Meet Maxime Renaudin founder of Tree-Nation. A company that ‘gathers and coordinates reforestation efforts worldwide in a unique platform, enabling every citizen, company and planter to take action’ against climate change. Find out how a new years resolution has developed into 271 planting projects across 33 different countries.
Tell us about yourself & Tree-Nation
I had the idea of Tree-Nation on the first of January 2006. I guess lots of ideas that are born after a New Year celebration are as quick to vanish as they appear. But, somehow, this one wouldn’t go. When I was telling my friends that I wanted to plant trees, I remember I had to explain ‘why?’ every single time. The same year, a few months later, Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary. Then the UNEP, the environment body of the United Nations, released a Billion-Tree Campaign which was a massive success. We were one of the first organisations to join it. I can say this changed the public opinion. A year later, when explaining what Tree-Nation was, I kept starting by explaining why we should plant trees but people would just stop me and say, ‘I know’, like it was something really obvious.
So I started to do some research and contact experts and forestry scientists just to make sure that planting trees was a viable option. The more I would learn about trees, the more obvious it became.
How did Tree-Nation come to be? What is your vision for the company?
Our main focus has always been the tropics. Why? Because this is where deforestation happens. Because the tropics hold 85% of all terrestrial species (at threat of extinction) and also where trees grow faster, hence capturing CO2 faster. However, more recently, we are also recognising a huge threat from our modern agriculture in Europe and North America, in particular. Because of all the chemicals we use (pesticides/ fertilisers), our insects are disappearing: in some places, we have already lost 70% of their population in the last 30-40 years! This is crazy and potentially catastrophic, and we believe we have a great solution to this: agroforestry (in a word, mixing agriculture crops with trees). Every time you see a farmed field with no trees on it, this is nonsense. We have most of our existing landscape to change! But, in general, we need trees everywhere. 17% of Climate change comes from Deforestation. We can’t solve climate change if we don’t solve deforestation. We have created a mechanism to link citizens and companies in a very direct way to the effort to reforest and conserve our forests.
What do you feel are some of the greatest challenges the fashion industry is facing from a sustainability perspective?
The new religion of our society is to consume goods. 500 billion dollars are poured into advertising every year to sustain the belief that buying more makes us happier. Yet we all (or most) have the “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” syndrome. The fashion industry needs not only to look at how the clothes are manufactured but also favour a more sustainable, durable usage of clothes. This may be very tricky as fashion is really set on very short term trends.
What is Tree-Nation doing to address these challenges?
We want to create a new tradition: to plant 1 tree for every product purchased. While this tree will offset the CO2 emissions linked to the purchase, it also makes a great e-gift that binds consumers and brands to their mission of transitioning to more sustainable practices.
What’s next for Tree-Nation?
We want to change the way companies think about offsetting. There used to be a debate if we should reduce or offset. The consensus was “let’s reduce as much as possible then let’s offset what we can’t reduce”. This kind of thinking needs to change because unfortunately, we will not reach the limit of 1.5ºC of temperature increase above pre-industrial levels if we only reduce. The Paris agreements include carbon storage to stay below this 1.5ºC limit. Our strategy is “Offset first”. Because this is quick and allows action without any delay. This also immediately creates a financial burden (a voluntary carbon tax) on the companies who decide to get started. Companies excel at finding solutions to bring down costs. Starting by offsetting is the way to bring everyone inside a company into a cost-cutting mode that can only happen by reducing emissions.
How can people get involved with Tree-Nation?
We offer a wide diversity of options for getting involved.
For companies, we offer services such as offset product where a company can plant a tree for every product sold or offset team, where you can simply offset the emissions of your products and employees while they work for the company.
Citizens can offset their own monthly emissions, those of their family and quite soon also those of their pets, who actually have a significant contribution to climate change, learn more about that HERE.
Whether you are a company or a citizen you will get your own digital forest to help you track your trees and CO2 offsets across all projects you are planting in.
If you want to help more as a company you can link to us on your website, social media or newsletter.
As a citizen, we currently have an ambassador program where you can help grow tree-nation within various areas, completely digitally. For anyone interested in that please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Tree-Nation visit their website below: