For our series ‘From Factory to Trees', we interview several of our partners in the packaging chain. This time we had the pleasure to interview Sander Keulen, working as the Head of Business Development at Land Life Company.
Land Life Company is a technology-driven reforestation company that plants trees at scale, offering corporations and organizations a sustainable and transparent way to take climate action and compensate carbon emissions through nature restoration. With reforestation projects in over 25 countries, their mission is to restore the world’s 2 billion hectares of degraded land.
1. Can you tell us something about yourself and Land Life Company? How did it start
and what is your role in the company?
My name is Sander Keulen and I am the Head of Business Development at Land Life Company. Initially, Land Life Company focused on this product called “the Cocoon”, which helps trees with the development of their root system to survive in very dry areas. The Cocoon was quite innovative and it also brought us the Green Challenge Award in 2016 from the Nationale Postcodeloterij. Nevertheless, we realized that solely the sale of this product would not help us reach our targets on reforestation. That is why Land Life decided to concentrate on end-to-end reforestation projects and this is the moment I joined the company.
Since then, we offer our customers a sustainable and transparent way to compensate for their carbon emissions and restore nature through smart reforestation. We approach our projects holistically, ensuring that benefits to biodiversity and the communities local to the land we restore are taken into account. There are economic and social benefits where Land Life plants trees, as we collaborate with tree nurseries, provide employment and bring life back to land that is important to local communities.
2. Can you describe a project in which you have been involved where you are most proud of?
Actually, every project brings me pride. The moments that our customers see the impact they helped realize and hear the stories on why we chose that location for reforestation, how the local communities are doing, the local impact we create both on nature and people, is always amazing. On the other hand, the projects that bring me the most joy, in my opinion, are the projects that do not include the CO2 offset angle. For example, we are now starting a project to restore the habitat of the orangutan in Borneo, a highly endangered species. These types of projects have an incredible impact on so many levels, and it is projects like these that are truly amazing and exciting to realize.
3. Which current technology or trend do you think has the most positive impact on long-term sustainability?
I think that blockchain technology will play a very big factor in our future, with the arrival of Web 3.0. I believe this will provide consumers transparency and safety in using day-to-day technology. That said, I think many projects will be conducted based on blockchain, making it completely transparent to see what exactly happens within a certain sector or industry. Traceability, reliability and transparency will become very important. Our Customer Dashboard already offers such transparency where all our customers can view their contribution(s) to reforestation, track the trees and share their impact with their stakeholders.
4. How do you think the world will look like 10 years from now when it comes to sustainability? And how do you hope it will look like?
I’m afraid it won’t be much better than today. I do think that the level of reforestation will increase and that we as a company continue to grow. I just hope that 20 more companies like Land Life Company will be added during that time and that all of them will reach the scale we are now reaching (in various areas of course). The CO2 problem will not go away any time soon, and the fossil fuel industry will still continue to exist, as the demand for oil is simply too great. Nevertheless, I hope that by then we will have discovered new kinds of clean energy as an alternative energy source, such as cold fusion or producing hydrogen efficiently and at scale. We won’t make it with solar and wind energy alone, there simply aren’t enough materials and areas to cover everything and make it efficient. So, to summarize, I think we will still have the same problem and that the situation is getting more dire as we increasingly experience what climate change is doing for our world.
5. Do you have any interesting book, article, or movie recommendations related to this subject?
The hidden life of trees is a good read. It’s a book on trees and how they communicate with each other. The book was filmed and the movie came out In August 2021.