Aviva’s Commitment to Sustainability Helps to Protect Nature

01 Feb 2023

The Nature Trust was thrilled to be approached by the staff team at Aviva Canada with an offer to assist with property stewardship last spring, and we look forward to working with them again as we prepare for another busy field season.

Aviva, a leading property and casualty insurance group and a subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, has made a very down-to-earth and locally focused commitment to creating positive impact for nature, dedicating funds and an investment in their employees to support local charitable organizations with a focus on the environment. Aviva is providing funding for exciting projects such as the installation of public electric vehicle charging stations in underserved communities across Canada, and they have also set a goal to provide at least 50,000 hours of volunteer support for charitable organizations between 2021 and 2025.

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant for Aviva says “It’s so important for us to provide time for our staff to learn and connect with local organizations who are working to protect against biodiversity loss and climate change. It’s a way to teach more people about the climate crisis, and the things we can do to take action on a personal level.”

Each year, Aviva provides three paid days off for their employees to volunteer. One of their initiatives is to coordinate a nation-wide “Aviva Climate Day” in June, mobilizing staff to participate in local activities such as planting trees, cleaning up green spaces, or helping to support conservation actions in their communities – which is how they found the Nature Trust.

“We were already aware of the Nature Trust’s important work to protect against biodiversity loss and climate change in Nova Scotia. We knew right away that this would be a great fit for us, and the Nature Trust staff were quickly able to find a volunteer opportunity for our team that really had an immediate impact”, says Melanie Furlong, Healthcare Claims Advisor for Aviva Canada in Dartmouth.

This is truly a mutually beneficial model. A team of 12 local Aviva employees were given paid time off to provide us with the hands-on labour that we needed for a significant stewardship project. Over the course of an entire day, the group removed a dilapidated structure, cleared trails and collected bags and bags of garbage from an ecologically sensitive property. It was hard labour on a hot day, and we are so appreciative for their help.

“Each season, we have a number of challenging stewardship issues to address on conservation lands. Sometimes it involves heavy equipment, difficult terrain, or it may be heavy, dirty work to restore or protect habitat—or all of the above” says Jessica Ferguson, our stewardship coordinator. “Having a dedicated team of volunteers available for a day to assist with these projects is a huge help for us.”

Lana explains “These opportunities are valuable because they really connect our employees to a major strategic objective for Aviva. Staff get a change of scenery from their day-to-day job, and by working together to give back to their community through volunteer support, it strengthens relationships and makes them feel good too. It breathes life into a corporate ambition to protect the planet. Additionally, the business realities of this post-pandemic era mean that many employees continue to work in a hybrid environment making team-building more challenging. By providing group volunteer activities, our people are provided with an opportunity to learn more about the environment and sustainability, but it’s also a great way to bring people together, which is a rare occurrence now.”

When asked for her advice for other companies, Lana says “I definitely think that more companies should make this investment for their people.  It’s a meaningful way to engage and inspire your employees, while making a tangible contribution towards fighting the climate crisis.”

We couldn’t agree more. We are so thankful for the volunteer support of the Aviva Canada team, and their corporate commitment to addressing both climate change and employee engagement through their volunteer program.

If you would like more information about corporate volunteer opportunities with the Nature Trust, please contact Christina Nunn at volunteer@nsnt.ca .

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