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Posted on 2019-10-31

Tree and Tree Planting: Busting Myths

Trees are vital to our existence.

Now that we’ve stated the obvious– the biggest plants on the planet help in preventing soil erosion support wildlife, store carbon and give us oxygen. Trees are the longest surviving species on our planet. They have been around for almost 370 million years. According to an independent study, it has been estimated that there are approximately 3 trillion mature trees in the world today1.

For the planet to function in a balanced manner without drastic changes in weather and climate, to prevent natural disasters and for the wellness of all living beings on earth, we must look after our existing forests and plant more trees. It is also of critical importance that we preserve the woodlands, rainforests, and trees in our urban settings, for example, the parks and lakes that are the lung spaces in our congested urban jungles.

Some of the more popular myths when it comes to trees and tree planting are:

#1: Anyone can plant a tree

One of the most common myths is that anyone can plant a tree, even a child. Just planting a tree or rather a sapling as it is called when we plant one is easy but for that sapling to grow into a healthy tree that will provide you with optimal benefits requires thoughtful care and consideration. It is essential to select the right tree for the right place. Proper planting techniques should be used and provide the sapling all the nourishment it needs so that it grows into a healthy tree. For example, if a tree is pruned consistently for the first 3-5 years, it will result in a stronger, more robust tree with lower maintenance costs in the later years as the tree ages.

There’s a way about this, though– EcoMatcher allows you to be that ‘anyone’ actually capable of planting a tree. Through partnerships with vetted organisations, EcoMatcher enables individuals to plant a tree in their name in different parts of the world. Corporates looking to make a change can indulge in corporate tree planting as part of sustainable environmental practices in the workplace.

#2: Trees drink up a lot of water

That trees require a lot of water is another popular myth. Trees do require water but probably not as much as you think. The thumb rule generally is that no matter how drought-tolerant a species of tree is, younger trees (1-3 years) do need consistent watering throughout the summer months to survive. Generally, mature established trees require less care and don’t need much looking after. If drought conditions occur, then all trees need to be watered and looked after as per requirement.

Proper planting techniques of the tree saplings are also essential for healthy growth. It is a well-propagated myth that if you plant the trees deep, it encourages strong, deep roots. Trees should not be planted deeper than the top of its root ball. Improper planting is one of the greatest causes of tree and shrub fall.

#3: Trees need to be staked

Another popular myth about tree planting is that the trees should be staked after planting. There is only partial truth to this myth, as a young sapling might need protection against strong winds to survive, it is necessary to remove the stakes after the first year so that the growth of the tree is neither hindered nor restricted.

It is a widespread belief that providing lots of mulch is good for trees. Mulch is quite important as it suppresses weeds, retains moisture and protects the roots against extreme temperatures. However, around 2 to 3 inches of mulch is more than sufficient for a tree to thrive. Excess amounts of mulch can prevent soil aeration and moisture.

#4: Trees can heal themselves

The popular belief is that trees can heal itself or the wounds inflicted on them very fast. This is a fallacy. The trees cannot repair damaged tissues2. They use a mechanism called compartmentalization, where trees isolate the damaged areas from the healthy areas. These damaged tissues will remain so within the tree during their entire lifetime. So, it’s a false concept to think it’s okay to harm trees as they will heal themselves. This is why it’s crucial to exercise caution while using equipment like lawnmowers around trees so as not to harm them.

#5: All trees are the same

A tree growing in an urban environment is different from one that thrives in a forest. The myth is that since trees in the forest do not require any looking after, the tree growing in my front yard does not require any either. There are a lot of challenges facing the tree in the urban area as pollution, confined spaces, asphalt, concrete and limited area for rooting. Trees in urban areas need special care whereas forests are not in need of regular intervention and are interconnected in an ecosystem. 

#6: There’s no harm in tree topping

Tree topping is one of the most harmful practices to do to a tree. It’s the practice of removing entire treetops, branches or trunks from the top half of the tree, leaving lateral branches that aren’t mature enough to take on the role of a ‘terminal leader’. Topping is one of the major causes of tree decline and death and should strictly not be practiced. This practice often creates weak, stressed trees that are expensive to maintain in the long run.

#7: Trees crack sidewalks

Most often trees are held responsible for the cracking of sidewalks and paths in most urban areas. This is a popular misconception as, more often, the sidewalks and pathways are designed without keeping in mind the nature and kind of soil it’s built on. Construction design of sidewalks needs to vary according to the nature of the land corresponding to the area. It is often poor design and soil conditions that allow the roots to follow the gaps created and not the trees by themselves.

The final word

Arming oneself with information and knowledge about growing and looking after the trees that are already there and planting new ones will go a long way in spurring environmental change. It’s a core facet of safeguarding our environment and reducing the impacts of climate change, but also encouraging both flora and fauna to flourish, as they should, naturally. With EcoMatcher, proper tree planting and tracking is one click away.

Posted on 2019-10-24

A Zero-Waste Gifting Idea that is Out of the Box

Zero waste lifestyles are more than a passing trend – they are the need of the hour. 

With most people, especially corporates, understanding the impacts of climate change, the demand for climate change solutions in almost every market – much like global warming itself – has gone from non-existent to red hot. 

Of course, the journey to a completely sustainable lifestyle is a challenge that most find overwhelming. Businesses asked to integrate environmentally sustainable work practices are thrown off by the sheer investment they imagine it would take even to begin. However, taking the first step is actually more straightforward than it seems. 

As is with anything, it is the smallest steps that make the most significant impact, and one way to start is gifting. Zero-waste gifting ideas are the groundbreaking avenue corporates never knew they needed to make their way into more environmentally conscious business practices. 

For unique corporate gifts to employee engagement initiatives, eco-friendly practices like tree planting and adopting a tree are the gifts that keep giving, quite literally. 

Imagine a world where every coffee mug, desk calendar or other generic corporate gift is replaced with a tree- one that you can adopt, own, and be sure is contributing to the restoration of forests around the globe. That future is well within reach when you partner with tree-planting firms such as EcoMatcher.

If you’re thinking about how tree planting can benefit your company, here’s how: 

Offsetting Your Carbon Footprint By Planting A Forest 

Corporates on the path to eco-consciousness are increasingly trying new ways to offset their carbon footprint. CSR is one way to go, but the ratio of expense to impact is a concern for businesses big and small. So how do you make a lasting impact without bearing unaffordable costs? Corporate tree planting for sustainability.

Tree planting is the transplantation of tree seedlings and the best way to contribute to the global reforestation movement. Not only is tree planting more economical, but it is also a tangible way to fulfil sustainability goals as a company. 

While tree planting seems like such an impactful cause, you’re probably wondering how these trees are planted in the first place- do you do it yourself? Where do you even begin? It is simple- when you partner with certified tree-planting firms like EcoMatcher, you contribute to vetted, established foundations that plant the trees for you. The app allowsyou to track your tree’s location, progress and even see the professional farmer who planted it so that you know exactly where your contribution is going and the impact it is making. 

Whether you are celebrating a milestone, rewarding your employees, giving back to your community, or joining hands with your consumers to create environmental change, corporate tree planting or adopting a tree is the perfect starting point towards a more conscious business and a more sustainable future. 

For instance, if every milestone your company reached was celebrated with the planting of trees, your success directly affects the increase in your environmental impact, making that success that much more meaningful. A company forest with EcoMatcher is a minimum of 1000 trees and the more milestones your company reaches, the more your company forest can grow! 

Growing With Your Employees 

Of course, adopting sustainability on a corporate scale is only a success when it is integrated at every level down to the roots. As a company, you want every part of your business to now participate in this cause and that starts with your employees. Getting your employees on board with eco-friendly practices opens up a host of new ways to engage with them.

Taking up sustainability as a responsibility shows your employees you care about a future beyond your business’, and giving them an opportunity to be part of the initiative helps them contribute to and feel part of a larger cause that they may have wanted to already, but didn’t know how to or have the means to be a part of before. 

Tree planting is a fun, easy and exciting new way to celebrate an internal event, amp up an employee engagement initiative, or to reward employees and show them appreciation. Gone are the days of template gifts – employees these days want to feel like they are a part of the company, and expect meaning and intent behind every corporate interaction. 

With EcoMatcher, you can give your employees the opportunity to not only be a part of your cause but to also have their own story of contributing to environmental sustainability. Each tree they plant allows them to have a tangible token of the good they are doing for the planet and it aligns them more closely to a cause they already believe in. 

Championing Gifts That Keep Giving 

When it comes to appreciating your employees, stakeholders or peers, coming up with unique corporate gifts that outdo the last one is always a challenge. Switching to zero-waste gifts shows that you, as a company, are not only keeping up with trends and being creative but also that your gifts go beyond superficial pleasantries and actually have meaning. 

In the gifting space, there’s always an answer to the problem “I can’t decide what to get” – the gift card. Gift cards allow the receiver to have some autonomy over their gift and choose what they like. If you have spent days searching for corporate gifts online and gift cards from unique sustainable brands and come up short, the TreeCard is a gift card that might just do the trick for you. TreeCards come with no storage, packaging or wastage issues.

The best part about the TreeCard, other than the trees, is that they can be designed according to your brand guidelines to make them more personal! All EcoMatcher does is add their own QR code to help track and manage your tree. 

Eco-friendly corporate gifts are great, but when they are personal and tailor-made, they are even better. 

Corporate tree-planting is a great way to show that your company cares about the environment and that this ideology is not just for the press or a passing phase- it trickles down to everything, even gifting. 

With more companies steering towards eco-gifting, choosing trees is a present for the present and a gift for the future. 

Posted on 2019-10-20

How Tree-Planting Can Increase Revenues

Tree planting has for long been heralded as one of the most feasible large-scale climate change solutions. But the business viability of the process is just about coming to light now, with private firms taking just as much interest as responsible government entities across the world.

According to the World Resources Institute, global governments have committed to restoring 160 million hectares of deforested land alone (1). Imagine, then, if private firms, for-profit and not-for-profit organisations got together to work towards the same goals? We’d have an environmental revolution, led by tree planting, in the bag.

But environmentally sustainable business practices are also negatively looked upon as resource draining and time-consuming. Time-consuming it may be, but research has found that environmental sustainability projects have the power to drive sales and revenue regardless of the industry, target audience or product. And if sustainability will secure the future of humans and all other life on Earth, then perhaps there is no other moral alternative.

Here’s the lowdown on some ways tree planting can increase revenue:

Provides Returns on Investments

By investing in tree planting and through this, in the restoration economy, businesses become part of the larger network of firms investing in environmental change in hopes of returns. The returns aren’t just financial– they’re also futuristic. By investing in the environment’s growth, businesses are making life in the future more and more sustainable, which by default means their name is tagged alongside the restoration of the environment for future generations.

Opens Up New Avenues for Collaborations and Partnerships

When governments and private organisations pledge to support reforestation and climate change, chances are they have a big vision and money to invest but don’t know how to go about it. This is a golden chance for companies whose services are design, direction, management and implementation of these projects. This not only feeds the sustainability engine, but also allows willing participants to execute their vision through expert partnerships rather than fumble around on their own and waste potential.

It’s on a similar note that EcoMatcher was founded– to allow private firms and businesses to scale their tree planting vision as a partner organisation. Similar growth pathways are available for other firms willing to tap into this reservoir of potential.

Cross-Sell with Related Products

Cross selling is touted as a very profitable avenue of sales for consumer-oriented firms. It involves offering products to customers that are similar or related to what they’re buying or what’s in their browser history. This is a gold mine for companies whose products are somewhat related to the environment– re-usable water bottles, trekking gear, travel products, even diary or grocery goods.

However, cross selling in this case doesn’t need to have a connection, if the way tree planting is marketed is as a sustainable measure or just a little addition to an already-filled basket. EcoMatcher offers a WooCommerce plugin that allows customers to click on ‘Plant a Tree’ in the check out section, where buyers are already prepared to pull the trigger on the purchase. A tree gets added to their order at USD 3.49 — the same price as a medium-sized Frappuccino in a chain café (there’s a marketing tip for you!).

Tap Into Sustainable-Minded Customers

88% of surveyed consumers wanted brands and businesses to help them make a difference– a golden ticket, if anything (2). Sustainable brands can bag more square feet on retail or e-retail shelves, and are more in demand than mass-produced or unethical counterparts. This is a burgeoning market, one that shouldn’t be taken for granted or passed off as a fad. Consumers increasingly drift towards brands that are sustainable and are open about their path towards sustainable development goals and targets.

Mistaking the market for being gullible enough to believe ‘greenwashing’, however, can be a grave error. Consumers consistently do their own research before committing to a brand, so if there’s a loophole in a business’ environmental sustainability projects, chances are it’ll do more harm than good. This is a market that is ready to turn loyal, as long as businesses are equally willing to do good and be transparent about the extent of their projects (3).

On a final note, tree planting is also a harbinger of technological innovations and advancements. More and more companies are turning to technology to quicken the pace of tree planting — for some, it’s a personal moral conviction while for others, it’s a business-oriented strategy that can ramp up revenue or returns on investments.

Either way, the environment will greatly benefit from collaborations between visionary organisations and results-driven partner organisations when it comes to reforestation.

Posted on 2019-10-13

Tree Planting for e-Commerce 101

It’s true– money does grow on trees.

Trees fall under the ambit of natural capital, which is defined as the world’s repository of natural assets, including air, soil water and all living beings. In today’s conversations around climate change and global warming, deforestation and tree planting are inevitably brought up, and environmental sustainability is on the minds of corporations big and small.

E-commerce and online retail have changed the way the world does business, but more and more challenges have cropped up in the area of sustainability. Packaging used by retailers and changing purchasing habits of consumers have been driving forces in e-commerce stores veering off the wrong end.

However, many believe that retailers must take active steps to make global shopping, delivery, consumption and production more sustainable– some, like Canada’s Loblaws and China’s JD, have already begun the process. This is where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainable business goals and the restoration economy come into the picture.

Today, the restoration economy is booming, and more and more firms are seeing massive growth opportunities in tree planting.

But every business decision must be profitable, so is there money in offering tree planting or tree planting services to customers on your e-commerce store? Short answer, there is. And here’s how to do it:

Place Tree Planting Plugins at Checkout

Checkout is the final stage in a buyer cycle, where customers have all they need in their cart, have made purchase decisions and will follow through with the payment. By placing tree planting services at checkout, like with EcoMatcher’s WooCommerce plugin, you’ve already got your customer in a state of mind where they’re willing to pay, and that’s half the battle won. The costs of a tree (or trees) are probably even lower than shipping prices on some sites!

Reduce Expenses on Corporate Social Responsibility by Planting Forests

CSR is an undertaking that most organisations carry out today, not least to engage with customers more and come off as environmentally aware. However, most CSR programmes can cost an arm and a leg, especially when done at an organisational level. That said, private e-commerce companies can not sit back and watch as governments pull the load. Partnering with firms like EcoMatcher is a much more cost-effective way to play this out responsibly. By offering tree planting and tree adoption services to customers, e-commerce stores will not only tick a few CSR boxes, but also make some profits off the sales.

Tailor Your Tree Planting Pitch and Branding to the Target Audience

Aside from the fact that they’re beautiful, trees have a lot more benefits that impact humans on individual levels. Planting trees increases the number of jobs, protects biodiversity and last but not least limits global climate change. Plug these benefits in when you’re branding your tree-planting offer, so that you make an impact and generate more sales.

This sales tactic will extend the scope of the offer far beyond profit — it generates an emotional response in the customer, leading them to feel like they are a part of something bigger, just by adding a few dollars to their order.

The More You Invest in Tree Planting, the More Returns

At EcoMatcher, the more you invest, the better your margins. Our new WooCommerce plugin allows e-commerce stores to install a simple ‘Plant a Tree’ at checkout. Trees will be assigned to customers based on the ‘stock’ of trees you’ve purchased– you can buy a handful or even plant a complete forest with a minimum of 1000 trees!

Cross-Sell Tree Planting with Other Products

Cross selling means pitching products to customers that are similar to what they’ve bought or are currently buying. If you’re selling anything remotely sustainable, like reusable water bottles or cloth bags, then you’ve hit the jackpot. All you need to do is pitch tree planting to the customer as they add the main product to cart or at checkout.

If you’re selling other products, cross-selling a tree may be a challenge, but not one that you can’t rise to. Consider pairing it with a positive, inspiring message to convince the customer that they’re making a change while going about their regular shopping.

Come Off as Transparent to Customers with Tree Planting

As a turnkey solution, tree planting services can be integrated into existing business systems with nary a hiccup. What’s most beneficial is that an e-commerce store looking to plant trees more often than not comes off as environmentally aware and sustainably active. With the entire scramble to offset climate change, customers are more than willing to participate in campaigns such as these, which come at a smaller cost. The trust that is forged between customers and these e-commerce stores will drive engagement, brand loyalty and sales in the long run.

Customised and personalised trees are a great way to involve customers directly in the process other than paying a few dollars extra. Partnering with companies like EcoMatcher, that use technology and apps to virtually transport customers to the tree they bought, is a foolproof way to fuel engagement from other repeat and first-time customers.

It’s also a call-to-action for other hesitant small and medium businesses to take decisive steps towards actioning climate change and global warming while being profitable.

Conclusion

There’s no reason why capitalism can’t drive and deliver social and environmental change. However, natural capital has always been highly undervalued as investment or profit-making avenues that bloom directly off of giving back to the environment.

The magnitude of the win-win situation is not apparent enough; however, if e-commerce stores take the first step towards planting trees and reaping some profits, then there’s more to go around.

There are big profits in the restoration economy, and investing time and effort in saving the planet is naturally the done thing.

By offering trees for sale and championing environmental sustainability through an e-commerce platform, businesses will not just make headway on sustainable development goals, but also make it profitable.

Posted on 2019-10-09

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Team

In the general global goals for sustainable development, reducing or erasing the carbon footprint of an organisation ranks high. However, that’s easier said than done, when there is panoply of factors and individuals to consider.

The carbon footprint of a company is the measurement of how much that company is contributing to the greenhouse gases that are accelerating global climate change. Every organisation, indeed every individual, has a carbon footprint– the intensity of it depends on what the company is and what they do. Enterprises and manufacturing companies can contribute directly to increasing carbon footprints, while smaller firms do so indirectly, through energy and electricity consumption, even their daily commutes. 

As a smaller team or one that’s not directly involved in the organisation’s sustainable development goals, it’s quite challenging to tackle the larger problems such as emissions, waste disposal and the footprint of franchises. However, there are quite a few environmentally sustainable work practices that can effectively snowball into broader climate change solutions. 

Measure Your Carbon Footprint First

The springboard to adopting the right sustainable environmental practices is to measure your firm’s carbon footprint first. Use a free emissions calculator or a government-approved generator to find out what level your footprint is at. Once done, you can strategize accordingly and decide to do something about it. This is also a good benchmark to come back to later, when your carbon-cutting strategy is in full swing and you want to see if it’s effective enough. 

Make Energy-Saving Habits Compulsory

There are plenty of energy-saving behaviours that are simple to put in place yet positively impact carbon-cutting in the long run. Make these a compulsory practice to maintain environmental sustainability in the workplace. If you find employees doing this of their own accord, that’s well and good, but if they’re being implemented in a lax manner, consider attaching some rewards or recognition factors to up the ante.

Something as simple as shutting down office computers, instead of leaving them on standby, can have a positive impact– a lone computer running for 24 hours can produce 1,500 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year. Turn off all lights when a space is not in use and consider motion-sensitive lighting for rarely used corridors and hallways. Enable timers on photocopy machines and other hefty equipment so they turn off automatically when not in use. 

Bring In Green Employee Engagement Programs

Employee engagement programs are used to motivate and encourage employees to perform their best, as well as reward them for successful milestones. For an interesting, sustainable twist, consider revamping old-school points and money programs into ones that involve helping the environment and being a part of something bigger.

Consider initiating a ‘plant a tree’ program, or partnering with a firm like EcoMatcher that makes corporate tree planting for sustainability seamless and fully digital. If you have the funds and the motivation, consider planting an entire forest and encouraging your employees to virtually look after one or two. Successful employee engagement strategies can be a massive boost in morale, both on the individual as well as the corporate front. 

This is easily extendable to corporate gifting programs. If your team is hosting VIPs or is leading a conference, consider gifting plants, saplings or fully-grown trees to them, by purchasing them on EcoMatcher’s TreeShop. 

Maintain Optimum Thermostat Or Air-Conditioning Temperatures

Air conditioning temperatures are a point of disagreement in almost every office. There’s one way to find a middle ground, and a sustainable one at that­– maintaining temperatures between 24ºC and 27ºC depending on the weather. This makes the system more energy-efficient, thereby reducing electricity consumption and expenditure. In the longer run, lowering energy consumption on such a scale can reduce a company’s carbon footprint multi-fold, especially when implemented by other teams. 

The same tips apply for heating systems in colder regions. Maintaining a level temperature throughout the year and encouraging employees to dress accordingly instead will reduce energy consumptions by a significant amount. 

Establish Carpool And Shared Transport Systems

One of the fastest ways to drop your carbon emissions is to reduce travel. Teams must encourage employees to carpool based on location if possible. On a larger scale, companies can establish shared transport systems– buses or shared cars– that service specific routes and pick up and drop off employees. The benefits of shared transport are multi-fold, because it reduces carbon emissions and allows employees to network beyond their teams, which could lead to more innovation and cohesiveness. 

On a smaller scale, teams can endeavour to reduce trips by vehicles outside the office. This could be meetings with clients or by working remotely; by using video call and web conference platforms, you can easily avoid unnecessary trips while getting work done in a collaborative atmosphere. Tie this in with employee engagement programs if required– say, the more an employee cuts down on trips, the higher their incentive, or the more trees they have to their name in an adopted forest. 

Reduce Waste In The Workplace

This standard sustainability tip can go a long way when implemented in an organisation regularly. It’s also sound business-wise because the team’s contribution to overall expenses drops significantly. Consider recycling old or outdated documents instead of just trashing them. In the pantry, swap out single-use supplies for more sustainable steel or wood counterparts. Buy organic or Fair-Trade edibles and partner with a company to compost wet waste from the larger kitchens. 

Run Employee Education Programs

Most programs will come to a standstill if employees don’t want to follow through, aren’t encouraged to do so, or simply don’t know what difference it’s going to make. Top-down programs fare far worse, as employees see it as a compulsory involvement, not one that personally benefits them. This is why team efforts count! To make bigger changes at the top rungs, it starts from the bottom. Consider setting up programs that make employees understand just how important their contribution is and ensure they’re all equally informed. 

Despite sustainability being a hot topic in today’s world, quite a few seminars on it turn out to be boring, a repetition of what’s already been said. To make programs more interactive, consider adding milestones, rewards like trees and recognitions for those who do their bit and those who go above and beyond. Doing this on an individual basis within a team, or team-wise in a larger organisation, can make employees feel like a part of something bigger than themselves or the company– the planet!

Conclusion

Sustainable practices at the workplace needn’t be expensive, time-consuming or taking ages to implement. On a team-by-team basis, a firm can reduce its carbon footprint and significantly contribute to global sustainability goals. 

Posted on 2019-10-06

Innovations That are Changing the Face of Forests and Ecology

With all the recent and often disastrous developments in the natural world, we have reached a juncture in time where it is imperative for everyone to actively work towards conserving the environment. Leading scientists have been highlighting the delicate condition of the environment and stressing the requirement for a large and concentrated effort, which might be the only way to control the impacts of climate change. 

Industries are working alongside scientists and researchers alike to find ways to help mitigate environmental changes and maybe, in some cases, reverse the effects of humans on the environment to a certain extent. One of the most significant ways to combat climate change and reduce carbon footprint is to have more trees and also conserve existing forests.

Technology has come a long way with helping in identifying and verifying the right type of tree conservation for maximum impact while also reaching development goals. From drones to consumer incentives, to responsibly sourced ingredients, there are multiple avenues in which technology is making an impact on ecological conservation.

5 Technology Innovations for Ecological Conservation

Historically, technology has not always been on the side of nature conservation. From strip-mining to oilrigs to fracking, there have been numerous instances or innovations that have led to the direct destruction of the environment. However, in recent years, research units have begun to employ the use of technology to stop the advent of environmental ruin and be an integral part of climate change solutions. Here are some technological innovations that have proven their mettle in the fight against climate change.

  • Drones for trees

According to the World Wildlife fund, the planet is losing around 18.3 million acres of forests every year. The importance of trees in keeping the temperature stable and reduce carbon is a well-established fact already. All of us have seen conservationists organise extensive tree planting drives in order to combat this (often) mass destruction of forests. Unfortunately, as significant as individual initiatives of tree planting by hand may be, it is no match for the rampant industrial deforestation taking place.

This is where drones come in. A Britain-born organisation has created and tested software that uses drones to plant new trees at high speeds. The drones first map the overhead region that has been ravaged, and the planting drones then embed the seeds in the right place based on the data collected. 

This technology can be actively used by reforestation companies to make an effective change to the status of green cover on the planet.

  • GMO products

Genetically modified crops have been around for a while but have unfortunately had a less than stellar reputation. However, with increasing vagrancies in the weather caused by climate change, regular crops have been failing. With an imbalance in the overall ecosystem, even natural ecosystems like forests are facing threats from pests, parasites, and diseases. Genetically modified plant species can be created to be hardy in the face of environmental and ecological changes and reach the objectives of sustainable development.

While this solution does help with creating hardy forests and crops, this solution cannot be one of the only objectives of sustainable development. This step can be used for disaster management, but if we are serious about having a habitable environment, then we must focus on the larger picture of reversing the effects of climate change.

  • Using arid regions for tree growth

The planet has natural pockets of rich ecological diversity, which are highly conducive to the growth of trees. These regions typically enjoy high rainfall and fertile land. However, these natural pockets are being seriously threatened by human development and encroachment. 

A newer system that is being tried and tested involves growing trees in arid and semi-arid regions by using new innovations in technology. Land life company, located in the Netherlands, has come up with a system where trees can be grown with only a fraction of the water required usually. In fact, the number they provide is 25L during a tree’s entire lifetime. This naturally gives new trees a higher chance of survival than with conventional growing methods.

  • Data and remote sensing

Those steeped in conservation are now employing a combination of data sets and remote sensing in order to keep track of ecosystems. The data collected is then plugged into existing data sets, which allows other bio-researchers and conservationists to access. Remote sensing comes in useful in remotely located regions or rugged terrains and even in areas where human resources are hard to train and organise. 

Reforestation exercises use remote sensing to keep track of newly-planted trees and collect data from the region. If they discover that a particular species of pests are destroying the habitat, then the right steps can be taken to ensure its survival.

A region that has pre-recorded data concerning the number of trees, density, types and numbers of animals, access to natural water through the year, and more, can help other researchers to assess the region for new conservation actions. If they deem that a recently reforested area makes for an ideal habitat for an endangered species, then they can proceed to test their theory.

  • Apps for the public

Global environmental conservation is now in a place where any effort will be successful only with the support and cooperation of individuals. Specially designed apps can help in understanding the exact conditions of the environment and how they can contribute their own.

Data sets that are being updated continuously in real-time, existing laws, new policies, the effects of corporate actions, and more, can be accessed easily by regular people. This knowledge can help them realise the work that is happening on the ground and what is required. More aware citizens’ results in a government that is more invested in creating actual change and work with the aim of sustainable development.

Conclusion

Technology has been working hand in hand with conservationists in the fight to reverse environmental change. With advancements in water consumption of trees and the use of existing technology like remote sensing and drone technology, there are several ways in which technology is already proving to be useful in nature conservation. More philanthropic organisations are teaming up with tech giants to develop effective ground-level environmental sustainability projects. One of the most notable names in this segment is the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, who have been putting to use their accessibility and knowledge of tech to environmental causes.

EcoMatcher is also one of the top reforestation companies that help companies set up corporate tree planting as a part of their business in order to bolster tree conservation. They help provide overarching initiatives at multiple levels in order to decrease or offset the negative impact businesses might have on the environment. Some of their services include gifting trees to customers, setting up a tree for employees in the company’s forest, and using trees as reward and loyalty programs. They allow businesses to track and monitor tree planting or adoption, which creates more education and awareness.

There is no reason to assume that successful technologies are only a detriment to the environment. By spearheading innovation and targeting it towards sustainability and environmental change, there’s no stopping the progress towards climate action and sustainable development goals and targets. 

Posted on 2019-09-29

Why Businesses Need to Support Reforestation

In 2019, climate change and the impacts of climate change fast moved from occasional news headlines to constant worry, and for a reason. This has been a highlight year for climate for all the wrong reasons, with many countries across the globe– France, Belgium and Luxembourg to name a few– hitting the highest temperatures in their history. Worldwide, water levels are rising rapidly, temperatures are reaching an almost irreversible high, and as fires in forests continue to rage, the world is losing more forest cover than ever. 

It is now the need of the hour, particularly for corporates and companies, to be a part of environmental sustainability projects, and work towards sustainable development goals and targets. As global warming reaches historical new highs, both corporates and individuals to look towards concrete climate change solutions to reverse, at least to some extent, the severe damage that deforestation and pollution have wrought on the environment. 

1.        Manage dwindling resources

It goes without saying that tree planting is the need of the hour and an absolute necessity now given how overall climate change has been increasing exponentially across the world. While organizations may think themselves self-sufficient, what they don’t realize is that a massive chunk of our resources is drawn directly from natural reservoirs of trees, water and wind. By supporting reforestation, these firms are lending a helping hand to dwindling resources that are fast depleting in the race for economic growth and staying ahead of the competition. Ironically, planting trees can also help keep natural resources in designated spots away from the cities. Stories of floods and water-logging are not new in cities, but an effective way to tackle these communal issues and save lives is to actually allow natural resources to occupy the space they need, all the while building our cities sustainably around them.

2. Leave a positive impact on CSR goals

CSR, or corporate social responsibility goals, refer to goals that make a company responsible and answerable to its employees and investors, which self-regulate it to be socially and environmentally accountable. Adopting environmentally sustainable work practices is critical and one way to do this effectively is to take part in environmental sustainability projects– involving employees in such programs not only provides a great way to promote environmental sustainability in the workplace, but also a great employee engagement initiative that is both long-term, and special.   

Internally, corporate-social responsibility initiatives are crucial in terms of employee relations. For instance, involving employees in an adopt-a-tree program, particularly in terms of a reward, an employee gift, or part of an incentive, can build, or strengthen that employee’s existing relationship with your company. Adopt a tree programs often also help track the progress of a tree, from planting to growth ad nauseam, and that adds to the employee’s feeling of being able to nurture something and watch it grow, albeit indirectly. Employee engagement initiatives like this, which are long-term, will contribute to employee morale too, making them more likely to stay on with the company too, and make them overall much happier in the workplace.

There is concrete data today to show that an employee who feels good about his or her company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives feels more engaged with their firm. Higher employee engagement and happiness means that your employee is more likely to perform better at a consistent rate. That means employees will be able to better fulfill personal goals, and across a company level, that will mean a better company performance overall. Win-win!

3. Use as PR and social media gold

Revenues are, and have always been crucial to the functioning of a firm. In 2019, social media is one of the biggest forms of currency that a company can be involved in. Leading, or even participating in programs that promote afforestation and tree planting promise to garner your company brownie points on social media, which in this day are almost certain to result in directly magnified and increased sales, interest in your company, and be great for promoting your company’s image and standing among the public. Being part of such an initiative is worth its weight in marketing as well as benefiting the environment. 

Posting to social media about your company’s sustainability initiatives will not only show your followers your company’s sensitivity to the pressing issues of today, but also proof that your company is holding itself accountable to the environment, and doing something about it.  In addition to engaging with your employees regarding these initiatives, it also helps employees engage more with your company outside the workplace, and on social media; not only does this help enhance your company’s image to the public, but also helps build its image as one where employee satisfaction and fulfillment are high. Companies like EcoMatcher do exactly that: connect your employees with the trees they have “adopted”, allowing them not only to virtually view their ‘adopted’ trees, but also to track their progress in real-time, and ‘visit’ them from time to time. 

4. Enhance company image to potential investors and consumers

Investors are the most important part of any business; without them, firms would not be able to run, pay employees, or indeed, exist. A company with a great overall standing, not just in terms of its work ethic and productivity, but one that fulfills all its responsibilities to the world and environment, is one that investors are more likely to be a part of, invest in, and nurture. 

That image, particularly if done right, helps your company fulfill its duty to the environment and build a better world. A company focused solely on revenues may be raking in the money, but if it is shirking its responsibility to the planet and the environment, investors and those potentially interested in buying that business, may not regard it as a good investment.

We have already discussed how being part of effective CSR initiatives is great for building employee engagement and morale, but it is also great in enhancing your company’s image to the world. There is also data to show extensively that consumers seriously consider a company’s CSR initiative before engaging with it, and with a brand. 

5. Deliver measurable effects

Today, as metrics become more advanced and sophisticated, it is easier than ever before to calculate the impact one’s initiatives have had on the environment with regard to tree planting. Measuring the impact of initiatives such as this can be tough but it no longer needs to be. Particularly with companies like EcoMatcher pioneering the field today, the number of trees planted, can actively show just how much impact that tree planting has had.

For example, each tree planted can be visited, its growth tracked and measured in terms of how it has positively impacted the environment. For example, every tree planted on behalf of your company by EcoMatcher has offset X amount of vehicular travel emissions, or corporate pollution, or more.

Measuring those metrics is key to engage, and contribute to your company as a whole. Consumers who are able to see these metrics will be more likely to engage with your firm, your product(s), and contribute to your firm overall.

Conclusion

Businesses participating consciously in reforestation efforts not only engage with their employees and investors, but also use and display a strong ethical backbone to their corporate entity– something that goes a long way for a business and its image. With EcoMatcher, businesses can partner up to sponsor large-scale tree planting programs in areas in need around the world. Aside from providing local employment and maintaining a clean brand image, this process contributes to the world’s larger drive towards climate action and environmental change before it’s too late.  

Posted on 2019-09-26

Introducing the Global Forest Program

Press Release

September 26, 2019 – Hong Kong. If you are a company looking for ways to help combat the global climate crisis, and improve employee engagement at the same time, EcoMatcher’s new program, the Global Forest Program, maybe what you are looking for.

With EcoMatcher’s Global Forest Program, companies can now elect to plant trees in different parts of the world*. Through EcoMatcher’s technology platform, they can get a comprehensive bird’s eye view of all trees within their global forest. Trees in the company’s global forest can be gifted individually to employees.

For example, with EcoMatcher, a company with 3000 employees can elect to plant a forest of 1000 trees each in Guatemala, Uganda, and Thailand. Each tree is captured in EcoMatcher’s technology platform bringing full transparency. Trees can then be “gifted” to employees who can each virtually visit their tree through the EcoMatcher website. They can also view all trees within the company’s global forest, fostering a sense of belonging, and making the employees a part of the company’s global sustainability journey.     

“A few months ago we introduced the concept of planting a forest, which is 1000 or more trees in one location”, says Bas Fransen, CEO and Founder of EcoMatcher. “In working with our global customers, we saw the need to develop a turn-key solution for companies who want to engage their employees in the fight against climate change in multiple locations across the world. This is a clear win-win solution for all, including Mother Nature.”

About EcoMatcher

EcoMatcher plants trees and forests with foundations that EcoMatcher vets. Through their technology, EcoMatcher knows everything about each tree planted, offering full transparency to customers who plant trees with EcoMatcher. Customers can travel virtually to their trees as well as use trees as corporate incentives. Corporate incentives can include, but are not limited to, as rewards for finishing market surveys, as meaningful corporate gifts, or as gifts to employees.

*MOQ for Global Forest is 3000 trees

#GlobalForestProgram #EmployeeEngagement #ClimateActionNow #TreePlanting #Forests

Posted on 2019-09-25

Cities and Forests: How They Co-Exist

Cities and forests are often perceived as two separate entities, but the fact of the matter is that the two are interlinked, even co-dependent. Cities may be self-sufficient on the surface, but a massive amount of their resources (think cool wind, water supply, rainfall) directly take root from forests nearby. The city of the future (and the future of the city) is one that co-exists with forests, involving trees planted in predominantly urban areas and thick forest cover surrounding them. 

Co-existence and environmental change are the needs of the hour, not least because over the last five years, the surfaces that don’t absorb rainwater have shot up while green surfaces within urban areas has dwindled at alarming rates. Cities will continue to expand, but to be considered sustainable, they will need to evolve.


Dependence of Cities on Trees

Before talking about forests, it’s important to talk about trees within cityscapes and urban forestry. Only then will the context (and the importance) of large-scale forests be thoroughly understood. 

Improves air quality

The quality of air in urban areas is no joke. Individual citizens have long taken to precautionary measures to save themselves from the pains of fine dust, smog and general pollution. In South Korea and Japan, it’s not uncommon to see people wearing surgical or filter masks on the streets– the number only increases when the governments send out fine dust alerts. 

Urban vegetation absorbs gases in the air. This improves air quality and improves the respiratory health of inhabitants. While standard removal rates differ based on the tree species, larger healthy trees have the potential to remove 70 times more air pollution than smaller trees or sapling1. This also makes a case for conservation of current urban vegetation, as tree planting take years to mature and reach their full pollution removal potential. 

Reduce temperatures 

Tree planting can invariably bring down temperatures in urban areas, especially in summers. By offsetting the CO2 content in the air, tree covers reduce the ‘greenhouse effect’ and bring in cooling winds that bring down temperatures. Naturally, the shade and moisture provided aids in further reducing degrees on the thermostat, so it’s win-win. As temperatures drop, noxious gases are less likely to hover in the air, which decreases the effect on the ozone layer.

Scientifically speaking, there’s so much that trees can do for cities by virtue of just being planted and allowed to grow to full size and in good health. 

Multiply these positive effects two-fold, maybe ten-fold, and it’s not hard to see why forests are considered the lungs of the planet. 

Dependence of Cities on Forests

Making a case for the co-existence of forests and cities warrants an explanation of how cities depend on forests, despite how independent they seem at face value. For some, this may be a throwback to elementary school science classes– but going back to the basics may well help the world realise that naïveté when it comes to understanding just how much cities depend on forests will not sustain for very long. 

Regulate water flow and filtering

The greenery of a city’s surrounding area directly impacts the city’s water supply. Forests regulate the natural supply of clean water as the canopy triggers the release of water vapour that in turn maintains precipitation. Since roots of forests trees are largely strong and healthy, they shelter the soil from heavy erosion and this also facilitates an increase in groundwater. The same strong roots filter sediments and chemicals, making for a higher-quality supply of water. 

Bolsters food and nutrition security

Humankind has long been dependent on forests for naturally available food and nutrition. Although our attempts at food gathering are miles more advanced than they were in the crude ages, there’s no doubt that one of the ultimate sources of this food is forests, the other being water. Food, in this case, could mean wildlife, fruits, nuts, berries and bark. 

Reduces the chances of floods and landslides

As storm management goes, trees are by far the most critical natural managers of storm water. Strong trees effectively waylay runoff at least temporarily, taking the load off human-made storm water systems that aren’t built for intense flood situations. The logic behind this is simple– forests require a lot of water to grow. Naturally, that in itself thwarts the flow of water, giving it enough and more time to be soaked up by roots or bleed into the soil to become groundwater.

Deforesting on a massive scale and cutting down swathes of trees can only result in disastrous consequences, including flooding. No part of the world has had it as bad as Indonesia or Peru, where watershed was converted into agricultural land, causing overflowing river water to inundate cities and wreck homes in its wake. 

Regulate oxygen content while absorbing CO2

Climate change is largely caused by the unrestricted emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere– the very element that trees absorb to produce more oxygen. It’s easy enough to make the correlation here. Global reforestation and current forest cover conservation are the only quickest, most plausible ways to reduce the effect of CO2 emissions and slow down the impact of climate change.

Tree planting and conservation is a buyer of time– the world still needs quicker, faster, more scalable solutions to climate change. But protecting forest cover around cities can offset their carbon emissions, bringing into the picture some semblance of balance, however fragile. 

Cities will continue to expand as population increases and more and more people move from rural to urban areas. The ‘big city syndrome’, a feature of which is uneven ecosystems, is a high risk at this point. Cities are increasingly becoming concrete jungles while the real jungles make way for agricultural production to feed their population. 

The need for futuristic, sustainable cities

By 2030, the world will have 43 megacities, each with 10 million inhabitants2. This rapid rate of growth only spells danger for these inhabitants if sustainable measures aren’t taken to balance out resources and demand. In line with this are the rapid rates of deforestation for agribusiness or of natural causes– decreasing forests could result in catastrophic effects on the cities of today. 

Both the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda acknowledge the role of cities in sustainable development3. It only makes sense that they spearhead local action, considering they are responsible for more than 70% of greenhouse gases4. A significant number, for a setup that occupies only 2% of the world’s total land5

The need for a new game plan is entirely obvious– as people crowd cities, air quality drops, green spaces shrink, roads become dangerous, housing prices rise and public transport is overwhelmed. As if in retaliation, neighbourhoods across the globe are being wiped out in a flash due to floods, lightning strikes and wildfires of disastrous proportions. 

Sustainable cities also open up massive economic avenues. In London alone, urban forestry has helped save a whopping GBP 260 million in energy costs. Singapore’s late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said years ago that pushing for biodiversity conservation and ‘greening’ was the most ‘cost-effective project’ he’d backed.

Governments and private organisations are pledging to work towards afforestation and restoring forest cover, and tree planting firms, including EcoMatcher, are efficiently helping these entities reach their sustainable development goals without having to instate in-house teams or bring economic progress to a halt. EcoMatcher does this by collaborating with vetted partner organisations who not only plant trees and forests, but ensure they’re looked after and allowed to grow to their full potential. Similar stories emerge from other corners of the world, too– a testament to how economically viable it is to adapt and transform cities into sustainable entities, and to allow natural forests to remain as is for posterity.

Posted on 2019-09-19

5 Experiential Conference or Event Gift Ideas Your Guests Will Love

Planning an event is part of every company’s purview, but how do you make that event unique? Particularly for corporates who attend a multitude of interviews day in and day out, one can simply melt into the next one. Corporate event gift boxes and hampers, given to all attendees after these conferences, also end up being similar; customized stationary, chocolates, confectionery and the ilk can only go so far. As a company, you want to gift event attendees not just an item with your brand name on it, but something they will remember, rather than just throw away. One great way to do that is by participating in tree planting.

In the past few years, many others have gone down the technological route, often gifting USB sticks, cables and more; but now is the time for unique gifting. But there are so many other creative corporate gifts that are perfect when it comes to developing (and maintaining) brand images and keeping your business at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

Here are some innovative gifts that are sure to make your business – and your event – memorable! 

1.       The Gift of Fitness

Fitness is one of the key aspects of everyday life today, and with ever-rising prices for devices, memberships and more, this is sure to be a gift that will be remembered. Health is one of the most important factors anyone could wish upon another, and with more and more people today becoming more cognizant of and focusing on their health increasingly more, fitness makes for an excellent gift. 

Gifting fitness could be in the form of a gym membership to a chain, which means that the receiver can choose a branch of the gym that is most convenient and accessible to them. There are a lot of innovative fitness classes today as well that are not necessarily gym-focused, such as CrossFit, kickboxing and more, which many may have wanted to try out but for a multitude of reasons were not able to. For many others, that first push or initiation into a healthy lifestyle needs to come from an external source, and gifting a gym or fitness class membership is a great way to do precisely that! 

Another way to give a unique gift that helps with lifestyle and fitness is by gifting a fitness tracker. Many brands today make fitness bands and trackers at a variety of different price points, many of which are affordable enough even to provide as an en-mass corporate gift. For example, mi Fitness bands are at an affordable price point, as are some Fitbit models. These could well provide the impetus or push that someone considering fitness seriously could use, and a great starting point for the Gift of Fitness! 

2. The Gift of Trees

It goes without saying that the environment, and the state of it today, is one of the world’s most pressing issues. The impacts of climate change are no longer theoretical, and today they can be felt, seen and heard around the globe. It is now crucial for both individuals and businesses to focus on climate change solutions as an integral part of functioning, and gifting a tree is also an environmentally friendly corporate gift.

And what better, more creative corporate gift than an “adopt a tree” program on behalf of your attendee? Eco-friendly corporate gifts promise not only to be a gift that is remembered, but one that genuinely combats the pressing issue of environmental change.

One such business that can help with corporate tree gifting is EcoMatcher. Matching businesses with tree gifting, whether corporate or as employee rewards, EcoMatcher can help you find the perfect tree to gift, nurture, and grow! With EcoMatcher, visit your tree virtually from time to time to monitor its progress, watch it grow, and follow its progress as if you were there.

Through an EcoMatcher TreeCard, personalize a gift card for employee(s), or corporate ‘giftees’, with a QR code they may scan to be able to access the tree they have been gifted. There are so many more benefits – no costs for expensive tooling, shipping, packaging, and storage. 

With the TreeManager application, firms can give out trees from their forest to attendees or employees quickly and efficiently. The TreeTracker web app lets receivers monitor their tree’s details, the farmer and organization involved as well as take note of its carbon sequestration rates. 

This gives the receiver valuable, all-round insights on their eco-friendly, sustainable present – a creative corporate gift that also promotes environmentally sustainable work practices, and engages the employees or giftees with their present.

3. Gift of donations

Many today want to donate to charities, and there is a wide range of charities and causes, but being spoilt for choice also makes it difficult to choose. Companies can choose charities on behalf of their giftees, which could be vetted in advance by sustainability professionals. This also means that receivers do not have to worry about the authenticity of charities. An excellent way to engage your attendees well before actually carrying out a donation is to conduct a survey to be aware of which charity or cause they would most like to support, be it eradication of poverty, climate action, women empowerment or others. 

At the same time, initiatives like this will not only help those who are being benefited by the charity, but also help employees and gift receivers do their part for the world, with all the “difficult’ part of finding a charity. That also could encourage future, consistent donations – while adding to the company’s CSR initiatives as well.

From the business point of view, it’s always a good idea for firms to be associated with projects such as these, as it improves brand image and posits the firm as one that is aware, conscious and actively using their influence to make a change.

4. The gift of experience

Some people are thrill-seekers, but not sure which thrill to seek. Thrills could be anything from a rock-climbing class to a parasailing adventure, or even a cooking class. Experiences may cost some money that dissuades them from doing it, or people may need just that extra impetus to try new things.

Corporate gifting experiences promise something new to a receiver that they may not have tried before, and could well mean the start of a new hobby or passion they might choose to pursue. Helping someone find and unlock that purpose is an invaluable gift, and one they are sure to remember for a long time to come.

5. Gift of craft

Rather than gifting mass-produced goods, presents that have been handmade and handcrafted are more personal, fuller of life, and have a story behind them. Especially great are local handicrafts from artisans from that region, which have a backstory, and simultaneously help provide for local artisans, giving them a livelihood. Promoting those local arts and handicrafts could also be a big boost to local industries, which also supports local communities in multiple ways. A handmade gift, particularly one from local artisans, is far more meaningful than one that is mass-produced, and also benefits real-life situations, environments, and artisans rather than only corporations. 

Conclusion

Gifts can range from the small, tangible items to experiences, to those that can be seen, to those that are felt from within. Gifting trees, classes, and experiences are more original, memorable, and not only builds brand value, but fulfills companies’ duty to the environment, to their employees, and building goodwill that will remain for a long time to come.

Posted on 2019-09-15

How To Make Sustainability An Everyday Part Of Your Business

The number of companies and organisations signing up in support of environmental sustainability and climate actionis on the rise. Sustainable development has largely moved from a political rhetoric to a practical, indeed necessary structure that has permeated industries in both the public and private sectors. This could largely be attributed to how much clearer the picture is getting– the era for running away is over and it’s time for corporates to step up in favour of global goals for sustainable development or get called out for it.  

How, then, can businesses employ environmentally sustainable business practices on an everyday basis? Before we get to that answer (and there is an answer), it’s helpful to look at why making sustainability a part of your business is essential.

Meeting The Demands Of Stakeholders

Society, media, governments and shareholders among other stakeholders have increasingly held businesses to higher ideals in terms of responsible management practices. A lot of it boils down to being environmentally sustainable in process, product and functioning. Economic performances are now tied in part and parcel to these practices, so it only makes sense that businesses endeavour to incorporate sustainable measures to maintain their value and brand image. 

Deriving Value From Sustainable Activity

Managing long-term social and environmental risks has crossed the threshold of being morally driven to becoming value deriving. There is concrete data to evidence the harmony with which ecological and economic successes appear – the focus is now on evaluating how successful a company is deemed if they meet at least one of six business case drivers through voluntary sustainable activity. Note that the use of the word ‘voluntary’ indicates that businesses have already gained a sense of understanding on the Business Case of Sustainability and aren’t just going through the motions under pressure or force. 

Garners Compliance-Related And Competitive Advantages

Compliance refers to being in accordance with strict regulations in industry-specific fields as well as in terms of general pollution, energy and waste management norms. To start off with, businesses that tick all the right boxes on regulatory checklists are considered compliant, and this is half the battle won.

Needless to say, this also keeps interested investors in the picture as there’s a lower likelihood of risks and defaulting that could have been controlled. In fact, 44% of investors, according to BCG/ MIT data1,claimed that they stay well away from companies with poor performance in sustainability as it invariably comes with high compliance risks. 

So, getting back to the question that was posed earlier– how can businesses make sustainability a part of their business model? Naturally, the answers to this depend on the budget, resources and time available to the business in question. That said, there are a few strategies to adopt par industry and budget:

  • Engage In Green Procurement

Procurement refers to the process of sourcing goods (or services) from an external source to use to further business needs. There are some steady supplies that office needs, regardless of what industry or set up it falls under– paper, food, coffee, energy, and lighting. Procurement policies can be made sustainable to the extent possible, by dealing only with fair trade suppliers or switching out unsustainable orders for zero-waste alternatives. Even minimising the use or abuse of goods within the office space due to mere convenience is a positive step toward cleaning up these channels. For large events, consider eco-friendly corporate gifts like trees through EcoMatcher in place of branded, single-use ones. 

  • Establish A Sustainable Culture

As the saying goes, small drops make an ocean. To see immediate changes as well as take sustainability from organisational rhetoric to a personal one, businesses can establish (and encourage) a culture of sustainability within teams. An excellent way to do this is to introduce successful employee engagement strategies that involve smaller sustainable goals such as recycling, energy-saving and corporatetree planting. Plenty of organisations today have exciting rewards schemes based on fitness or miles walked in a month; similar structures can be put in place for team-based sustainability competitions. On the social front, encourage employees to donate and contribute to charities, either by spreading awareness, tying up with NGOs or partner organisations like EcoMatcher, even making donations in employees’ names.  

  • Consider It As An Important Parameter To Every Organisational Strategy

The fight for sustainability wasn’t as strong yesterday as it was today, and will be even fiercer tomorrow. To account for this, it’s crucial that businesses immediately add sustainability as an important deciding factor while making changes, restructuring or signing off on important strategies. Engage all players in the grand scheme of things. As time goes by, the system will steadily begin taking sustainability into account by default.

  • Undertake A UN Sustainable Development Goal Or Two

For those without much of inkling about sustainable processes, taking the first step can be confusing. The UN recognised this way back in January 2016, when it released a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goalsto act as guideposts in the fight against negative environmental change, poverty and unsatisfactory lives for all2. By picking goals that align with their industry and capabilities, businesses can progress with a more structured approach to sustainability, whether they want to make their alignment known to the world or keep it within the network. Common goals like climate change action, human rights and gender equality transcend the boundaries of industries and structures; forming organizational sustainable development goals and targets around these can also be fruitful.  

  • Move To The Cloud

Cloud computing is a solution to quite a few resource-draining setups in a typical workspace. Cloud-based apps enable employees and clients to share files and collaborate digitally. This reduces the paper waste that comes from taking printouts, sending snail mail or even faxes. Sharing files could be a way to reduce travel costs; especially intra-city commutes to visit clients or other important stakeholders over a few documents. It also reduces the need for server equipment, which cuts costs and will lead to a significant drop in levels of energy consumption. Cloud computing also takes things mobile, so that reduces the need for larger equipment while also making data accessible at all times to authorised parties.

  •  Acknowledge The Time It Will Take

Building a sustainable organisation, indeed even implementing sustainable practices into current frameworks, isn’t an overnight process. It’s hard work to implement strategies at every stage and then look towards suppliers and sources to ensure standards are adhered to. However, perfection is not possible anyway. Small yet significant changes add miles to your strategy– a massive overhaul isn’t the only way out. While implementing strategies half-heartedly or out of compulsion is definitely a cop-out, having the entire organisation back one small change or policy is the way to go. 

As a business, one of the most interesting and collaborative ways towards climate change action and general sustainability is to partner with firms that make these processes more manageable. On the environmental front, EcoMatcher can help businesses engage in tree planting and reforestation to add to CSR initiatives and sustainability strategies.

Posted on 2019-09-12

The Power of Small: How Smaller Organisations​ Can Make a Difference in the Environment

Corporate social responsibility initiatives are in the consciousness of most large, medium-sized or small organisations. Increasingly, as environmental change gets louder, more extensive and tougher to ignore, with more people feeling the impacts of climate change,many of these organisations and businesses are choosing to move towards CSR initiatives geared towards environmental sustainability. More firms are taking up initiatives that are centred on environmental sustainability projectsin order to combat the effects of global warming and help find effective climate change solutions.

Businesses can make a positive environmental impact in many ways. As part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, companies often take part in adopt-a-tree activities, wherein employees either actively participate in the tree planting campaigns, or trees are adopted and taken care of on behalf of employees, or even as corporate gifts. 

In addition to other environmental initiatives, businesses can also foster environmentally sustainable work practices to contribute to the environment actively and consciously. This is something that businesses of any size, small or big, can adopt. Regardless of the service or product offered by an organisation, they can adopt sustainable development goals and targets. In order to do this, businesses can work towards streamlining their manufacturing processes. Production efforts in particular could be reworked in a way that uses fewer materials, or they are extracted and used in a way that significantly reduces the impact of those existing processes on the environment. 

While smaller organisations face different challenges both from business, as well as operations point of view, efforts for ecological conservation or preserving environmental health don’t have to be restricted to larger firms only. Hereis how even smaller organisations can contribute to making a big difference to the environment:

  • Reciprocal programs to maintain the environment and profits

This is one of the multiple ways in which small business can help contribute to the environment even if they do not have a humongous budget to allocate to CSR or environmental sustainability projects. For every service, item or product produced or sold, the company can pledge to clean a similar or reciprocal amount of trash from the ocean, a nearby forest or even the sidewalks of their own cities. Alternatively, another common way that many small and medium, not to mention even large-sized businesses, are doing today is to plant one tree for each item or service sold, to offset a reduction in their overall carbon footprint. This give-and-take system builds a functional and sustainable cycle where the business continues to make profits but uses that same power to give back to the environment and the society.

  • Involving employees in environment clean-ups 

Employee initiated clean-up campaigns is another sure-fire way to work towards smaller businesses, set and achieve sustainable business development goals and also promote sustainable practices at the workplace. This sort of CSR and green initiative does not need an extensive fund. A program of this kind can be organised on a spartan, even shoestring budget, with expenses that may only include the cost of protective gear and equipment for the employees, masks, transportation costs, and refreshments or lunch. The end result is not only CSR, but also a great way to promote employee engagement whilst still being incredibly beneficial to the environment.

Several companies have tried this on a global level – that is a company-organised clean-up drive utilised to good effect. Corporate groups, big and small, have involved themselves in clean-up programs at beaches, riverbanks and city areas infamous for their serious litter issues. On several occasions, the garbage collected from these areas has exceeded thousands of tons – an example of how a little will power and proactive behaviour can go a long way. 

Several programs abroad run on a much larger scale to clean up marine environments for animals. First, people are made aware of the magnitude of the issue at hand, and even on an individual level, they are influenced to potentially act. Second, since most of these are smaller-scale operations, their success often inspires and encourages individuals to participate. 

  • Tree planting or tree adoption programs

Adopt-a-treeprograms are growing in popularity as the world becomes increasingly cognizant of the ill effects of rapidly increasing climate change. As tree planting gains popularity on a more global level, it need not be prohibitively expensive either. While factoring budget into mind, firms like EcoMatchercan help you find the perfect tree, or trees, to gift corporate clients or employees, and help you give them- and the world, the gift of a combat effort against the growing menace of climate change. EcoMatcher helps businesses at any level find the perfect gifts; receivers can monitor their tree’s progress, and ‘visit’ them on a virtual basis too. This means no extra costs need to be borne by the sender or the receiver– everything is electronic, meaning no fuel is spent either. 

Programs like these not only help smaller businesses identify the perfect CSR opportunity in terms of tree planting and fulfil them, but also provide for the need of property holders -or choosing the right location for clients as well. In addition to employee gifting, they also undertake corporate tree planting, so even smaller businesses can build a great business rapport and relationship with their corporate clients. 

  • Recycling bins in the workplace 

A fundamental method, yet one of the most phenomenally effective ones in terms of promoting environmental awareness in the workplace,is having segregated recycling bins. This practice helps in terms of waste management, which creates a significant impact on the environment. This practice not only creates a positive environment but makes it easier for employees engaged in the job of waste segregation to feel involved. Additionally, perhaps the most significant outcome from this would be revolutionising employee attitudes towards local and global waste. 

Small businesses, particularly the ones which are just starting out, may not have the budget or wherewithal to execute a larger-scale operation of environmental sustainability. But there is always a much easier route to start. Introducing recycle bins and segregating waste at the workplace does not cost too much, and its impact goes far beyond just simple ‘separation of waste’­– it results in promoting environmental sustainability in the workplace.

  • Using energy-efficient appliances in the workplace 

Another smaller-scale and easier-to-implement strategy that small organisations can opt for to make a difference to the environment is to equip their offices with energy-efficient appliances. Most, if not every business today, is almost entirely digitised and computerised, with large amounts of equipment occupying space and consuming energy. Most offices are also air-conditioned, which consume large amounts of electricity in addition to regular electrical consumption.

Switching to cleaner forms of energy and appliances that consume less electricity fosters an attitude of environmental friendliness while raising concern for climate change in the workplace. An added benefit of using efficient, eco-friendly appliances such as these is also that they save money, which could be crucial for a small business to sustain. 

Conclusion

Helping the environment does not have to be expensive, even if it is done on a corporate scale! While larger organisations do their bit for environment conservation, small businesses need not be far behind. Each one can promote healthy environmental practices and suggest improvements in the workplace while fostering an attitude that understands climate change, its impacts, and actively works towards eradicating them. EcoMatcher is one such organisation that encourages companies to promote corporate tree planting and promote tree gifting as rewards. 

Programs that help the environment, which small businesses could partake in, could range from even something as small to understanding basic waste and garbage, to actively participating in cleaning drives. No gesture is too small to help the environment; it is by the combination of many such small gestures that a significant impact is made.