At Starling, we want to do the right thing. That’s why we plant a tree to say thank you, every time you recommend us to a friend or family member and they become a customer, using our in-app referral scheme.

The scheme is enabled by our partnership with Trillion Trees, a joint venture for forest protection and restoration made up of three of the world’s largest conservation organisations: BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

So far, we have more than 80,000 trees growing through this partnership, it’s one of several steps we’ve taken to become a more sustainable bank.

Why trees matter

Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The more trees there are, the more carbon dioxide can be taken out of the atmosphere.

According to WWF, forests are home to more than half of the world’s life on land and provide livelihoods to more than 1.6 billion people.

Scientists estimate that there used to be six trillion trees on the planet. Today, there are around three trillion. That’s why the work of Trillion Trees is so important. It’s committed to protecting and restoring one trillion trees for the benefit of people, nature and our climate.

About Trillion Trees

“Our aim is to protect the forests we have and restore what has been lost,” says John Lotspeich, Executive Director of Trillion Trees. “Forests play a crucial role in the protection of our climate, in supporting the planet’s biodiversity and are directly connected to the livelihoods of millions of people, which is why the work of our partnership is so important.”

Trillion Trees, founded in 2016, takes a collaborative, holistic and long-term approach to conservation. BirdLife International, WCS and WWF are working together to protect and restore forests and end deforestation - something that Starling customers can be a part of.

“For each successful Starling referral, we plant and grow a tree - and because it’s planted by our partners, we’ll take good care of it and of the forest it’s in, for the long term,” says John.

Trillion Trees partners work with local communities in countries around the world. Trees planted through Starling’s referral scheme are mostly grown in Kenya, Madagascar or Tanzania.

Tree planting in Tanzania. Photo credit: WWF

Refer a friend

To make a referral and support the work of Trillion Trees, go to your Starling app and tap on the top right menu icon. Scroll down, select ‘Refer a Friend’ and follow the steps outlined on the app. You can make referrals from your Starling personal or business account and share your unique referral link by email, text or through an online messaging platform.

For the referral to be successful, your friend will need to complete a short form on your unique referral webpage, download the app and apply to become a new Starling customer. Once their personal or business account is open, the referral process will be complete and a tree will be planted and maintained by Trillion Trees.

Starling and sustainability

All three Starling UK offices - London, Southampton and Cardiff - are run on renewable energy. We don’t post paper statements to our customers and we provide new customers with debit cards made from recycled plastic.

We also offset carbon emissions from our operations and supply chain by investing in environmental initiatives. These include a Mangrove forest conservation project, peatlands restoration scheme and a solar power plant.

Our partnership with Trillion Trees not only helps us to be greener, it also brings our customers with us on our journey. Your support, literally, means the world.

Starling Bank will make a donation to WWF-UK, a registered charity with charity registration number 1081247 in England and Wales and SC039593 in Scotland, of £3 for each bank account, which is successfully opened with Starling Bank as a result of a referral under this scheme.

Update 13 April 2023: Our partnership with Trillion Trees has now ended and we’re proud to say that together, we committed to planting 100,000 trees. We’ve now launched our new partnership with the National Trust – Europe’s largest conservation charity.

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