Connecting banks with sustainable farming through Acorn 

Acorn, part of Rabobank, was initially launched to facilitate investments in sustainable farming.

DEPT®’s design and development team helped Acorn launch a new website focusing on storytelling, engagement, and the purchase of carbon removal credits.  

Acorn by Rabobank - website work

Grow a better world together  

Rabobank is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in the Netherlands. Its mission is to “Grow a better world together,” and one of the ways the company approaches this is through investments in sustainable farmers. 

To formalise this initiative, Acorn was born. Acorn supports farmers in their adoption of climate-resilient farming methods that improve food security, biodiversity, social progress, and financial independence.

However, Acorn’s original digital presence lacked crucial storytelling elements, which resulted in low engagement and dwindling numbers of returning users. 

To attract visitors and get them to engage with Acorn’s mission, we needed to capture its distinctive aim of supporting small farmers in planting trees for agroforestry. Beyond that, we also needed to encourage businesses to purchase Carbon Removal Units (CRUs).

Acorn by Rabobank - website work

Resonating with a broad audience 

Our journey began with a series of collaborative sessions with the Acorn team so we could grasp the nuances of their mission. As we crafted the brand narrative and its impact, our goal was to connect with their many users, including project coordinators, corporate buyers, and the general public. 

Three key challenges were addressed throughout the development process:

  • Maintaining Acorn’s brand values while respecting Rabobank’s identity
  • Ensuring cultural sensitivity towards farmers and their local contexts
  • Creating content and storytelling that resonated with users from diverse backgrounds

Humanising data and information 

So much of Acorn’s work and impact could be effectively conveyed through numbers. However, too many numbers would complicate the narrative, especially for certain audiences. 

To address this challenge, we developed a concept to use the Earth’s layers as a point of reference, which allowed us to blend their data with storytelling. These storytelling layers were designed to engage website visitors, blending visuals with complex information, complemented by clear explanations of the intricacies involved.

This is where the Acorn experience shines: its ability to encapsulate complex subject matter within a conceptual narrative. 

This new website successfully positions Acorn as a global leader in generating high-quality carbon removal units through agroforestry initiatives, all while staying true to Acorn’s approach and values.

Acorn by Rabobank - website work carbon view closer

Helping thousands of farmers 

From its start three years ago, Acorn has experienced remarkable growth in its outreach, helping an impressive 153,676 farmers. 

The company has issued over 236,000 CRUs and participated in the reclamation of 166,000+ hectares. 

Recently, a delegation from Acorn had the opportunity to visit a Kenyan farmer involved in one of the organisation’s projects. Using satellite images, they showed the farmer his land on Acorn’s website, demonstrating the positive impact achieved in that area.

While much of this progress can be attributed to the efforts of the Acorn team, the website plays a vital role in communicating Acorn’s story—and celebrating its successes.

Acorn by Rabobank - website work

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Business Development Manager, web3

Dominykas Maksimovas

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