In September, Points donated and planted over 100 trees on Ward’s Island, in association with LiveGreen Toronto, an ongoing initiative to restore the canopy and make Toronto a greener, more sustainable, happier place to live for humans and animals alike.
If you were standing in our lobby around noon last Thursday, you may have been surprised to see a swarm of Pointsters piling out of the elevators and into the subway.
This wasn’t a strike or a mutiny. This was a mass walk-out with a purpose. This was a Points for Good outing with one mission: to make Toronto a slightly greener, nicer place to live. That afternoon, nearly two dozen volunteers from Points rolled up their sleeves and dirtied their knees planting trees with LiveGreen Toronto.
So, we sat down with Mihnea Galeteanu, Senior Product Managerand member of our internal corporate social responsibility committee, Points for Good, to find out how they all managed to get the afternoon off.
Points isn’t moving into urban landscaping then?
Thankfully, no! Our headquarters is in Toronto but Points is a very international company. We have employees and partners around the globe – and of course, have to visit them regularly. Recently one of our eco-conscious Pointsters worked out that as a company we fly over 2.5 million miles a year.
That’s a serious amount of mileage…
It’s enough miles to fly you to the moon and back about 10 times…and each of those miles puts a little more CO2 into the environment. We believe, as individuals and as a company, in improving our environment inside and outside the office. As a company, we try we to do whatever we can to mitigate our impact on our environment.
And how can you mitigate that kind of impact?
The Points for Good team got in contact with LiveGreen Toronto, a City of Toronto environmental program, and asked them how we could begin offsetting these emissions. They suggested that we start by planting some trees. LiveGreen Toronto set everything up for us, we just had to donate the trees and our time and we were good to go!
Once everything had been arranged, we rounded up everyone who had volunteered and made our way over to Ward’s Island, to spend the afternoon planting somewhere between 100-200 trees.
Is tree-planting a regular activity at Points?
This is the first time we’ve had an event like this, but it won’t be the last. It was just another initiative by our Points for Good program. Over the years we’ve donated our efforts to several Habitat for Humanity builds, the Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation, Hour of Code, Gift the Code hackathons, and Second Kicks.
Whether it’s a full day of volunteering or a quick fundraiser around the Friday Refreshments Cart, it’s always a nice surprise to see how many Pointsters are up for helping out a good cause. For example, after the recent earthquake in Mexico (where we have a satellite office), we were able to raise $4,600 to donate to Brigada de Rescate Topos, by collecting funds on our Friday beverage and snack cart run.
How did Points for Good come about?
It actually came about pretty naturally. Points has always been very welcoming of charitable ideas, and many of the teams would organize events unofficially with other colleagues.
Once management noticed that Pointsters were organizing various charity events by themselves, they put aside an annual budget and a committee to manage it – Points for Good was born!
Points for Good also gives employees time-off for volunteering for causes they care about the most. Whatever it is, if you can get a couple of colleagues together, then you can get the whole of Points behind you, and you’ll be surprised at how many people that can be. Everyone has their own passion or good cause that they care about. Points for Good allows you to put your good cause on a platform and get your friends and colleagues to get involved with you.
When it comes to charity, we could simply allot a budget for corporate ‘good causes’ and just donate a lump sum to a charity once a year.
But where’s the fun in that?
Exactly. We do donate lump sums annually but Points for Good is a way for our team to get involved on a personal level too. Points for Good came about because of our individual desires to better the world. That’s what makes it so special: if you have a cause that you care about, the whole company will get behind you to support it. Plus, it’s great fun too!
It’s their passion and their compassion that makes the Points team so awesome. Want to know more about joining us? Click here to see our Careers page.