Derrick Emsley, CEO and co-founder of the ‘first on earth’ mens and womenswear brand Tentree, explains, âWhy focus on survival when we should focus on prosperity instead? “
Sustainable clothing brand Tentree gets its name from the fact that it plants 10 trees for every item sold and considers itself “a tree planting company that sells clothes, not a clothing company that plants trees.” It sells direct to consumers through its website tentree.co.uk, and its resellers include Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Sport Chek, Boathouse, and Below the Belt. Retail prices range from Â£ 30 for a t-shirt to Â£ 270 for a parka.
He also manages “Veritree”, a closed-loop data collection system to help other businesses with their restoration projects such as tree planting. It has three main elements: âVeritree collectâ collects soil data to make sure trees are planted in the right place, with photographs, GPS coordinates, etc. This data is then aggregated on a central device, encrypted and uploaded to “Veritree management”, where updates in the field can be reviewed, signed and approved. Once approved, the trees are converted into digital inventory items and the management platform allows them to be assigned to a specific company. This avoids double counting issues and allows partner companies to log in and see all of the planting sites they have supported, aggregated field data (such as carbon offset amount, working days created by plantation projects, etc.), and share this with their clients. Projects typically cost $ 0.30 to $ 1 (21p-73p) per tree.
Tentree CEO Derrick Emsley explains why it is essential not only to be “less bad”, but “more good”.
Saving the planet is difficult.
This reality is a reality that we as business leaders have to face more than ever for two main reasons:
(1) Modern buyers have renewed interest in solving the problem of climate change
(2) Our consumers have more power than ever in the relationship with the brand
We all recognize that we are in the midst of an unprecedented and uncertain future at the hands of climate change. Yet we are often left immobile, caught between the demands of our ordinary life and our desire to take part in this issue which, though incredibly distant and abstract, is becoming more and more real by the day. With what looks like a new high temperature record or a particularly destructive wildfire hitting the headlines, all you have to do is despair.
Fortunately, while many are understandably overwhelmed, even more are exploiting this moment and the growing unrest in a move that will far exceed any environmental efforts of the past. The reason for this, I believe, comes down to the growing power of the individual.
Never before have individuals and especially consumers had so much power. All the barriers to entry that brands have enjoyed over the past decades, allowing them to establish their leadership, have started to erode rapidly. Supply chains have never been easier to establish. Capital has never been so readily available. Beautiful websites are just a few clicks away. And, perhaps most important of all, the consumer is now in control of the conversation. Steadfast consumer support, which once depended on surface-level attraction and compelling marketing, is now dependent on core value systems and brand substance.
In hindsight, as in most industries, fashion’s environmental and social journey has been one of evolution. It started with the classic 1970s counterculture which never gained popularity. Subsequently, the focus for many years was on the demand for fair labor (better production) and, this evolved into a mentality of preferred materials or inputs (better fabrics). Today, this movement has evolved to consider circularity (better end of life).
It is imperative that we transform our mindset from âdoing less harmâ to one of doing âmore goodâ. When we do this, we reverse the evolutionary mindset, and instead, we not only work to survive – as an industry, business, and people – but we work to grow and prosper.
At Tentree, this mindset is at the heart of who we are. Tentree is a tree planting business that sells clothes, not a clothing business that plants trees. The product we create is a way for our customers to have a real and tangible impact. Not only do we buy the most sustainable product possible while offsetting our entire value chain, but we also commit to planting 10 trees for every item sold.
By using a t-shirt or hoodie as a way for customers to make a positive impact on the environment and the lives of people around the world, we make it easy for them to participate in the growing environmental movement. We allow them to do good and hopefully feel a little more empowered to make a difference.
To date, we have planted over 65 million trees in countries around the world including Canada, United States, Peru, Madagascar, Senegal, Indonesia and more. These tree-planting projects have provided thousands of much-needed jobs, lifted many communities out of poverty, and resulted in the planting of over 6,500 hectares – an area larger than the size of Manhattan.
Our engagement in this movement does not start and end with the clothes. True to our belief of being ‘tree planters first’, we have built a blockchain-based verification platform called Veritree to help other companies integrate tree planting into their business model. as a way to start doing âmore goodâ. we launched consumption compensation packages, a tree planting credit card, the first in the world “Initial tree offer“with NFTrees[acompanythatcompensatesforcarbonemissionswithnon-fungibletokens)andevenmore[acompanythatoffsetscarbonemissionswithnon-fungibletokens)andmore[uneentreprisequicompenselesÃ©missionsdecarboneavecdesjetonsnonfongibles)etplusencore[acompanythatoffsetscarbonemissionswithnon-fungibletokens)andmore
While planting trees is not a quick fix, it can be an extremely important part of our solution if done correctly. We have seen too many funded projects that never achieved the expected benefits and, even with our own projects, we found it incredibly difficult to audit and verify the statements we made. This is why for us veritree is such a critical piece of the global reforestation puzzle and why we are signing up other companies to participate through a âsustainability as a serviceâ offering.
What we’re trying to create is the operating system for businesses of the future – the restorative operating system.
Today, consumers expect more from the brands they support. Each leader must ask himself the question: “What good are we doing”?
In the years to come, whether we are on the verge of 1.5 Â°, 2 Â°, or 3 Â° of warming, we will be at a point where the conversation will shift from stopping the bleeding to healing our planet. From where we are today, brands that continue to do the bare minimum will have been left out while organizations that have taken a stand will stand out. Why wait? Your customers want it and our planet needs it – doing good for the planet is good for business.
Empower your customers to help save the planet. Let them be the hero while your brand serves as the vehicle.
My final point is this: saving the planet can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be; it’s up to companies to help simplify things.
What is the business model of the company?
- Omnichannel, but majority e-commerce. We also wholesale and plan to open retail in the coming years.
- We have a product design and supply team. They design and develop the product, we work with third party manufacturers who are all vetted by certain sustainability and ethical requirements to produce the product. We distribute it on our website and over 1,000 wholesalers in North America and the United States.
- Clothing for men and women in organic cotton, recycled polyester and hemp
Why is it called TemptÃ©e?
- We plant 10 trees for every item sold … and are not very creative.
Where does it work?
- We have a significant presence in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. We ship through our website to countries all over the world.
How is its presence in the UK?
- We currently have a UK based distribution partner which manages the UK and EU business. We have aggressive growth plans in Europe.
Does he plan to open stores?
- Yes, all over the world. Probably late 2022 / early 2023.
Between what retail price ranges are retail selling prices?
- T-shirts and hats (Â£ 35-Â£ 50), fleeces (Â£ 50-Â£ 100), jackets (Â£ 150-Â£ 350)
- We do not generally disclose any income or profit. We can say over Â£ 50million in revenue and profitable