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This Brand Wants To Help You Offset Your Not-So Sustainable Daily Pleasures

Think extra-long showers, food delivery, and your avocado obsession.

It’s no secret that we are experiencing unprecedented rapid warming of our planet at the hands of humans. According to the UN, approximately two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to private households, and the energy, food, and transport sectors each contribute about 20 percent of lifestyle emissions. The UN urges that in order to preserve a livable climate, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net zero by 2050, and the transition to a low-carbon world requires the participation of its citizens. From the electricity we use, to the food we eat, and the way we travel, we can and need to make a difference.

Strong allies in the fight against climate change are trees, playing a critical role in the health of our planet with their incredible carbon capturing potential. The problem is, they are being destroyed at an alarming rate and urgent action is needed to halt deforestation and ramp up reforestation. A recent study found that there is currently an area the size of the U.S. available for tree reforestation on Earth, and that once mature, these trees could store about two thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity.

Reforestation is one of the most powerful tools we have in countering the effects of climate change, and brands like tentree, who have planted over 60 million trees to date, are making reforestation more accessible with a new program coined Climate+. By casting a spotlight on our not-so-sustainable daily pleasures and making it easy to offset their environmental impact, they are demonstrating the lasting impact one small choice can have.

Making Tree Planting Accessible

Seemingly harmless habits like 2am burger cravings, extra-long showers or endless hours of binge watching, actually have a greater impact than you may think. Climate+ allows you to plant trees and feel at ease knowing the carbon emissions associated with your lifestyle have been offset. With packages like Offset a Hipster, Tying the Knot, Avocado Obsession, and Fast Fashion Retailer for One Day, tentree is making tree planting relatable. You can even add trees to DeAndre Jordan’s forest of the 50,000 trees he’s planted to date or offset your favorite influencer for a year. “We wanted to create something for consumers that related to their life and connected trees and the environmental impact of trees to their own life in a fun and engaging way,” says Derrick Emsley, Co-Founder and CEO of tentree.

So How Does It Work?

Let's Go Climate+

Think the extra time sudsing up in the shower is no big deal? With estimates suggesting standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water/minute combined with the energy required to heat the water, the impact starts to add up fast. The team at tentree has crunched the numbers, and assuming the average person showers an extra 7 minutes every day, that works out to 4.024 tons of CO2 over 7 years. To offset those 4 tons, 20 trees are planted.

And the avocado that tops your toast? It actually wreaks more havoc on the environment than you think. With 11 billion pounds consumed annually worldwide, the intensive production to meet the demand carries a significant environmental cost. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, avocado farming has a land production size equivalent to 196,000 football fields. Forest land has been destroyed and approximately 9.5 billion liters of water are used daily to produce the fruit. Assuming you eat 1-2 avocados/day, that’s 500/year representing close to 1.5 tons of CO2 over 7 years. To offset that carbon, tentree will plant 7 trees. Even Netflix has carbon emissions. If the average person watches 1.5 hours/day, that’s the equivalent of about 1.8 tons of CO2/year requiring 9 trees to offset. Consumers get rewarded for doing good, earning seeds to spend on tentree.com.

Using Tech To Track Trees

So how can you be sure the trees are actually being planted? The carbon market is incredibly murky according to Emsley, pointing out there are reports every week of massive fraud in the space, sometimes intentional and other times not. “The reality is, we’re dealing with an incredibly complex system and it becomes even more challenging with nature-based solutions,” says Emsley. He goes on to highlight this is part of the reason why nature-based solutions are woefully underfunded right now and not scaling at the rate they need to in order to meet climate commitments.

Because tentree doesn’t commit to donating a “percentage of proceeds”, but rather 10 trees planted, this puts them in a very fallible position should they ever determine that they didn’t uphold their commitments, according to Emsley. “To solve for this, about three years ago we began investing in a technology solution to verify, monitor, and ensure there was no double counting in the trees we were funding,” says Emsley. This technology ultimately became veritree; the world’s first integrated planting management system, built with blockchain technology. While it was originally intended for tentree, they have since begun rolling it out with a number of other organizations such as 1t.org, a campaign with a lofty goal of planting 1 trillion trees by 2030.

Where Do Trees Actually Get Planted?

For tentree, planting trees is as much a people project as it is an environmental project, lifting communities out of poverty and enabling planters to provide for their families. Working with partners like Eden Reforestation Projects, tentree employs workers to plant their trees around the world. In Indonesia and Madagascar, the focus is on mangrove reforestation. These trees are said to be the best in the world at sequestering carbon dioxide, capturing up to four times more carbon than any other tree species. In Peru, a unique species that can grow at some of the highest elevations on the planet are planted on the hillsides of the Andes. In Senegal, the trees that are planted make up a forest garden system, with multipurpose trees that provide more than one product or function. But don’t take tentree’s word for it. Consumers can register their trees and track their impact with their own interactive virtual forest.

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