Let's Green the Planet with Treedom! The web platform that allows planting trees with a click, providing environmental and social benefits.

Treedom allows users to plant trees online financing agroforestry projects worldwide. So far has planted 1 million trees with 69,153 farmers

Photo of Elisabetta Meconcelli
0 15

Written by

Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Federico Garcea

Initiative's representative date of birth

30/09/1981

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Italy

Headquarters location: city

Firenze

Where are you making a difference?

Nepal-Rasuwa; KenyaBusia-Kisii-Muranga-Thika-Oloitokito; Haiti-Chantal Torbeck-Macaya; Cameroon-Yaoundé; Senegal-Casamance; Madagascar-Vohiday; Thailand-Chiang Mai; Tanzania-Tarakea; Guatemala-Petén

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.treedom.net/en/

Date Started

4/2010

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €1mil - €5mil

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Year 2010: every day, over 30 million people played Farmville, an online farming simulator. Among them, two young Italian men enjoyed cultivating farms and using their credit cards to plant virtual trees. Unlike everyone else, Federico Garcea and Tommaso Speroni had an idea to bring reality and the virtual world together, creating a website where anyone could plant a tree remotely and follow it online, allowing a farmer to plant that actual tree. They have, therefore created Treedom. The idea didn't come by chance. Federico and Tommaso were working on a sustainable development project in Cameroon, witnessing every day the disappearance of entire acres of forest, sold out by the local population to the wood and agriculture industries.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In the last decades, we have witnessed how environmental deterioration has had effects on the natural world and social well-being. Treedom decided to take concrete action by focusing on the deforestation and mismanagement of forest systems in rural communities. It is also targeting the lack of funding opportunities for small farmers to start up agroforestry activities, the loss of biodiversity, the information bias that discourages donors from financing initiatives managed by rural communities.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Treedom platform (www.treedom.net) allows companies and consumers to plant trees online, directly financing farmers around the world. After being planted by a local farmer, each tree is geolocated and photographed, allowing users to follow it and receive updates and pictures. Because of this, Treedom's trees are engaging and become a CSR tool for companies. The business model and the company's operational standards help to preserve and restore biodiversity. For each project, choices are made according to its status– negative alterations to prepare the ground are avoided and the removal of pre-existing trees is forbidden. Trees selection must accommodate native species or those naturalized in the area. These must not be invasive, constitute a threat to the local flora/fauna, or create a risk for water reserves. Moreover, Treedom is mainly adopting an agroforestry approach integrating tree planting into an agricultural system. This produces a virtuous interaction between species and the sustainable use of resources and land. The tree selection is determined by Treedom's staff and project developers, complying with the environmental features of the area and the local communities

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Treedom has introduced innovation and transparency in a traditional sector, taking old-fashioned concepts and transforming a good deed into a modern tool of communication and engagement, that provide funds for small farmers to start-up agroforestry activities. After being planted by a local farmer, each tree is geolocated and photographed, allowing users to follow their tree and receive updates and pictures. Thanks to these features, Treedom's trees are engaging and, at the same time, can become marketing tools for an increasing number of global companies who pursue CSR objectives. This approach is Treedom's Unique Selling Proposition - a tree planting service with a high level of transparency, engagement, communication, and versatility.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

The initiative relies on collaboration among different groups, such as consumers, companies, NGOs, rural cooperatives, and farmers. The model calls for direct financing of local NGOs and rural cooperatives (originators) that work with Treedom on specific agroforestry plans to reach, train, and involve the farmers. Once available in Treedom’s eCommerce, trees are sold to users or companies. For customers, financing the planting of a tree can mean contributing to an environmental and social cause, neutralizing CO2 emissions, establishing an emotional bond with their tree, or an original and thoughtful gift. For business clients, it can mean a new corporate social responsibility initiative, a marketing strategy tool, a way to engage stakeholders, or an opportunity to communicate the company’s commitment to sustainability. At the moment, Treedom has a community of 398,422 users, 2,346 companies, 69,153 farmers, 20 NGOs/cooperatives, and bout 250,000 users on social networks.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

To date, we have planted 1,175,670 trees in 27 agroforestry projects (16 countries) involving 69,157 farmers. We have 398,422 consumers adopting trees, and 2,346 companies have built forests with Treedom. These numbers impact the absorption of CO2, estimated at 350,382,100 tons, and the mitigation of phenomena such as loss of habitat, desertification, soil deterioration. Thousands of farmers in developing countries can plant fruit trees, guaranteeing food security, and extra income. SROI analysis of the Kisii project (Kenya) has estimated the social value of each tree at 25$. Treedom also has an impact on the rise of awareness on environmental issues, reforestation, and biodiversity. On the one side, through the training of farmers involved in agroforestry projects, and on the other through communication and marketing activities. The Treedom message reaches its customers, but also a broad public on social networks, with an audience of about 258,727 users.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Treedom is well-positioned to become a global landmark for agroforestry and reforestation projects. Its impact business model is considered innovative and disruptive by organizations such as the Financial Times. Since 2010, Treedom has always pursued the principles of efficiency and effectiveness, alongside CSR goals and has reached a positive EBITDA in 2018 with a revenue of over €4M in 2019. Treedom to date successfully planted more than one million trees; the goal is to plant over 20 million trees by 2022, absorbing CO2 and financing 200,000 farmers. To do so, Treedom will require investment in product development and engagement strategy, marketing and international expansion, and forestry project's area expansion.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Treedom directly finances small agroforestry projects around the world, realizing sustainable ecosystems and allowing thousands of farmers to support the initial costs of planting trees, ensuring food autonomy and income opportunities over time. Clients have the chance to take concrete action in favour of the environment, be more aware of their role in the production/offsetting of CO2, and to be able to communicate their commitment to sustainable development. Businesses have a valid CSR tool to communicate their efforts in adopting sustainable behaviour to their customers & employees. Globally more CO2 is absorbed with forests and biodiversity restored –all with a transparent system.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

In Treedom's model, farmers establish a price for the planting and the upkeep of the trees, we apply a mark-up then insert these on the website. Treedom makes the operation sustainable by applying a fee to its users, which can be individuals or companies. Consumers purchase trees through the website; with business clients, the sale is driven by direct negotiation, using the same fee principle. Treedom has a robust financial profile, and in recent years its revenue has increased significantly. The company reached a positive EBITDA in 2018 and 2019 budget forecasts targeting more and more private consumers and foreign markets, reaching €4M in revenue in 2019. Treedom's management is expecting to increase revenue in 2020, +154% vs. 2019.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Treedom is supervised and managed by Federico Garcea, Tommaso Speroni, Martina Fondi, and Susanna Finardi. The staff (average age 35) includes another 26 members (six are also partners). Team departments are marketing & advertising, accounting, web development and IT, agroforestry planning & monitoring. Treedom is in the process of hiring another eight professionals: three communication managers for the European markets, three sales agents, one forestry manager, one marketing agent.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

12. Connection to Biodiversity: How does your project directly contributes to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity? Please share data to support your answer.

Treedom works in several regions with extremely different climatic, environmental, and social conditions. It promotes agroforestry systems in areas where cutting and burning, erosion, and climate change have drastically reduced biodiversity. Treedom forestry plans are a mix of species 70% fruit and 30% forest. These last ones with multiple functions (nitrogen fixative, melliferous, biomass, etc.). In total, 235 species aimed to limit and restore the loss of local biodiversity. Projects also focus on afforestation, introducing species that are endangered or lost. To give some examples, Treedom has planted: I) 33,000 white, red, and black mangroves in Senegal, Kenya, and Honduras. An area of 5 hectares; II) 5,900 Andasonia Digitata (baobab) in Kenya, increasingly rare species due to climate change and nomadic pasture farming; III) 185 rosewood plants in Madagascar (Vohiday forest). A species considered at high risk of extinction with difficulties in production and introduction.

13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples that show how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.

The Madagascar project, beyond the edge of the Vohiday Forest – where itinerant agriculture is practiced often by burning forest areas and old farmland – is a great example. The project offers a sustainable and long-term alternative to this type of agriculture. It foresees for the planting of 45,000 trees with a variety of species, including Coffee (Arabica & Robusta), Mango, Lychee, Papaya, Avocado, Tephra, Acacia and Rosewood. The designed mix of forest and fruit species ensures the creation of an integrated agroforestry system, able to offer the right biodiversity and the possibility, for the communities, to benefit from various crops during the seasons. For this to be possible, Treedom with local partners built five nurseries in which to make new trees grow. For each nursery, 160 farmers have been assigned to the plants and received proper training for the care, management, and maintenance of the trees. 800 local farmers benefit from the fruit of the planted trees

14. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?

Several organizations offer tree planting services as non-profit organisations (e.g. The Arbor Day Foundation, American Forests, One Tree Planted, etc.) and environmental consultants (e.g. PUR Projet, LifeGate). Still, Treedom is the only organisation that has developed a system with a high level of: I) Local impact, financing small farmers who would otherwise cut off from the funding system. II) Transparency, offering a platform where clients can plant and “visit” their tree virtually. This approach supports the planting service while providing customers with photos and reports of projects. III) Engagement & communication. The core innovation is linking each tree to the user (who can gift it) to demonstrate its environmental action, allowing customers to experience a high degree of engagement. Furthermore, it also provides a complete range of communication services, transforming trees into a CSR tool. IV) Versatility, with an offering suitable for consumers and corporations.

15. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Treedom has received several recognitions, including: One of the 100 "digital champions" nominated by the Financial Times in 2018; 2018/2016 B-Corp Best for the Environment Honoree; Private Innovation Circle, Credit Suisse 2015; Pioneers into Climate Change, European Union Commission; Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2014; FSC Chain of Custody certification; Global Compact of the United Nations since 2012.

16. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Since it was founded in 2010, Treedom has always pursued the principles of efficiency and effectiveness, together with CSR goals, in a constant drive to create value. Treedom reached a positive EBITDA in 2018 and revenues grew over 4,000K in 2019. Our initiative is funded by: Earned income - consumers sales 52,5%; Earned income - corporate sales 45%; Grants by foundations and public institution 2,5%

17. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge? How would you invest the prize money to leverage your work?

Treedom is influencing their field of work in several ways. They are introducing a more transparent and engaging model in a traditional sector, still rooted in outdated concepts, encouraging innovation. In agroforestry activities, Treedom promotes bottom-up projects with the full participation of local small farmers, giving them the possibility to be financed and creating a parallel market to VER certification not accessible to small projects. Treedom provides users an alternative consumption model with a strong socio-environmental impact, establishing an emotional bond with their tree, similar to the one borne of long-distance animal adoption. Moreover, thanks to its communication activities, it is raising awareness among stakeholders (users, companies and their employees) about sustainable development issues and the role of trees in the absorption of CO2 emissions. It is pushing an increasing number of companies to adopt CSR policies with a strong environmental and social impact.

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. 1) OVERALL EVALUATION

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. 2) CONNECTION TO BIODIVERSITY

5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 0%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 66.7%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 33.3%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 33.3%

3- Maybe. - 33.3%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 33.3%

3- Maybe. - 33.3%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 33.3%

3- Maybe. - 33.3%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

6. 6) Is this entry ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKING?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 66.7%

3- Maybe. - 33.3%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 66.7%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 33.3%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 66.7%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 100%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 66.7%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 33.3%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 100%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 0%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 100%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 100%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 0%

View more

Attachments (2)

Treedom Presentation.pdf

Treedom Model

Forestry projects.pdf

Some of Treedom Forestry Projects

0 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment