Let's Green the Planet with Treedom
Treedom is the only platform worldwide that allows companies and consumers to plant trees online,financing farmers around the world directly
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
The main office is in Florence, Italy, there is also an active commercial branch in Munich (GR) and a company in Kenya.
Location(s) of impact
Kenya: Kisii, Busia, Thika, Kajiado, Homabay
Cameroon: Centre, East, South Region
Haiti: South, Southeast Region
Malawi local farmer
Kenya Training for locals
Kenya Geolocalize trees
Senegal local farmer
Senegal local farmer
Burkina Faso local farmer
Burkina Faso local farmer
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
- deforestation impacting on a massive scale, with a consequent loss of habitat, desertification, soil deterioration, larger amounts of greenhouse gases emit and displacement of local communities, their traditional way of life & income sources
- small farmers cooperatives lack the chance to obtain financing to start-up agroforestry projects and keeping them active on time
- the lack of communication and information discourage private & corporate donors to finance agroforestry projects run directly by rural communities
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Treedom thanks to its web platform sells a tree planting service, by directly financing cooperatives of farmers who then plant the trees and manage their upkeep. Trees planted (primarily fruit) remain property of local farmers that can use fruits for their alimentation or generate an extra income. Farmers guarantee the caring of the tree for at least 10 years, in the meanwhile local environment benefits from the planting of vegetation always selected according to the needs of the farmers, but also respecting the ecosystem.
The innovation consists of associating each tree to a user who has chosen to plant it, allowing him to interact with it. Each tree has an online page constantly updated, it is geolocalized and photographed, it can help the user to absorb the CO2 produced by their activities, it can be kept or virtually gifted to someone else. Thanks to these features, a tree from Treedom engages people and at the same time, it becomes a communication and marketing tool for companies
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
Up to date, we have planted 379.195 trees in 16 agroforestry projects (9 countries) involving 22.305 farmers. We now have 85.120 consumers adopting trees to offset CO2 emissions. 430 companies have built forests with Treedom to reach goals in CSR, marketing and communication.
A main environmental contribution is trees absorption of CO2, considering 329.780 planted can be estimated at 128.605 tons, and the mitigation of phenomena such as loss of habitat, desertification, soil deterioration.
Socially, thousands of farmers in developing countries can plant fruit trees, guaranteeing food security and extra income. The SROI analysis of Kisii project (Kenya) has stressed out how the social value that each tree brings can be estimated in 8$.
Next to the agroforestry activities Treedom, according to the locals needs and aspiration, foster micro-business project related to fruit process, the construction of small infrastructure (eg. greenhouse, cistern) and specific training.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
In 2013 Treedom has gained the break-even point and in 2016 has generated revenue over €1mln, with a 17% increase compared to 2015. Treedom initiatives are mainly supported by the earned income of tree adoptions 85%.
In its model farmers establish a price for the plantation and care of the trees which are inserted into the website applying a markup. In this way, Treedom makes the operation sustainable and its able to enlarge its projects.
Treedom clients are consumers/business ensuring a wide market, business each year enlarged their forest (Enel adopted 60k trees in 5 years) and 80k users adopt/gift trees every year.15% of the initiative is financed by grants for rural development and innovation.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Many organizations offer tree planting services (eg. Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Nation) but Treedom is the exclusive player to have developed a Unique Value Prop.
The possibility of offering this service with high level of transparency, engagement & versatility, besides using a bottom-up approach.
After being planted by local farmers, each tree is geolocalized so users can follow it by updates & pictures, it also engages people & become a marketing tool for companies who pursue CSR’s goals
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
The idea of the business model was born in 2010 when the founders, Federico Garcea and Tommaso Speroni, were playing Farmville, and asked themselves “If there are millions of people in the world willing to pay for virtual trees, why they should not do so with real trees”.
These first ideas were mixed with the personal experiences of the founders. The company does not have “digital” origins: to the contrary, it started from the founders’ experience in rural development projects and from their desire to reverse a recent dangerous trend, common to many indigenous populations of Southern hemisphere countries: “selling out” the forest to wood and agricultural industries.
Therefore, Treedom went against the tide from its inception and was founded on the idea to incentivize local populations not to cut down trees but to plant them and take care of them.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Upon recommendation from others
Program Design Clarity: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
Our beneficiaries are local organizations of farmers, who in turn will implement the activities with farmers. Projects are developed in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Haiti, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal.
Treedom collects agroforestry proposals from several rural organization, once checked their reliability it realizes an agroforestry plan with the selected partner. Every intervention is planned to face specific characteristics & needs of the project area, tree species planted are native or respecting the local biodiversity, the economic/food safety needs are taking into account in the project decision.
After the validation, the operational phase starts for the perform all the arranged operations on the field, setting in a nursery & to the transplantation at specific times, according to local climate. Once the tree has been transplanted, the project developer has to carry out the geolocation procedure.
For each project, Treedom makes 2 visits (2 weeks) per year, during which experts in cooperation with local partners organize visits to communities & farmers, in order to monitor the activities and to train local coordinator and technicians that will perform the daily activities & report to Treedom team that support them.
Treedom with its partner, perform additional activities as build greenhouses able to implement local trees production, specific training on the plants caring, implement additional economic activities such as the fruit processing and beekeeping.
We are interested in learning more about your initiative's broad impact on sustainable development. Please reply ONLY to the question(s) related to your above focus area.
Treedom aims to create a more resilient environment promoting a sustainable development (SD) that connect north-south in a positive mutual benefit relation.Treedom tackle 3 issues:
-combating climate change & deforestation
-help rural local communities to reach SD
-raise awareness on SD
Treedom is the global landmark for the financing of small agroforestry project erasing the costs of start-up for farmers, guaranteeing a number of high-quality trees (primarily fruit) for each farmer, the construction of a greenhouse and training on its management & trees caring to achieve a long-term sustainability of the interventions. Trees remain a property of local farmers that use fruits for alimentation or generate extra income.
Treedom’s agroforestry project impact also on several aspects according to the context:
-women involved assume a more significant role & economic autonomy generated by the selling of their products
-better schooling of the community that pays school fees with extra incomes
-better use of water resources due to a no forced irrigation & in some cases the construction of a cistern
-improvement of soil quality through the insertion of nitrogen-fixing plants that support the classic annual crops (eg corn) & training on permaculture
-local environment benefits from the planting of vegetation respecting the ecosystem, biodiversity, water availability
-improved food security for farmers (fruit) and livestock (leaves)
-generated micro-business activities
Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?
Beneficiaries: projects are realized directly by locals who receive an economic contribution for tree planting. The fee paid to plant trees is 3 times higher than the market average, ensuring local benefits and a good caring of the trees. Trees products remain available to farmers generating extra income enhancing food security & living standard of their families. Treedom offers a viable business model for local farmers that in this way can be financed. SROI analysis of Kisii project (Kenya) has outlined that each $ spent, produce an equivalent social value of 29$.
Clients: have the chance to take a concrete action in favour of the environment, be more aware of their role in the production/offsetting of CO2, be able to communicate their commitment to sustainable development. Businesses have an effective CSR tool to communicate their efforts in adopting eco-friendly & sustainable behaviour to their customers & employees.
Global: more CO2 absorbed, restoring of forest and biodiversity
How is your initiative funded, now and over the next 5 years?
Our initiative is funded by the revenue of the trees that our users adopt and others services related to the environment that we provide to our clients (businesses and consumers).
Those activities cover the recovery costs that amount to 973.000 euro, in 2016 our total income was of 1.051.763 euro. Treedom's management is expecting to reach over €1,6mln revenue in 2017, with a 59% increase with respect to 2016.
Beside that, in order to expand and enhance its projects, Treedom apply for public and privates grants, raising about 900k euro in the last 4 years.
The expected revenue in 2020 is about 7.264.000 deriving from different markets, 45% from the business one, 45% from the consumer and 10% from grants.
How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the CSV Prize?
Nowadays Treedom is operating mainly in Europe and especially Italy, developing agroforestry projects primarily in Africa.
If Treedom receives the prize it could expand its commercial operation in the US and East Asia and realize a complete development of its product.
One of Treedom goals is to make consumers and companies aware of the CSV, leading to a more environment-friendly society.
This expansion will allow Treedom to develop agroforestry activities also in Asia and Latin America (60 projects expected in 3 years).
How will you leverage an investment from Nestle to expand the impact of your work?
To maximize the impact of the prize we are planning to:
1) develop agroforestry projects involving more communities also in new areas for a total of 60 projects in 3 years (75.253 new farmers & 1.279.317 trees planted). Elaborate a programme of microcredit, impact investing & fair trade channel for the local farmers. Set new strategies to implement micro-business projects with our beneficiaries involving food processing.
2) engage more consumers to adopt trees and help rural communities. Treedom intends to apply a gamification strategy to develop its online offer, to make users recurrent planters and to spread its message virally.
3) promoting consumer products internationally through digital channels and involving global influencers.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact? What’s the projected impact for the coming years? Are you planning to expand your programme into new locations? On what assumptions do you build your scale-up plans?
Treedom to scaling up & maximize its impact has set a strategy that involves 2 main steps related to its commercial expansion & quality of agroforestry activities.
1) consumer product development and its international promotion.
The business development is fundamental; the more trees are adopted, the more farmers can benefit from Treedom activities and a higher quantity of CO2 is sunk.
For the Consumer product development, main elements to be introduced are engagement and gamification strategies. The product must facilitate long-term engagement and fidelization.
2) enhancement and expansion of agroforestry projects.
The increased number of clients will allow expanding our projects in geographical terms (ready to go project in Brazil/Colombia/Tanzania) & numbers of beneficiaries; moreover, we will be able to elaborate microcredit and micro-business activities eg. related to the fruit selling and fair trade channels.
Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, number of full-time vs. part-time staff, board members, etc.)? How will this team evolve as your initiative grows?
Today, the team is composed of 22 members, with 8 years old: 2 officers, 17 full-time permanent employees, and 3 external consultants.
In the past years, the team has become larger, while further expanding its technical background; and is now organized in the following department:
- marketing and advertising,
- web developing and IT,
- environmental consulting and agroforestry projects planning and monitoring.
The team is considering to hire 3 new professionals with an extensive experience in web development, engagement and gamification, agroforestry expert, areas considered to be key for the company’s strategic objectives.
Awards: What awards or honors has the initiative received?
Treedom has received several prizes and awards, among which:
B-Corp Best for the Environment Honorees
Private Innovation Circle, Credit Suisse
Pioneers into Climate Change, European Union Commission
Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Young Leader Italy-United Sta
Organizational leadership: How are you influencing your field of work in the present?
Treedom is influencing its field of work by introducing a more transparent & engaging model in a sector like charity, still based on old-fashion concepts, pushing the sector to adopt this behaviour. In terms of agroforestry activities, Treedom promotes bottom-up projects with a full participation of local farmers, giving them the chance to get financed and creating a parallel market to VER certification now accessible to small projects.
Thanks to its communication activities it’s raising awareness of stakeholders (users, companies and their employees) on the rural sustainable development and the role of trees in Co2 emissions absorption.
Treedom message involve 83.127 users, 421 businesses, 22.103 farmers, 79.364 followers.
Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend the Ashoka Impact Boot camp and Creating Shared Value Prize Live Pitch Event at the World Water Forum 13-16 March 2018
Yes, I am available to attend the events on 13-16 March 2018