A Devon-based insurance provider has just achieved the unusual landmark of giving £1m of its income to charity.
Naturesave, an award-winning insurance provider, has achieved the unusual landmark of giving £1m of its income to UK projects promoting sustainability. Former Lloyds insurance broker, Mathew Criddle, founded the company in 1993 when the environmental movement in business was in its infancy. Criddle established Naturesave as an ethical insurance provider to encourage the insurance industry in the greater adoption of sustainable development:
“I realised that, although the insurance industry was not taking environmental issues seriously, it would be in the front line in dealing with the consequences of environmental disasters. At the same time, it possesses an almost unparalleled potential to reduce the impact of climate change by actively promoting the production and consumption of sustainable alternatives to energy derived from fossil fuels. I also wanted to develop a sustainable business model that reflected the growing demand by individuals and organisations for greener and more ethical insurance.”
Naturesave provides insurance to individuals, businesses and charitable organisations and is a specialist in ‘eco’ houses and renewable energy systems. The company also provides specialist insurance services to important green sectors of the economy. From the outset, it has donated 10% of its household and travel insurance premiums into its charity, the Naturesave Trust. The Trust provides grants of between £500 and £5,000 to small-scale, grassroots environmental and conservation projects, organisations and charities in the UK
The diverse range of the 500-plus funded projects include, renewable energy, low carbon transport, nature conservation, community agriculture, recycling and repair and eco-education. Past and present recipients of Naturesave Trust funds include: the Solar Bee Project whose innovative beehive design can eradicate the deadly Varroa mite without using toxic pesticides; trials by the Marine Conservation Society of a boat-mooring system that protects the seabed from damage done by conventional moorings and allows areas of seagrass to regenerate; a start-up grant for low-emission light rail transport using flywheel technology; grants to open ‘repair cafes’, a project to enable prisoners to refurbish bikes; and a land restoration project in West Wales that uses pigs to restore areas overrun with bracken back to their original, biodiverse-rich state.
Alongside grant-funding, an additional Trust program provides bespoke professional advice, based on the Bioregional’s One Planet Living Framework, to small and medium-sized companies that want to make their trading practices more sustainable.
After nearly 30 years, Naturesave has firmly establish itself as the leading ethical insurance provider in the UK. Its achievements have been recognised in numerous awards, most notably the Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. In 2011, it pioneered a policy of encouraging staff to choose low carbon holiday travel by offering additional paid holiday for those who opt not to fly. This policy has since been developed into the Climate Perks Initiative and is now being adopted by leading eco conscious organisations.
Reflecting on these achievements Criddle says, “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone, especially during such a challenging year for businesses. There has never been a more critical time for the work of the Naturesave Trust and there are many projects that we would like to support that can make a real difference to people and the planet. I would like to thank all our loyal customers and stakeholders for helping Naturesave to achieve this”