Could you be accidentally greenwashing by promoting a tree planting scheme?
Tree planting can feel like a “quick win” when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability – especially with so many charities now making it accessible for individuals and brands alike.
People have begun to look for new ways to have a positive impact and reduce their carbon footprint, and it’s clear that shoppers expect the same from the brands they buy from.
Now it seems that almost every brand on Instagram “plants a tree for every purchase”.
UK politicians even jumped on the tree planting trend in the 2019 election and political parties tried to outbid each other on how many trees they could promise to plant.
But is tree planting really the best way to have a positive impact, or is it just greenwashing?
Planting trees is important.
Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide – one of the gases contributing to the greenhouse effect causing global warming. Deforestation accounts for 10% of global emissions.
Trees have also been shown to help cool the streets in cities. They clean the air and have a positive impact on air pollution (another growing environmental problem), their roots help prevent soil erosion and they provide an important habitat for wildlife.
There’s no denying that trees are an important part of the solutionto so many environmental issues we’re currently facing.
But for environmentally conscious businesses, trees have become a powerful marketing tool too.
And while planting trees is beneficial, the way companies approach tree planting could be doing more harm than good.
So it’s important to know what questions to ask and what research to do if you want to ensure your tree planting scheme isn’t greenwashing: