In Episode 147 of the Disruptors for Good podcast I speak with Derrick Emsley, co-founder of tentree and veritree, on the mission to plant 1 billion trees through a lifestyle brand and building tech to verify global restoration projects.
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From a young age, Derrick Emsley has been actively involved with environmental stewardship. At 16, he and his brother founded a tree planting company that sold carbon credits to businesses, a venture that saw over $1 million dollars in contracts, and planted 150,000 trees.
This venture helped pave the way to the founding of tentree in 2012, where Derrick operates as the CEO, guiding the Company’s vision and strategy. tentree is a lifestyle brand that plants ten trees for every product sold
In just under a decade, tentree has set new standards in the sustainable apparel world while also leading to the planting of almost 100 million trees.
In 2021, after identifying a need for more transparency in the global reforestation space, with his team, Derrick launched a technology company – veritree – focused on building and providing the tools to monitor, verify, and audit global reforestation work.
Named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Derrick’s efforts continue to focus around accelerating the adoption of nature-based solutions globally.
tentree believes it can inspire a new group of consumers to tackle the environmental issues we are now faced with. By planting ten trees and ensuring that all tentree clothing is produced responsibly they allow each and every customer to make a difference.
Their commitment to the environment isn’t just a catchy hook to drive sales. It is something they fundamentally believe in, that will have an enormous impact on our environment going forward. It’s your world, your life, your playground. Let’s protect it – together, we can build forests.
Tree planting is a way of restoring the environment, maintaining ecosystems, and making our world a healthier place to live. This isn’t new; but what is new, is how they have used the concept of planting trees to inspire entrepreneurship, build sustainable communities, provide shelter and generally increase quality of life.
The founders of tentree have years of experience in the tree planting industry and have used this to create a business model that ensures trees are planted sustainably and in a way that will have the greatest impact. Some of the many benefits of planting trees include:
– Creating and restoring bio-diversity
– Removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere
– Creating bio-precipitation
– Building sustainable and resilient natural ecosystems
Veritree is on a mission to accelerate the adoption of nature-based climate solutions through innovative technology.
Veritree is the only system built specifically to solve the problems of large-scale global restorations groups. Through a comprehensive suite of tools, Veritree utilizes blockchain technology to provide restoration organizations with an integrated platform to support field-level data collection, site planning, inventory (tree) management, and impact monitoring, all while delivering sponsors with a world-class experience.
Restoration projects have historically been very difficult to monitor, measure, and audit. At the same time, the need has never been greater for large-scale restoration projects. Veritree provides the systems to empower the world’s best restoration projects to do what they do best – make an impact.
Happy #EarthDay2022! Watch to learn more about what veritree is all about and how our technology is revolutionizing restoration projects.— veritree (@veritree_) April 22, 2022
Find out more and join the veritree community today! https://t.co/oewQFHFBdL pic.twitter.com/4PJuE66Dj7
Below is a quick Q&A with Derrick Emsley, founder of tentree.
What inspired you to start Tentree back in in 2012?
Our experience in tree planting from when we were in High School. We saw the impact it could have on the environment and wanted to create something that would have an even larger impact and provide jobs/education/etc.
There were a lot of companies focused on social good but no one focused on giving back to the environment in a tangible way.
All the environmental initiatives were focused on reducing the negative impact (organic instead of regular cotton) – very few were focused on having a positive impact.
Do you find being based in Canada has a lot to do with your ethos as a company and your love for nature?
Absolutely! Canada has been incredibly supportive of tentree through our growth. As well, Canadians have a very outdoors-y culture. Whether it’s hiking, camping, etc. Our motto is “protect the world you play in” and this seems to really resonate with Canadians.
Tell us a little about your tree planting strategy and the organizations you are working with locally and abroad!
Our goal is to enrich impoverished communities. We use tree planting as a means to provide food, education, shelter, and overall communal prosperity.
We’re not looking to foster dependence through these projects. We’re trying to teach the locals how they can build these projects, maintain them, and grow them.
Our tree planting efforts support education initiatives in the area to explain to these communities how deforestation has led to poverty, lack of jobs, poor fishing, etc. This helps to ensure people don’t find themselves in the same situation.
We wanted to create something that was focused on the old adage of “give someone a fish and they eat for a day, teach someone to fish and they eat for the rest of their lives”.
How does the design and manufacturing process of your apparel correspond with your commitment to community and transparency?
We strive to provide ethically sourced, fashionable clothing with eco-friendly materials, while still giving back to the Earth.
We remain committed to ethically responsible manufacturing processes and incorporating eco-conscious materials in all our products.
We use sustainable fabrics like recycled polyester, organic cotton, cork trims, hemp, tencel, etc.
We also use certified, responsible manufacturers that commit to our ethical standards.
Tentree works with socially and environmentally responsible factories and works to promote fair labour practices and safe working conditions.
The factories commit to fair hours of work, no child labour, fair compensation based on local laws, a safe and healthy workplace, and adherence to environmentally conscious practices.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 700+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.