News December 7, 2020

Woodlands won’t wait – so neither did we!

We exceeded our own target despite the Covid-19 pandemic! With over 300,000 trees planted, that’s twice our original target.

150,000 trees for the 150th anniversary of Deutsche Bank: that was our ambitious goal. We are delighted that we managed to plant double that figure!

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For ten years, we have been revitalising large areas of forest with locally suited deciduous tree species such as red oak and red beech. What used to be monoculture coniferous forests are now heat-resistant deciduous and mixed deciduous woodland. Since 2010, over 4,500 colleagues and their families around the world picked up their shovels and joined local tree-planting initiatives.

“They have made a tangible positive impact”, says Christine Schwake from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team at Deutsche Bank. “So far, we have helped create 28 hectares of mixed woodland that generates over 30 million litres of additional drinking water each year.”

Colleagues in Birmingham, Jacksonville, Johannesburg and in the Philippines have also been volunteers in reforestation projects for many years now.

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A tree for every digital mailbox

It was already clear as early as spring that we would not only reach our goal, but comfortably surpass it. In fact, by the end of the year, we will have planted more than 300,000 trees. A major factor in this success is the Germany-wide "e-Safe" campaign, which was launched in October 2019.

Deutsche Bank promises to plant a tree for each newly activated digital mailbox (e-safe) in online banking. Instead of paper receipts, customers now receive their documents such as bank, credit card and securities account statements digitally.

In online banking, the documents are then stored permanently. More than 150,000 of our customers have already taken advantage of this service and thus made a sustainable contribution to the protection of forests.

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Covid-19 didn’t stop us planting

In this challenging year, it was never a sure thing that we would be able to carry out our tree planting activities. Indeed, as contact restrictions were imposed, many of the initiatives had to be cancelled. ”Our long-term partner Trinkwasserwald e.V., however, put in a great effort to continue planting what we had originally planned or even started with our regional teams”, says Schwake, who has been part of the project since it began.

Trinkwasserwald e.V. is an environmental protection charity that promotes sustainable forest conversion throughout Germany. Frequently, these are forests where urgent action is needed – perhaps because bark beetles have decimated the forest or because the trees have been severely afflicted by long dry periods. Local forestry authorities, forest owners and communities, collaborate to create vital forests that act like drinking water generators and help to protect the local climate.

“We are very pleased that Deutsche Bank has been successfully supporting our ecological commitment for many years now," says Alexander Pillath, Managing Director of Trinkwasserwald e.V.

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Employees give their time

As Covid protection measures were relaxed, Deutsche Bank colleagues were again able to participate in the tree planting events – albeit on a smaller scale than usual. In October, for example, teams from several branches in eastern Saxony, together with members of the forest management association and Trinkwasserwald e. V. planted 8,000 young silver firs, red oaks, sweet chestnuts and Douglas firs.

At the end of each planting day, the experts from Trinkwasserwald e.V. check that all the saplings have been planted correctly. They continue to monitor the young trees for five years, checking that their roots have taken and they are growing well. Sustainability has the highest priority in this reforestation project. It’s about creating a forest for the future.

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Plus You – Deutsche Bank’s volunteering and giving community

Our Plus You programme provides the opportunity for employees to get involved and give to causes close to their hearts. In 2019, 25 percent of our staff were engaged in volunteer projects and invested some 220,000 hours of their time in social projects.


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