March 14, 2022

Reforestation Consternation

CIRT is part of the global movement of businesses towards a more sustainable future. We work hard to generate transparency and accountability around our real environmental impact- measuring both the impact of our product and our operations in Athens, GA. We are working towards Certified B Corp status so that our clients know that they are getting real results, not just a great marketing team (see our blog about B Corps and greenwashing).

Recent reporting from the New York Times highlights the importance of reading the fine print when money and conservation are mixed. It is increasingly popular for businesses to promise: “One tree planted for every purchase!” But depending on where and how those trees are planted, it might not be creating an environmental benefit. Generally, planting trees creates a host of positive impacts through stimulation of local economies in less-developed regions of the world, carbon sequestration, and habitat for wildlife. However, businesses have increasingly turned to third-party tree-planting services to provide the trees promised to consumers. When not verified properly, these services can plant non-native monocultures of profitable timber species that enrich timber corporations and accelerate extirpation of species, contributing to the global biodiversity crisis. Planting a monoculture of commercial, water-hogging tree species can reduce water available to nature plants and local communities and increase the risk and severity of wildfires.

The next time you make a purchase that promises a concomitant tree planting, become a more informed consumer and investigate the where, why, and how of the tree planting project.