Planting One Trillion Trees by 2030? You Betcha. One Tree Planted, TenTree Spotlight, and Meet TenTree Co-founder Derrick Emsley

by | Apr 23, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Planting one trillion trees by 2030? You betcha! Plus, and a focus on the apparel company established to plant trees: TenTree. And Meet TenTree Co-founder Derrick Emsley.




We reported earlier on The Climate Daily that 2021 is year 1 of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. That Decade runs from 2021 through 2030. 2030 coincides with the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The UN resolution that started it all stated, among other things the importance of achieving “The future we want”, in which the role of ecosystem restoration in achieving sustainable development was highlighted implementation targets with concrete policies and actions, and the need for collective efforts to promote sustainable development in an innovative, coordinated, environmentally sound, open and shared manner,

Recognizing  that forests, wetlands, drylands and other natural ecosystems are essential for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and improved human wellbeing, and that the absence of such created land degradation, erosion, drought, biodiversity loss and water scarcity, the One Trillion Tree Challenge was born. And so to

Trees and forests are a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis and biodiversity collapse. That’s why aims to mobilize, connect, and empower the global reforestation community to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030. It primarily targets the private sector. So, if you’re not a government, check out

DEEPER DIVE: UN Decade on Restoration,, Ecopreneurship



There’s an old saying, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” This Earth Month, the focus is on trees. Now more than ever, trees are central to the restoration of the natural world.   


Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines. For example, if you’ve ever taken an Aspirin, it comes from the bark of a tree!

Today our spotlight is on Based in Shelbourne, VT, OneTreePlanted was founded in 2014. According to its 2020 annual report, this group planted almost 4.5 million trees in North America, over 1.3 million in Central and South America, more than 3.3. million throughout Asia and the Pacific—including almost a quarter million in 2019 fire-ravaged Australia. And six African nations benefited from the planting of almost 900K OneTreePlanted trees.

The organization employs six “pillars” as impact-measuring metrics for their projects:

  1.   Air quality improvement
  2.   Social impact
  3.   Water quality improvement
  4.   Human health
  5.   Biodiversity and
  6.   Climate

In 2020, partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda with a plan to plant and restore 3,000,000 trees, in an effort to help protect that nation’s chimpanzee habitat.

DEEPER DIVE: 1 Trillion Tree Project,, Trees Matter International Tree Foundation, Trees Forever



There are tree planting organizations, there are companies that have adopted the idea of “buy our products and we’ll plant a tree.” And there’s Tentree. It was founded in 2012 by couple of Canadian tree planters looking to reforest the Earth. Since its 2012, Tentree has planted 50 million new trees. By 2030, the company’s goal is 1 billion. How do they do it? A couple of ways. First, the apparel company makes lifestyle apparel that blurs the line between strictly indoor and outdoor gear.

And then there’s social media. As of May 2019, the company’s Instagram account has 2.7 million followers, and when it posted a picture of a tiny tree with the promise of planting 500,000 trees for 5 million likes, it became the third most-liked Instagram post of all time — right after Kylie Jenner’s debut photo of her daughter.  

Tentree’s impact is measurable. In Madagascar, their project employs as many as 300 people in the high planting times. More than jobs, replanting the mangrove channels where the local fish spawn is helping to bring back the fishing and supporting entire ecosystems. In Senegal, they’re working with over 200 farmers, focused on working with farmers and teaching them how to plant medicinal and fruit trees – Moringa, mango, papaya, guava, etc. – in order to pull themselves out of poverty caused by unsustainable peanut farming. 

In Nepal TenTree has a site at the Chilean national park planting in the buffer zone in order to protect the park and wildlife. It’s also working on an employ-to-plant project in the mountains that is focused on a soil stabilization. 

TenTree’s latest innovation is a “veritree” system at some of their largest projects, which is essentially an inventory management system for trees. Attached to the item of clothing purchased is a QR code that you can scan which tells you where the trees are planted and what the benefits are to that community. In the future, they plan for it to have maps, GPS and photos from on the ground.

For Tentree co-founder Derrick Emsley, it all comes down to authenticity. “Authenticity is important to us because it is who we are.” Emsley told Business Insider. “We started a tree-planting company that sells apparel, not the other way around.”

DEEPER DIVE: The Good Trade, Business Insider, Forbes



Meet Derrick Emsley, a member of the Forbes 2020 “30 under 30” crew. Emsley is CEO and co-founder of TenTree, an apparel company built around planting 10 trees for every product sold. To date, TenTree has planted over 50 million trees involving projects around the planet.

Trees were rooted in THE founders’ storylines from their very beginning. At the ages of 16 and 17, brothers Kalen and Derrick Emsley started a tree-planting business focused on offsetting carbon emissions for a variety of companies. They planted over 150,000 trees while selling carbon offset contracts that totaled over $1 million dollars.

That COMPANY CLOSED. So, fresh out of university, they and fellow co-founders took a different approach to the same objective: Plant trees. By the millions. Says, Emsley, “we just wanted to create something that allowed us to plant trees —. In hindsight, there are definitely easier ways to do that than start an apparel brand, but we’ve been able to create this incredible community around positivity in the environment, not taking yourself too seriously and taking that first step.”

The group made a conscious choice to become a Certified B Corporation instead of choosing the more traditional, non-profit [RAOTE] route. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corporations are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

“We personally believe in the power of social enterprise to solve today’s issues. As a company, if we can provide a product or service that consumers value, and we then tie a meaningful social program to that product, I believe that will be more effective in the long run than asking for donations and handouts.

50 million trees planted TOWARD THE 1 BILLION GOAL , “It’s what we’ve been trying to build as a company that connects people with tree-planting in a really powerful way. At the end of the day, we’re not planting trees, it’s the person that’s purchasing the product who is. You want to feel it. We’re just the vehicle that’s making it possible,” says Derrick.

DEEPER DIVE: Environment911, Forbes, TenTree Blog