Earth Day and Arbor Day are often a high point of the year for PrintReleaf as many of our partners and their customers celebrate and promote their collaboration with us. At this time each year I like to take a step back and look at our progress since our inception.
It’s hard to believe, but PrintReleaf went ‘live’ just over 5 years ago, in March of 2014. We’re very grateful for the growing number of partners we work with – on both the ‘Print’ and the ‘Releaf’ side of our business. Our mutual success is interdependent and we’re fortunate to be aligned with partners that strongly support one another. Moreover, our success is dependent on customers who value sustainability in their everyday business practices because they value our global environment. The good news is an ever-increasing number of customers share the same vision and values.
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Last month, we crossed over the 8,000 customer mark through which we’ve now planted over 1 million standard trees and… releafed nearly 10,000,0000,000 pages (approximately 2 million cases of paper). Our daily planting rate (DPR) now stands at 1,661 trees per day! In an 8 hour business day, that’s over 200 trees per hour of net-new forestry for the planet. We’re excited about these numbers and we’re optimistic about our collective ability to grow them.
Sometimes lost in the conversation is the true environmental value we are delivering. I was reminded of this when, on pure coincidence, I read an article last week from the Yale E360 News, published by their school of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The article details the lack of environmental benefits provided by a tree farm or plantation compared to natural forests, specifically:
1) Forest researchers analyzed the small print of government declarations about what kind of forests they planned to create. They discovered that 45 percent of promised new forests will be monoculture plantations of fast-growing trees like acacia and eucalyptus, usually destined for harvesting in double-quick time to make pulp for paper.
2) Such forests would often decrease biodiversity rather than increase it, and would only ever hold a small fraction of the carbon that could be captured by giving space for natural forests. Another 21 percent of the “reforestation” would plant fruit and other trees on farms as part of agroforestry programs; just 34 percent would be natural forests.
Reading about the downside of trees farms and the upside of planting natural forests was a positive reinforcement of our work. Currently, PrintReleaf ONLY plants natural forests and we do NOT plant monocultural tree farms or agroforests. We are also mindful of only planting species that are native to their region.
This was part of the mission from day one and now it’s part of the message and the story we’re continuing to write. Thank you for being a big part of it. Happy Arbor Day!