OVERVIEW: Trees4Travel is a ‘business for good’ that empowers planet and people positive travel. Working with future-minded travel companies, it calculates the impact of journeys by translating trips into trees and then planting trees in developing countries to absorb CO2 emissions, helping to restore forests, biodiversity, and supporting local communities by enabling them to earn an income and lift themselves out of poverty. In addition, every tree comes with a share of an investment into United Nations’ certified renewable energy programs, further reducing emissions and creating climate positivity through sustainable, ethical, and regenerative action. Trees4Travel is part of the UN’s Environment Program; One Trillion Trees campaign and supports 13 of 17 UN global sustainability goals.
Founders: Elkie and Nico Nicholas
Launch date: Start of 2021
Experience: Serial entrepreneurs, seven years in travel tech
Geographic reach: US, Canada, UK, Australia, India, Greece, France, Germany, Poland
Team: 40 (includes representation)
CREDENTIALS: Trees4Travel is a self-funded business, aiming for B-corp status. It collaborates with robust tree planting organisations and also the Crowther Lab (restor.eco system) to carefully select the projects it supports, mindful of their longevity and local impact. It also invests in VERRA & UN Certified Carbon Credits from renewable energy projects.
PROPRIETARY PROPOSITION: A mantra of ‘Simple, Impactful, Affordable’ neatly sums up the proposition. An offsetting scheme with a proprietary calculator based on the latest IPCC, DEFRA & GHG protocols sits behind a platform designed to engage corporations and their travellers with highly-visual reporting and information on the CO2 they produce and the projects they are supporting to negate their carbon impact. Further enhancements of more granular calculations will be launched in 2022. There is also an excellent marketing suite to promote a sharing of responsibility and education.
TARGET MARKET: Trees4Travel engages both directly with the corporate and the TMC community offering both simple file uploads and API connectivity. It is also expanding its partnership network in the leisure industry. The value is in the simplicity of both the messaging and the business model.
COMMERCIAL MODEL: Trees4Travel states openly that it is not a charity but equally shares a very transparent commitment in its commercial model that revenue is split 67% for tree planting and renewable energy and 33% for management of the business.
BLACK BOX COMMENT: Elkie is an absolute delight to speak with. Her knowledge of her subject matter and her passion are very infectious and the launch of this business feels very mission-led. I was impressed by the diligence applied to the selection of the projects they support and the huge importance placed on the community impact they have. The beauty of the business is in its simplicity but equally the powerful way in which the marketing toolkit really does encourage a collective responsibility for mindful travel. I love the transparency and openness towards the commercial model and I feel they really do allay fears people may have had in the past regarding the credentials of offsetting.
Review by Paula Cullen, Partner Black Box Partnerships