Treedom lets anyone pay to plant a tree – anywhere
The world needs to plant 353 billion trees, or the equivalent of 50 per person, to halt climate change, according to some estimates.
Although not quite on that scale, one organization hopes to make an impact by offering an easy way for members of the public to plant trees.
Treedom was founded in Italy in 2010 by Tommaso Speroni and Federico Garcia, who were working on a project in Cameroon at the time.
“We were witnessing huge areas of forest disappearing every day, sold by the local population to the wood and agriculture industry,” recalls 38-year-old Garcia.
Their experience led them to start Treedom, which uses computer simulation to encourage people to track their tree’s progress.
“We plant trees in projects all around the world, encouraging sustainable farming practices, restoring biodiversity, preventing soil erosion and offsetting CO2 emissions,” Garcia continues. “We wanted Treedom to have not only a positive environmental impact, but also a social one.”
Treedom works closely with smallholder farmers and local communities to plant fruit trees which provide food security and additional income. Each planted tree is geolocated and photographed and regular updates are sent to customers about the tree and the associated project.
The pair were inspired to bring a social online element to the company by Farmville, which was played by 30 million people in 2010.
“The idea was to bring together real and virtual life, utility and pleasure, by creating a website where anyone could choose a tree to plant anywhere in the world and follow it online, plus giving a farmer the opportunity to plant that actual tree,” Garcia adds.
The company’s founders see their main competitors as Ecosia, Plant My Tree, Plant for the Planet and Team Trees, alongside Woodland Trust and TreeSisters in the UK, plus Prima Kilma in Germany.
“Tree planting is definitely having a moment right now and the industry is becoming increasingly competitive,” Garcia continues. “Treedom is the only platform of its kind, both in the added social element of what we do, and in that an individual can plant a tree and follow its story online.”
Treedom directly finances smallholder farmers, supporting the initial costs of planting new trees, providing training and technical support and encouraging sustainable land management practices. So far the company has planted 933,647 trees, in 15 countries, which Treedom estimates have already absorbed 296,405,510 kg of CO2.
Almost 370,000 people have used Treedom so far and Garcia hopes to plant 10 million trees by 2022. The company is based in Florence but has an office in Munich, Germany and is hiring 25 more employees in 2020 to add to the 35-strong team.
“Our revenue in 2019 was €4 million, with €300,000 profit, all reinvested to build our European network,” Garcia says. “Our goal for 2020 is €10 million in revenue.
“We would like to be the landmark company for financing agroforestry projects and reforestation, with a large, passionate community.
“Our ultimate goal is our call to action – let’s green the planet.”