The Million Tree Pledge is a commitment we’ve made to plant 1 million trees by 2030. You might have seen my blog post back in July announcing that Thrive was taking this pledge and explaining why. To summarize, there’ll come a day in the future when our children and our children’s children will ask, “what did you do to stop climate change?” I want to be proud of the answer I give them.
Striving for carbon neutrality and ultimately Net Zero is the best and most accessible tool we currently have in our arsenal to fight climate change. By planting more trees, we can draw more carbon from the atmosphere and, hopefully, leave behind a better world for future generations.
So far, Thrive has planted over 50,000 trees and offset over 200 tonnes of carbon!
After only a few months, we’ve reached 5% of our total goal. I couldn’t be more proud of our Thrive Forest and how it’s continuing to grow every day.
But taking this pledge was not a decision I took lightly. I couldn’t afford to. Planting one million trees will cost my business about £120,000 over the next eight years. This is not an insignificant amount to drop out of our bottom line, especially at our current size. Because of this, I’ve had to approach this pledge from an entrepreneurial mindset and find ways to cut costs while still reaching my goals.
My hope is by sharing these tips other business owners, like you, will realize this pledge is achievable. That the leap of faith will feel a little less scary and you’ll join me, and dozens of others who have taken the pledge already, in our fight against climate change.
Cut out the middleman to save costs
The Million Tree Pledge price estimates are based on what it would cost to plant 1 million trees with Ecologi, a great organization whose mission is to help people like you take on the climate crisis. Ecologi has transparent reporting so you can see exactly where your money is going, and they’re upfront with the fact that 15% of their income goes to running the organization.
Instead of buying the trees we plant from Ecologi, however, we’ve lined up a deal with Eden Reforestation. Ecologi buys their trees from Eden, so we could simply cut out the middleman and that slice that Ecologi uses to keep their organization running.
This decision alone could cut our costs from £120,000 to £85,000 – an almost 30% reduction. The same trees will still be planted, and brilliant organizations will still be supported, but in a way that’s more accessible to us. However, we love Ecologi so much that, for now, we’re sticking with them.
Embrace grey income
Lots of businesses have the opportunity to earn money on the side, beyond their standard income streams. For accountants, this grey income often comes in the form of commissions from lenders and credit providers. These businesses don’t need to pay for marketing or advertising because we act as their marketers by recommending their services to our clients.
In the past, I’ve always shied away from accepting grey income like this. There’s a regulatory requirement that any such commission is declared to the client, and I worried how this could appear to tarnish the advice I gave. I didn’t want any of my clients to wonder if I was really giving them the best advice, or simply trying to get an extra cheque.
But, with the Million Tree Pledge, it’s become more important than ever to bring in as much money as possible. I realized by not accepting any commission I was leaving money on the table that could be used for planting trees. I know my ethics, and I know I would never advise something that I didn’t stand behind 100%. Hopefully, all my clients know this, too.
Since this realization, I’ve started accepting the commission, notifying my clients, and using all the money to plant trees. This is projected to bring in an extra £30,000, which means our costs are down from £85k to £55k.
Turn extra savings into trees
On top of grey income, our Xero Gold Partner Certification has helped us plant upwards of 2,700 trees in a single month!
As a partner, we get a 25% discount on every Xero subscription we pay for on behalf of our clients. While maintaining Xero certification does have some overhead costs, our overall savings translate to about £350 a month, or £4,200 a year. Each month, I put all those savings towards planting trees so we can make steps towards our goal without eating into our bottom line.
Turn this into the 3 Million Tree Pledge
As part of the Million Tree Pledge, we also have the goal of bringing at least two more businesses on board to make the same pledge. As I said in my initial blog, it’s sort of like a wonderful, leafy, Ponzi scheme.
On the surface, £120,000 is a daunting amount of money for any business to pledge away, no matter how good the cause is. But, when you adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, you can cut that cost down while still doing your part to save the planet. And I’m sure that there are even more ways to make this pledge more accessible that I’ve yet to uncover!
If you’re seriously considering joining me, you can contact Million Tree Pledge to learn more. Together, we can make a difference.