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Business Case
How Forward-Thinking Brands Are Investing in Forests

More and more mission-driven organizations are making positive environmental changes, often through partnerships with other companies and nonprofit organizations. One of the major ways businesses can contribute to environmental efforts is by planting trees.

It’s become clear that we need to make a change for the health of our planet — and fast. While reshaping government policy is a necessary component of this transformation, its timeline is long. It can take years for ideas to translate into policy, for policy to take effect, and for real change to occur as a result. When it comes to policy around climate change, we simply don’t have the luxury of time. 

As we petition and protest and support our earth-championing representatives, there’s more we can do to combat climate change: take action in the business sector. Companies can dictate their own policies and priorities, allowing them to effect change at a much faster rate than federal agencies. Plus, brands act in response to their customer base; if their customers value sustainability, companies will listen and act accordingly. 

Many forward-thinking brands have gotten the message — they’re taking the future of our planet into their own hands through partnerships with environmental nonprofits and sustainable business practices. 

Win-win partnerships

Around the world, mission-driven organizations are gaining momentum and making positive environmental changes, often through partnerships with other companies and nonprofit organizations. As a result, nonprofits get sizable contributions and businesses get an opportunity to give back and make themselves known as a vehicle for progress. 

One of the major ways businesses can contribute to environmental efforts is by planting trees. According to a recent report, if we can plant one trillion trees around the world, we could reduce carbon emissions up to 25 percent. 

One Tree Planted, a nonprofit committed to reforestation around the world, offers a corporate social responsibility program that allows businesses to do just that: Every dollar a business donates plants one tree; the company can either choose the location of their future forests — in the US or around the world — or they can hand the reins to the experts and fund the planting of trees wherever they’re needed most.  

By partnering with One Tree Planted, many brands are funding these reforestation efforts. In addition to their tree-planting dollars, several are folding environmentally friendlier practices right into their business model. This marriage of nonprofit contributions and sustainable products and services creates a long-term system for businesses to contribute to a cleaner environment, and engage their customers along the way. 

From planting to products

Image credit: One Tree Planted

Brands in every corner of the market are getting creative about reducing and repurposing waste. Handcrafted footwear brand Twisted X has launched a line of eco-friendly shoes crafted from plastic bottles, preventing bottles from ending up in landfills and in our oceans; and for every pair sold, Twisted X plants a tree with One Tree Planted. So far the company has funded the planting of trees in Oregon as part of the One Tree Planted Orca Project, as well as in California and Colorado. It has also designated that trees be planted wherever they are needed. 

Another One Tree Planted CSR partner is Insight Vacations, a member of The Travel Corporation. Insight Vacations encourages customers to choose electronic documents over paper options. For every customer who opts to receive their travel documents electronically, Insight contributes to forest fire restoration in northern California, a process that regenerates lost growth and helps prevent future fires. Insight also plants trees in Australia and India

Meanwhile, House of Marley takes environmental responsibility to the next level, baking it right into its business model and products. Using recycled and sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled plastic, FSC-certified wood and wood composite, and reclaimed fabric, the company uses mindfully sourced materials every step of the way. It also supports global reforestation projects to make an even bigger environmental impact. All of these initiatives help connect their brand to Bob Marley’s ethos of a united planet and people.

In addition to these initiatives, many businesses are taking it a step further, actually bringing their teams outdoors to plant trees and have a personal experience of giving back close to where they live and work. The photo above is from a One Tree Planted reforestation event in Montreal, where half a dozen local businesses came out to volunteer.

Technology for trees 

As businesses contribute to reforestation through donations, products and practices, another nonprofit is making waves in technology. XPRIZE has been supporting industry-changing technology for 15 years by holding competitions that reward the most innovative solutions to global issues. For each contest, XPRIZE presents a prompt aimed at solving a global question or crisis. The winning solution gets a multimillion-dollar prize to bring the idea to life and contribute to the issue at hand. 

A recent initiative, called the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap, identified 6 areas in which innovative technology would make a significant impact in reforestation efforts. One of the 6 ideas selected presents a way to enhance photosynthesis, boosting crop yield while reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and the water needed to disperse them. Another winning idea offers a way to source organic materials (such as wood) without killing the source. 

With sustainable business practices, nonprofit engagement and technological innovation all backed by passionate, environmentally conscious people, we stand a chance of actually planting the one trillion trees that could change the face of our planet.  

Get involved by supporting One Tree Planted CSR business partners.