To fulfil the client’s promise, we have teamed up with the Private Forest Owners Union in Estonia who are partnering with us on this project. It’s cool because through the customer programme, people can choose which county in Estonia they would like to plant their trees! We are envisioning this as a five-year project. We think we will reach 1.3 million much faster than that, but if we do, we can have an even greater impact which is wonderful.
What has the reaction to the campaign been like?
The reaction has been very positive. I think this campaign appeals to people who are conscious of their own carbon footprint too. It’s a win/win for everyone. A company like Alexela is tackling their carbon footprint and so is an individual by utilising the programme.
Within our population there are people who are very passionate about sustainability and also people who don’t care at all! Most people want to make a difference but find big steps intimidating. If something is easy, people will do it! This is easy! For instance, I’ve been a member for 240 days and I’ve saved 74 trees so far.
Why is it important for brands to roll out initiatives and campaigns like this one?
The way I see it, this train is going just in one direction. People are much more aware of a business’ genuine interest in sustainability. I think it’s really important to make the personal connection with people and give them the power and a part in that progress. Very often we think as individuals we can’t make a difference, but we can! This is an example of that.