The Greenlight spotlight series takes a look at innovative professionals and businesses disrupting environmental trends with green-focused technology. From automotive to building to energy sources, industries are being disrupted daily as smarter and more innovative green technology becomes available.
Name: Christian Kaiser
Company: Click A Tree
Title: Founder & CEO
Mission: To make planting trees an everyday habit.
Who is Chris Kaiser?
Everybody knows about the devastating effect of climate change and the damage it will cause our planet if we don’t make the necessary changes now. But, thankfully, we know that we still have the chance to make changes before it’s too late. Chris Kaiser knows this, and his solution goes far beyond battling climate change alone.
As a young German traveler Chris explored the world, living and working across 5 different continents. But it was only in 2012 – when he moved to a National Park area in Southern Thailand – that he got a first-hand view of the shocking effects of deforestation, and what it meant for his favorite gentle giants.
“Of course I knew what deforestation was and what it meant for the world… but the first time I witnessed it personally, I was forced to acknowledge just how much damage it was doing” said Chris. “There had to be a solution that helped to reforest our planet and protect endangered Asian elephants at the same time.”
Chris had already fallen in love with the Asian elephants at the national park, and vowed to come up with a solution that provided them with a future.
Fast-forward to present day, and Chris is the Founder and CEO of Click A Tree. Click A Tree has planted more than 100,000 trees around the world so far, and it doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
What Does Click A Tree Do?
“Click A Tree makes it possible for every single one of us to plant a tree with just a few clicks of our mouse” Chris tells us. “Ultimately, it makes sustainability as simple as it can be, and we all benefit from it.”
Click A Tree provides users with the opportunity to plant trees online. Visitors simply add a tree to their shopping cart and then a real tree is planted at one of Click A Tree’s tree-planting sites around the world, wherever it’s needed most. The buyer knows that they’ve done a good deed, and they’re regularly updated with the progress of their tree.
Users visiting the site can choose where they would like to plant their tree. If they choose to plant a Tree for Entreepreneurs, then that tree will be planted at a site in Ghana where some of the work helps to fund a business school for local, unemployed youths.
Trees for the Seas plant trees to help protect marine life and, in case you thought Chris had forgotten all about them, Trees for Tuskers plant trees that focus on providing a habitat for the next generation of Asian elephants.
Alternatively, users can plant a tree by simply booking a trip on the sister B’n’Tree platform. There, companies cover the cost of planting a tree when users book flights, organize a trip, or reserve a bed.
Finally, Click A Tree itself offers a free ‘first tree’ when you sign up for its bi-weekly newsletter.
How Does Click A Tree Help Business?
But those are just the trees available to online shoppers. Click A Tree works with various companies around the world as well, helping them to become a more sustainable brand and make every industry greener.
“Again, it started in Thailand when I was working with some overseas tour operators and became involved in the contracts between Thai hotels, destination management companies, and local tourism retailers. There was a seriously complicated chain of companies that were all essentially encouraging travelers to visit Thailand” says Chris.
“And that complicated chain involved a whole lot of commission. I thought, would these companies rather spend some of that commission on planting trees instead? It turns out I was right.”
It was even easier than he first thought. Chris reached out to a few hotel booking platforms and they were very enthusiastic from the beginning. “I realized that we could provide a tailored solution for each individual company that helped them plant trees in a way that suited them and their customers. The companies become more sustainable, eco-conscious customers are happy to shop with them, and more trees are planted. Everybody wins.”
Click A Tree has made it possible for companies to plant trees on their own terms. They can choose to incorporate the costs of planting a tree into their sales, help customers plant a tree as an optional extra, or fund the tree-planting themselves.
Why Did Chris Decide to Plant Trees?
“Well, trees are Mother Earth’s perfect weapon in the fight against climate change” Chris tells us. He’s not wrong.
As little as 100 years ago, around 80% of Thailand was covered in forest. Today, that number is reduced to about 20% and that deforestation, combined with soaring international tourist numbers, has had disastrous consequences for Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs, Sumatran tigers, and even Malayan sun bears.
But just like he had hoped in the beginning, newly planted trees are providing endangered animal species with vital habitat and a future.
On top of that, trees produce oxygen and allow us to breathe. They’re natural carbon sinks that help reduce the effect of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and combat global warming.
But trees are significant on a personal level too. “We tend to plant trees in developing countries where stable, reliable incomes are hard to come by. The workers on our sites are fairly remunerated for their hard work and they can support their families with a full-time income.”
What Kind of Challenges Does Click A Tree Face?
Currently, Click A Tree plants trees for all types of businesses and individuals. But, as Chris says, “this can only be the beginning.”
There’s no shortage of environmental challenges that have an impact on Click A Tree’s work. As the world’s weather becomes more and more extreme, there’s a greater need to plant trees that will help combat forest fires, drought, and even flooding.
The rate of global deforestation still greatly exceeds the reforestation rate, and as the human population continues to grow, our world is getting warmer and warmer.
“We have to plant as many trees as possible” Chris urges. “Trees store carbon, protect soil, regulate the water cycle, and provide us with the air we need to breathe. There’s huge potential for tree-planting around the world – we just need to start using that land efficiently and making our world greener.”
Click A Tree is built on business partnerships and word-of-mouth, and Chris tells us that improving Click A Tree’s visibility and attracting new companies is the best way to plant enough trees to overcome these challenges.
“We’ll keep on doing our part and plant trees where they’re needed the most. But we need all the people out there who care about our planet to help spread the word. Discuss the benefits of planting trees on Instagram, urge people to purchase a tree on Facebook. And if your favorite company doesn’t plant trees yet, then tell them to get in touch with us. It’s risk-free, and there aren’t many companies out there that can’t do more for our planet.”
What Does the Future Look Like With Click A Tree?
So what will Click A Tree look like in the future? How do they plan to reach the next tree-planting milestone?
“Our vision is to make planting trees an everyday habit. We’re working for a future where every one of us will plant a tree every time we buy a coffee, order sushi, or take public transport. Every single transaction will plant a tree and make our planet healthier, fairer, and better for everyone and everything inhabiting it.”
Click A Tree closely aligns with many of the EU’s Sustainable Development Goals, and Chris hopes that more and more companies will take note of the blueprint for a “better and more sustainable future.”
Visit Click A Tree and discover all the different ways that you can plant a tree. And if you’re a business owner looking to attract eco-conscious customers, boost revenue, create work within local communities, and become a more sustainable brand, then Click A Tree can tailor tree-planting solutions for your business needs.
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