Life, health and wellbeing insurer joins Tim Jarvis AM in fight against climate emergency
Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, 28 July 2022 – Taking another step in its mission to make Australia the healthiest and best protected nation in the world, AIA Australia has hosted a tree-planting working bee ahead of National Tree Day in partnership with The Forktree Project – a not-for-profit biodiversity initiative founded by environmental scientist, Tim Jarvis AM.
Hosted on the site of a former degraded 133-acre former pastoral property on the Fleurieu Peninsula, CEO of AIA Australia, Damien Mu, joined Mr Jarvis, an AIA Vitality Ambassador, and other guests for a day of rewilding.
The Forktree Project was founded in 2019 and in recent years its vision has started to come to life. In undertaking the re-establishment of tens of thousands of native trees and shrubs on the property, Mr Jarvis hopes to sequester thousands of tonnes of carbon and encourage the return of native animals, birds and insects to the property.
AIA Australia's partnership with The Forktree Project commenced in 2021 after the insurer became inspired by the valuable work taking place on the property. Mr Jarvis has since supported AIA in its efforts to highlight the vital need to improve the health of the environment – a key risk factor impacting human health.
In July 2022, AIA Australia released its report 'The Environment and our Health' which expanded upon its 5590+ report and addresses the intrinsic link between human wellbeing and the health of the environment. The report has called for a focus on both individual actions and collective efforts that can bring about positive environmental change.
Globally, 12 million deaths (almost a quarter of all annual deaths) are linked to the environment. Nearly two-thirds of these are linked to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory and heart diseases and mental ill-health. Environmental factors such as climate change, air pollution and food production are risk factors for NCDs which cause over 90 per cent of mostly preventable deaths in Australia each year.
Based on the estimation that planting one trillion trees globally could arrest the effects of climate change, and with Australia constituting one of six nations that represent 50 percent of the reforestation opportunity, Mr Mu, said tree planting was an important part of the insurer's local Environmental, Social and Governance strategy.
"At AIA Australia we're committed to helping people live healthier, longer, better lives. As a life and health insurer, we're concerned about the prevalence of chronic health conditions and their impact on our customers and the broader community.
"While awareness of climate change is increasing, the link between the environment and our health needs further attention. We're determined to highlight this connection and help our society rethink how it interacts with the environment, for the better.
"Our partnership with The Forktree Project is a tangible way of bringing our shared value vision to life. By supporting this incredible charity, we hope to educate and encourage all Australians to focus on the small 'somethings' they can do for the benefit of our environment."
AIA Vitality Ambassador and environmentalist, Mr Jarvis echoed Mr Mu's comments and said that partnering with organisations like AIA was critical in furthering pragmatic solutions to major environmental issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss.
"The Forktree Project involves reforesting an area of degraded farmland to show what is possible in terms of land restoration and carbon offsetting and ultimately how powerful collective action can be," said Jarvis.
"Our mission is not only to plant trees, but to educate Australians about how a sustainable life can benefit the environment. I'm pleased that through my role as an AIA Vitality Ambassador, I can also highlight how this links to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities." he added.
Members of AIA's health and wellbeing program, AIA Vitality can donate directly to The Forktree Project weekly using their $5 Active Benefits rewards. From 1 - 28 August, AIA Vitality members can elect to donate their weekly Active Benefit to The Forktree Project, and AIA Vitality will match donations up to $2000.
Donations from AIA Vitality members, as well as AIA Australia, have contributed to the planting of thousands of trees on the property ‒ a testament to what can be achieved by a group of like-minded and passionate people.
For cover that cares about you and the things you care about, members who join AIA Health Insurance between 1-31st August 2022 will receive a premium refund and can have a donation made to The Forktree Project on their behalf.