Batesville Has Doubled Down on a Greener Future for its Next 115 Years
Few folks in deathcare would fail to recognize the opaque green trees that complete Batesville’s brand logo. That iconic image has become more meaningful to Jenn Parvin, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Batesville, because of her involvement with the company’s Living Memorial® tree planting program.
“We’re known as the ‘tree company, but not just because of our logo,’” Parvin recently shared with Connecting Directors. “Through our Living Memorial program, Batesville has planted over 14.5 million trees since 1976, making it one of the largest reforestation initiatives in the country. It’s pretty incredible – even after 40 years – that we are still the benchmark for the industry. I joke that we were “green” before being green was even a thing, but it’s something we’re really proud of.”
Building on their legacy
For over 115 years serving the deathcare profession, Batesville has had a lot to be proud of, from its beautifully-crafted caskets and cremation products to innovations in memorialization and technology. Likewise, thousands of funeral establishments across the country are proud to offer trusted Batesville products to the families they serve.
What some may not know, however, is that each of these funeral homes has the opportunity to take advantage of Batesville’s complimentary Living Memorial program.
“The Living Memorial is offered in partnership with our funeral home customers. When a family purchases a Batesville casket, full-size urn, memento chest or other qualifying product, the funeral director can submit a request for Batesville to plant a tree in their loved one’s honor and we take it from there,” Parvin says. “Anyone who buys a Batesville product is eligible, with no cost to the funeral home or the family. Batesville covers the cost of the entire program.”
Families receive a letter and certificate from Batesville CEO Chris Trainor acknowledging that a tree will be planted in their loved one’s honor,” Parvin says. That recognition, which has been part of the Living Memorial program since its inception, has proven to be incredibly meaningful to families, some of whom have come upon the papers decades after they were received.
“It’s quite common to hear from families who have found a certificate that was saved by a parent or grandparent 40 years later,” says Parvin. “The fact that they kept the letter and certificate and then reached out to let us know is a testament to how powerful the program is.”
The company has received thousands of letters from grateful families, often asking if they could purchase and plant additional trees. In August, Batesville made the exciting announcement that it was expanding the Living Memorial with a new online offering that allows families to do just that. And true to its mission, they took it a step further by committing to match every tree purchased, tree for tree, whether it’s a single sapling or the equivalent of a small forest.
“The Living Memorial has been a cornerstone of the Batesville brand for a long time, and the new Matching Tree Donation offering allows us to memorialize lives and support grieving families, while also doubling the positive impact on the environment.” Parvin adds.
A rich history of reforestation
The original Living Memorial program began in 1976 and is carried out through a long-term partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and other international planting organizations in Canada and Australia. Memorial trees are planted in national forests and woodlands identified as having the greatest reforestation needs as a result of fire, floods, disease or other conditions. There are no visible markers for memorial plantings, but to families, there is comfort in knowing that as one life ends, another is just beginning.
Batesville selected the Arbor Day Foundation, a trusted non-profit that has dedicated itself to preserving and restoring forests for more than half a century, as its partner for the new Matching Tree Donation program. Families can select a region of the country for their loved one’s memorial tree to be planted or choose to have it planted in an area of greatest need. The exact timing of the plantings depends on the region selected and its appropriate planting season.
“Families receive an e-certificate with their loved one’s name, the chosen location and an acknowledgement of Batesville’s matching donation as part of the order confirmation,” Parvin says.”
What it really means
The Living Memorial program is special to not only Parvin, but also to the Batesville family as a whole.
“We’re a mission-driven company focused on helping families honor the lives of those they love,” says Parvin. “Donating a tree in memory of someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one is a tangible way to honor them and to live our mission by helping others.”
Parvin, who personally experienced the healing power of the Living Memorial upon the passing of her mother-in-law shortly after joining the Batesville team, has a deep understanding of the impact of such a gesture.
“Our letter and certificate arrive in the quiet time after friends and relatives have left, a month or six weeks after the service, when a person is alone and dealing with the loss of their loved one,” she says. “The package is an unexpected and uplifting surprise that triggers people to write heartfelt and highly personal thank you notes to Batesville. Our CEO gets letters all the time that say, ‘This was a wonderful gift,’ or ‘We can’t believe you honored our loved one.’”
Be part of a bigger mission
As a funeral director, you play an integral role in helping families create meaningful services to memorialize their loved ones. By participating in the Living Memorial program, you’re not only fulfilling that goal – you’re also supporting a growing global mission toward a more sustainable society.
“Memorial trees have become increasingly popular as people adopt a more eco-conscious mindset,” adds Parvin. “Instead of purchasing sympathy flowers for the family, many are opting for trees or gifts that are more sustainable. While memorialization is its root and continues to be the driving force for the Living Memorial, we can feel also feel good that we are contributing to a greener future.”
Batesville’s Living Memorial program, with its recently-added matching donation offering, is an example that the company’s commitment to, as Parvin puts it, “making somebody’s most terrible day just a little bit better” has not changed — and never will.
“We’re proud of what we have achieved over the last 115 years, but we are not done by any means,” she says. “We want funeral directors to know that Batesville is actively planning for the next century. We are continuing to invest in burial, cremation and technology solutions that will allow them to serve their communities today, and be better prepared to serve the next generation of families. It’s certainly an exciting time for our organization and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
For more information about Batesville’s Living Memorial program, please visit https://www.batesville.com/about-memorial-trees/ or reach out to your Batesville sales representative.