10 Questions with Job van Hooijdonk – co-founder of Regreener
Job van Hooijdonk used to be a corporate lawyer until he decided to switch gears and focus on the environment. He is now the co-founder of Regreener, a platform for carbon compensation and investments in a greener future.
1. Thank you for sharing your story with us Job. You had an interesting career shift, tell us what motivated you to switch from being a corporate lawyer to entering the environmental field.
Before founding Regreener, I worked as an M&A and Banking & Finance lawyer for 3,5 years. During my time as a lawyer, I saw a lot of businesses and finance structures. This taught me a lot about the world behind corporates. It was a good place to start my career, but as the time went by, I started to realize that this was not how I wanted to spend my time. It felt like I was wasting my time constantly working on M&A documentation. The motivation for my job disappeared, and I realized that I wanted to do something more meaningful to me, and that I really wanted to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.
2. Your company Regreener is focused on compensating carbon footprints by planting trees, protecting rainforests, and supporting certified green energy projects. What was the inspiration to make this into a business?
During my search for a new (and preferably green) adventure, I came across multiple companies offering carbon compensation. There were two things I realized immediately. First of all, carbon compensation was mainly focused on big multinationals, usually corporates with a massive footprint. That is something I really wanted to change. I think there are lots of smaller companies that are absolutely willing to do their part in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, I realized that the market for carbon compensation was anything but transparent. After discussing this with Bernard de Wit, whom I met during my studies in Leiden, we decided to start a company offering carbon compensation to individuals, families and companies (regardless the size thereof).
3. Tell us more about the company, how does one get involved?
Users can choose a subscription package on our website, after which we will start compensating their footprint. We do this by planting trees together with our tree planting partner. At the moment, we plant trees on behalf of our users in Kenya and Mozambique. Furthermore, we protect tropical rainforest in Ecuador, in the western part of the Amazon. Last but not least, we support certified green energy and renewables projects, e.g. wind and solar energy.
4. What makes your company unique compared to other carbon compensation companies?
Two things: our approach and our transparency.
First of all, in B2B we mainly focus on carbon compensation as a staff benefit. We believe that, in the near future, employers will compensate the (personal and business) lives of their employees as a staff benefit.
We try to be as transparent as possible in showing what our customers pay for. For example, everyone who joins Regreener (whether you are an individual, a family or a business) gets a digital profile on our website. On this profile, Regreeners (as we like to call our users) can see a lot of information regarding their impact. For example, they can see exactly how many trees they have been planted, where the trees are located, how many hectares of rainforest they are protecting, and how much CO2 has been compensated through which projects. We also try to be as transparent as possible regarding the impact of the total community. We have created a paper trail on our website, we publish our numbers, information about the business and the projects we support, and certificates and proof of purchase of planted trees and green projects.”
5. Have you seen any positive environmental changes since you started this company? For example, what has your impact been so far?
We went live in the beginning of May. Therefore, it’s a bit early to notice any environmental changes since we started. What I can tell you, is what we have achieved so far! Until this moment, our impact has been as follows:
- 34,303 trees planted, being 12,006 in Kenya and 22,297 in Mozambique
- 737.69 hectares of rainforest protected
- 3,053 tonnes of CO2 compensated
6. What has been the feedback from members? Has anyone reached out to you about initiating this project in other countries?
Our members praise the ease of use of our platform. It is a very straight forward plug and play solution, which makes it extremely easy for anyone to do their part in the fight against climate change. It is just a matter of selecting a plan and filling in your details. From that moment on, we do the rest.
So far, we have members in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the United States. Our system is ready for users all over the world, but in our marketing and sales strategy we have focused on the Netherlands in the first months.
7. What is your hope for the future of this company and of the environment itself?
For our company, I hope that we can grow big enough to have a massive impact. I do absolutely believe that reducing your carbon footprint and compensating the remainder through a company such as Regreener is a great way to make a positive impact. Our goal is to plant millions of trees each year.
For the environment, I just hope that we are not too late. We should do whatever we can to turn this around. We do believe that we can already get very far if we make sure that it is achievable for everyone to invest in a greener, better and brighter future.
8. Tell us more about yourself, have you always been connected to the environment? Do you have a moment growing up where you really felt that connection develop?
As time goes by, I became more and more connected to the environment, and thus more and more concerned about climate change. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved nature. Especially forests and beaches, as these have always been places where I can truly relax.
9. Do you have any advice for people who are looking to change careers and become more involved with the environment?
I’d say: go for it. If we don’t turn this around, in the long run nothing else will matter anymore. I know that sounds somewhat dramatic, but it is the truth. To anyone looking to change careers in general, I’d like to say: follow your heart.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Try to stay positive. Do whatever you can to change the course we are currently on as humans. If you are interested in what we do, please have a look at our website. We would love to welcome more Regreeners to our platform and we are very much looking forward to having a massive impact together!