You are probably familiar with the advertising slogan “A tree is planted for every product” from numerous companies. Here we explain why we are critical of this claim and donate to a local foundation in the region.
At the beginning of our start-up, we also advertised with the claim that one tree would be planted for every product sold. Product donations are a great way to raise funds within a company. Forests are one of the largest CO2 reservoirs and thus one of the most effective methods of temporarily storing CO2 from the atmosphere. In theory, it is therefore a nice idea to combine a tree-planting campaign with the purchase and therefore definitely better than not collecting any donations at all! But in practice, it is unfortunately not so simple, because not all trees are the same. There are much more sustainable and meaningful ways to donate and plant trees. Is one tree really planted per product? How many euros are really going into that? Can a tree be planted for 1€? Or does the company just plant trees in general? It is often worthwhile to take a closer look at the organisation with which the company cooperates.
Not all trees are the same
A tree only stores CO2 if it also grows and can stand for a few years. So planting a tree may not be a sustainable act in itself. Planting a healthy tree that can grow and “work” for a long time is a sustainable act. A tree also needs to be watered and cared for. If the tree or seedling is still quite small when it is planted out, this rearing work is much more time-intensive and determines the success of the planting campaign. The chance that a seedling will grow properly is lower than if a high trunk tree is planted directly. High trunk trees are usually already several metres (approx. 4 m) high and have grown up with optimal conditions in the nursery. The growth rate there is therefore very high. The tree can therefore store more CO2 much more quickly. Another big difference is the purchase price. You can’t get a high trunk tree for 1€ but rather for 25€ to several 100€. Also, of course, different types of trees store different amounts of CO2.
Why we donate to a local organisation
In the first few years, we also communicated that a tree would be planted for every product sold. We also worked with an organisation on this. After critically examining the issue at the end of 2020, we quickly realised that we wanted to change our fundraising organisation to something more regional and tangible. We have also thought for a long time that one tree per product is a wonderful gesture. Now we want to pass on our knowledge to you.
With the regional Dr. Günther Pfann Foundation, we have found an ecological initiative to which we are happy to donate our money. The projects here are much more diverse and there is a lot of know-how involved. Only high trunk trees are planted and also well cared for and looked after. In addition, the foundation focuses on old varieties in order to promote biodiversity. We have written more about the Foundation’s projects in a separate article.
What we find particularly nice about a regional initiative is that we can also drop by and help out on site. That we can also transparently see and follow the projects with our own eyes – that we are part of it.
Donations per product do not make the product sustainable
We think it makes sense to donate money or, for example, trees for a sold product, also for our start-up. But of course, that does not make a product sustainable. It’s just an add-on. Unfortunately, we often observe how these donations of money or trees distract from the actual non-sustainability of the product, classic greenwashing. So please always look carefully at the product you are choosing and ask yourself if it really is the most sustainable option you are considering.
At hejhej we don’t want to boost consumption, we believe in the sufficiency strategy. We are changing the classical economy and revolutionising the yoga industry for good!
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