Here at Insteading, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Sustainability is the reason why we skip pesticides, collect rainwater, compost, choose solar and wind energy, and strive to live more self-sufficiently.
Of course, we’re always on the search for brands that use sustainable materials and business practices. As for a company that adds environmental stewardship into the mix? Well, that’s just the cherry on top. Protecting the environment has always been important to us, but one brand is making it fashionable. Meet tentree, the sustainable clothing brand that plants ten trees for every item purchased.
The Problem: Deforestation
One of the biggest threats to our planet’s ecosystem is deforestation. Most notably, deforestation leads to a loss of habitat for millions of species. Many animals simply cannot survive outside of their ecosystem, and destruction of their land could mean an end to the population. This is why it’s more important than ever that we work to bring trees back.
Back in 2011, the founders of tentree saw this problem and set out to create a company that could address it.
“Late in 2011, I was hiking in Hawaii with my friend Dave. We were talking about how breathtaking the landscape there was and how it was truly amazing being able to experience places that seemed so ‘untouched’. We wanted to do something to protect the world we play in, but we weren’t sure what was the best way to do it,” says tentree co-founder and CMO Kalen Emsley.
“I have a background in tree planting and Dave has a background in sales, so we started to discuss how we could use the two skill sets to give back. It was then that we ran some quick numbers and realized that if we were to make shirts and sell them, we would make enough to plant ten trees for every product. We really liked the idea because if you have a shirt saying that you planted ten trees, you are able to tell people about your impact. It was there that ‘tentree’ was born. The initial idea was to do a couple runs of shirts for charity and leave it at that, but we had such an incredible response that we decided to make it into a business. To date, this has allowed us to plant over 25 million trees.”
How It Works
Once your purchase is completed, you can register your trees with a provided code. When you receive your order, you’re given a tree token that represents the ten trees that are to be planted. The code is also included on the tokens. You’ll be able to track each of your trees’ progress, the species the trees are, when they’re planted, and where they’re planted. Each tree will be planted within six months of purchase.
tentree’s planting projects take place in seven countries: Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti, Cambodia, Senegal, Canada, and the U.S. Each country was chosen based on deforestation rates and its resulting impact on the community. While Madagascar’s deforestation issue is species loss, Haiti’s is due to lack of sustainability practices.
Each country has deforestation problems for a variety of different reasons, but the solution is the same for tentree regardless. Their planting projects lead to higher soil quality, reduction in CO2 emissions, protected areas for local species, and employment in impoverished areas.
Sustainability In Products And Business
As a certified B Corporation, tentree has had sustainability at the forefront of their business practices since the beginning.
tentree’s products are made from eco materials including recycled polyester, hemp, organic cotton, modal, linen, and cork. Linen, hemp, and modal are renewable resources that result in a high-quality textile. While traditional cotton has the most insecticides than any other major crop, organic cotton has less of an impact on the environment.
“We always try to seek the most environmentally progressive option in everything we do! With regards to products, our design and sourcing teams seek out materials and trims that go beyond the conventional options in terms of environmental impact. We want to ensure that anything we produce is built to last and uses as few resources as possible whether it be in the actual raw materials or during processing,” says Commercialization Manager Ludovic Duran.
Behind the scenes, tentree’s manufacturing fosters not only environmental sustainability but social equality as well. By promoting fair pay and safe working conditions, tentree challenges the norm of many factories outside of the U.S. Every factory they work with is socially and environmentally responsible through unannounced audits and tentree’s own code of ethics
“Similarly to how we select material suppliers, we carefully review each potential manufacturing facility before approving them. Each factory we choose to work with is required to follow our Code of Conduct which aligns with the International Labour Association’s standards and other industry references when it comes to ethical sourcing,” says Social & Product Compliance Manager, Katie Pearce.
“Our sourcing team first goes through a ‘potential supplier evaluation’ process to ensure that the factory shares our values for environmental progressiveness as well as socially responsible manufacturing. Once approved, we ensure continuous compliance by verifying that certification, accreditation and audit cycles are kept up to date.”
tentree’s mission from the beginning has been to become the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet. Since 2012, the company has planted over 25 million trees and are striving to plant 1 billion by 2030. So far, more than 20 planting projects have been completed in over 10 countries, and this is just the beginning.
“Being able to make an impact beyond just planting trees is really inspiring to me. We have donated extra funds to help villages we plant with buy drinking wells, build schools, purchase boats for transportation (to avoid life-threatening run-ins with bandits), and helping a local maternity center take on more patients. It’s not something we advertise, but I think on top of planting trees, being able to help people is a huge accomplishment for us,” says Emsley.
While planting trees is an integral part of the company’s mission, tentree is also focused on being socially conscious as well. tentree recently funded a new maternity center in Madagascar, where the “average indigenous Malagasy woman stands a 1 in 41 chance of suffering from a fatal complication during her pregnancy.”
Through the goal of revitalizing the environment, tentree is striving to inspire a generation of individuals to believe that they can make an impact too.
To learn more about tentree’s planting projects and how they’re working toward becoming the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet, visit tentree’s site at tentree.com.