Card building montage
Nik Roberts
Nik Roberts
18th Dec 2019

Being Good is for life, not just for Christmas

This year we wanted to do something fun at Christmas to show that we care deeply about these issues. Every year since 2009 we've sent out a Versantus Christmas card to those lucky boys and girls on our favourites list. Sending cards is a declining trend, but we like the feel of a physical card, it allows us to show off our design chops, and it's a great way to bring the team together in a marathon and RSI-inducing mass-signature-writing session.

In October we asked ourselves the question: how can we continue with our festive fun but be more mindful of the environmental impact? How do we reduce the carbon footprint of our cards?

After a lot of discussion, in the end the solution presented itself just in time. After a Parkrun in mid-November, I met a member of the wonderful Oxtrees campaign promoting a tree-planting exercise in North Oxford. With our recent work on the deforestation project it felt like something the team would love to help with. 

Mary planting The Versantus team planting trees Nick, pretending to dig Rose trying to look warm

And love it we did! On a very cold and damp Saturday in early December some of our team and their families joined forces with residents of North Oxford to plant over 500 trees. It was great fun and felt hugely positive. 

Then the Big Idea idea came. "Why just plant trees ourselves", we thought. "Why not encourage all of our thoughtful and caring clients to also plant their own?". Let's send each customer a Christmas tree for Christmas.

Why not encourage all of our thoughtful and caring clients to plant their own tree?

We realised that the carbon cost of shipping fully grown trees might be a bit high, so we decided to instead send them a tree planting kit: seeds and instructions craftily packaged in a beautiful origami Christmas card. Very zen, very eco, Very good.

Our head of design, Sam, designed and prototyped the card, including a hand-made seed-holding envelope that formed the branches and leaves of the tree. Version one was amazing, and then his daughter suggested he add a star to the top, and that was it - perfection!

The cards are hand-folded by our team using recycled card printed with plant-based inks. Each card contains three seeds (share with your friends!), and instructions for planting, and with a little love and some time, they will grow into a Norway Spruce tree (Pice abies). 

We loved the process of thinking, deciding, and creating these cards, and I think they look amazing. What do you think? Are they good?

Plantable Christmas card front Plantable Christmas card - instructions and love Plantable Christmas card - origami seed pocket Plantable Christmas card - open me!

As well as planting some trees and some ideas, we also made a small donation to the Oxtrees campaign from Friends of the Earth. Their aim is to double the tree coverage in our home county of Oxfordshire. If you'd like to help them, you can easily donate online. Be good. No, screw it - it's Christmas - be GREAT.

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