Why trust is one of our core values
Hello tree friends,
Today, we would like to shed some light on the question of how important transparency and trust is for us. Trust is one of the core values we stand for - one which is incredibly important to all our customers, both private and corporate. Within the tree-planting sector, many insecurities circulate, not least because of negative headlines and misconduct of some players. Scandals around double-counting or unsustainable mono-culture projects are damaging for the whole sector and undermine trust for an activity which plays a crucial role in the fight against climate change and for a more just world. Many therefore ask us what we think about such problems and how we can make sure that such issues do not happen in our projects.
Tree-planting in countries of the Global South contributes to ecological, social and economic goals simultaneously and can be a real booster for several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (such as climate change, life on land, gender equality, no poverty, zero hunger) if done right. However, tree-planting can also have adverse effects if done wrong - if local communities are not involved, if the wrong or too few species are planted or if there is no long-term monitoring scheme in place. When supporting projects in the Global South, you want to make sure that you work with the right partner who is aware of potential risks and problems and who is on top of the latest developments in science and technology.
For us, “trust” is among our core values (next to kindness, responsibility, passion & mastery) and we want you to feel 100% comfortable when supporting tree-planting projects with Grow My Tree. Therefore, we want to highlight in the following how we seek to fulfill our role as a trustworthy and reliable partner for you. Because if you trust us, we can create even more momentum, support more project partners and create even greater impact on the SDGs.
1: We have a clear sustainability strategy for our projects
Since there is no “one” acknowledged standard for sustainability within tree-planting, we invest lots of time and resources into ensuring sustainability in-house. For that, we developed our own GMT Methodology based on latest scientific research and tech opportunities, including different partners for external verification. We have clear sustainability criteria which all of our project partners need to fulfill while we also try to stay flexible and support a variety of different projects “around the tree”. This means we aim to support both reforestation and agroforestry projects and both larger and smaller projects. We have a clear Onboarding process and monitoring/evaluation scheme for new projects and try to support them on the way towards fulfilling our criteria, by connecting them to other actors in the community and giving advice.
2: We constantly try to improve & learn
We are part of many different networks and organizations, enabling us to stay on top of scientific developments, learn from each other and improve our project and communication approach. Within tree-planting, a lot is happening with regards to tech development (e.g. satellite monitoring, remote sensing) and we are part of alliances like the GreenTech Alliance to connect to different actors seeking to advance the sector. We also attend many conferences around ESG & Sustainability on a regular basis to define opportunities and evaluate their application to the way we work. At the same time, we are building partnerships with academia to scientifically evaluate our successes and are right now establishing our Impact Brain Board with diverse members from different backgrounds to learn and share.
3: We are open for discussion and value any feedback
We are not perfect. The way we are communicating and working together is always open to discussion. We value any sort of feedback, also in terms of critical questions, and try to respond to any suggestions or criticism in a constructive way. In the future, we will also host webinars and discussion rounds around critical topics and try to engage our community as much as possible. With two of our team members having a background in Business Ethics, we know how complex and intertwined all the topics we are dealing with are, and understand the importance of fresh perspectives and critical evaluation. We also try to openly share common problems and risks and stay away from “false promises”: Planting trees is a super complex and long-term project since trees are organic and living matter - whoever tells you differently, does not tell the truth.
4: We openly share our progress and goals
As we are only a small player so far, we of course have different resources in place than very large organizations with great funding and hundreds of employees. However, within our range, we try to be very open with regards to goals and visions and share our progress on a constant basis. In our United Nations Global Compact Communication of Progress 2022 you can read in detail how we seek to protect human and labor rights, how we prevent corruption or environmental damages and how we measure impact. Here you can read how we do things currently, what we plan to implement and change and what our vision is for the future. We try to keep you updated on different social media channels [such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or TikTok), in our Newsletter and Blog Posts and share information from the ground whenever possible. However, we also know that we still have lots to do and have a clear roadmap with regards to where and how we want to improve.
To summarize, we would like to highlight that tree-planting is a super complex activity which needs careful planning and evaluation and long-term monitoring. It is crucial to support only organizations with a strong ethical codex and a clear sustainability strategy. By connecting with other actors in the tree-planting sector, we commonly seek to create momentum for tree-planting since we believe in the great impact it can have on our planet and people.
We hope to remain your trusted partner and change many lives, communities and ecosystems together! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns, please - as always - feel free to share them with us via email@example.com.
From trees with love,