The world is faced with several environmental crises. Ocean acidification, widespread pollution, and climate change name just a few.
One extremely timely crisis, however, is that of deforestation. Each year, 18.7 million acres of forest cover are lost as irresponsible logging and agriculture demolish Earth’s pristine environment.
Two entrepreneurs set out to do something about it, and together they formed 8 Billion Trees. Mike and Jon formed a social enterprise to inspire other companies to follow suit.
As a social enterprise, they emphasize on social goals (a.k.a. planting trees to help save the environment) over profit. In other words, making a difference in the world is more important than short-term cash.
Unlike non-profits which often have extremely limited marketing budgets (and are therefore unable to spread awareness effectively), 8 Billion Trees is able to take company revenue and invest it right back into growing the company so that the ultimate goal is achieved: planting as many trees as humanly possible.
And all along the way, 8 Billion Trees helps to spread awareness and support for their partners which include many different charities and NGOs. On top of encouraging direct donations to these groups, 8 Billion Trees donates thousands each month in company contributions.
8 Billion Trees Review: The Good and the Meh
It’s clear that 8 Billion Tree’s mission to change the world by planting 8 billion trees is noble…and definitely audacious.
But what information is there on the company, and what kind of reviews are they getting?
First off, 8 Billion Trees is not a charity, which means contributions are not tax-deductible. Instead, it is a social enterprise with a strong focus on awareness campaigns which means their administrative costs are too high to be a charity. When we asked them about their decision to do this, they gave us a candid response:
“We debilitated for weeks on whether to form as a charity or a social enterprise that runs on profit. Ultimately, we decided that furthering our mission was the most important thing to us.
While we could make a positive impact with a charity, we would be unable to grow rapidly and it would take at least a decade or more to reach our goal of planting 8 billion trees. And frankly, there just isn’t that kind of time to spare.
Earth’s forests are being devastated and no one is stepping in to make a powerful difference that can actually reverse the damage being done so that global forest cover begins to grow each year in destroyed areas.”
On the positive side, 8 Billion Trees is partnered with many charities and non-governmental organizations. This gives them much-needed credentials that trees are actually being planted each month. You just can’t write it off on your taxes.
Another positive is their use of recycled materials for their product line. Using post-consumer and environmentally-conscious materials, they have crafted a line of accessories and apparel that customers can rest easy purchasing.
On the negative side, their collection is limited in size and would greatly be helped by the addition of more options.
Their commitment to livable wages for their employees, consistent monthly donations to many charities, and exceptional customer service are some of the things they do best.
As a new company they have a long way to go and can improve in many ways. But overall, they are making an impact with integrity and helping to change our Earth for a better tomorrow.