Find out more about our partnership with non-profit initiative JUST ONE Tree, to help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and reverse biodiversity loss.
The global climate crisis is something we can’t ignore. When a renowned naturalist like Sir David Attenborough says “The moment of crisis has come” and campaigners like Greta Thunberg speak of setting off an “irreversible chain reaction”, we all sit up and take notice.
Over the past few years, we’ve introduced a string of initiatives to help improve our sustainability and reduce our impact on the environment, as well as launching our own eco bathrooms range. However, our colleagues came together and decided more needed to be done.
- Introducing JUST ONE Tree
- Partnership with Victoria Plum
- Interview with JUST ONE Tree founder Amanda Bronkhorst
- How can you get involved?
Introducing JUST ONE Tree
After carrying out plenty of research, our eco task force approached JUST ONE Tree—a not for profit initiative which has a simple aim: planting trees in regions of the world badly affected by deforestation. This in turn leads to less harmful CO2 in the atmosphere and a rebalancing of biodiversity throughout the world. As part of the process, they also provide agricultural education and sustainable incomes to local communities in these affected areas.
But they don’t stop there. JUST ONE Tree concentrate on restoring the entire ecosystem by planting on land and in the oceans, and they also focus on helping to shape the next generation of planet-conscious thinkers by bringing environmental education into the classrooms with lesson plans and JUST ONE Tree Day (15th October or 1st October in Scotland).
And it really couldn’t be easier to help make a difference. For every £1 we or anyone else should contribute to JUST ONE Tree, they plant 1 tree in return.
We love this simple concept and are delighted to launch our partnership with JUST ONE Tree from today.
How will Victoria Plum be contributing?
As well as colleague initiatives, including tree planting to celebrate birthdays, weddings and births, we will also do the same for customers like you. Pick an Eco-Delivery slot or order a free catalogue and we'll make a further contribution to JUST ONE Tree.
What do JUST ONE Tree do?
To find out more about JUST ONE Tree, I chatted with founder and CEO Amanda Bronkhorst.
Adam: Hi Amanda, thanks for chatting with us today. So, my very first question is, can you explain to me what JUST ONE Tree is all about? What are you looking to achieve and how do you go about doing this?
Amanda: JUST ONE Tree is a non-profit initiative which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverses biodiversity loss through global reforestation. We make it simple for everybody to plant trees and take direct action on our climate and ecological emergency.
We have 3 core pillars that we focus on. Firstly, we plant trees on land, but secondly, we also tackle the issues our oceans are facing, such as ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures and marine biodiversity loss. We do that by planting lots of mangroves and also through a kelp regeneration programme. And thirdly, we bring environmental education into the classrooms, mainly through our JUST ONE Tree Day.
When I first read about it, the ocean planting really intrigued me. Could you tell me a bit more about mangroves?
When I first set up JUST ONE Tree, I learnt more and more about them and they’re actually pretty cool. Not only do they absorb 4 times more carbon per hectare than land-based tropical trees, but they’re also a breeding ground for fish. Three quarters of the world’s tropical fish species are born within their roots and they have a symbiotic relationship with coral reefs, so they’re very important to coastal ecosystems.
I’d always wanted to go further into the oceans. As a scuba diver in my spare time, you can’t ignore the issues like ocean acidification and the fact that shellfish their shells aren’t growing as they used to, it’s scary stuff…so I wanted to do something about that. I happened to watch this amazing film called “2040” where they talk about putting the technology we have today to good use when it comes to climate change, and questioning where we could be in 2040. And one of the things they talk about is a kelp regeneration project. A scientist in the film said, “kelp is the fastest-growing tree on the planet”, and I had a real lightbulb moment! So, I got in touch with them, and it’s their project we’ve chosen to work with. 3p from every £1 donated goes towards it.
As the founder of JUST ONE Tree, what motivated you to create this initiative?
It all goes back to 2019. My daughter was 2 at the time, Extinction Rebellion were in the news, Greta Thunberg came to speak at the Houses of Parliament and even David Attenborough had suddenly started talking about the climate emergency using more urgent language.
The main thing which influenced me was Greta’s speech. I put my daughter down for an afternoon nap and thought this is the first uninterrupted cup of tea I’ve had for years. I picked up the newspaper and read a transcript of Greta’s speech and there was this one line which filled me with dread and it basically said in 10 years’ time we will set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, which will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. And with a tear in my eye, I went upstairs to my daughter, thinking what kind of world have I brought her into? If we end up in an irreversible situation by the time she’s 12, what might it be like by the time she’s an adult? Would she decide not to bring have children of her own because of climate change?
So, it was that moment which made me seriously think there’s got to be something more. I already did things like recycling and drove as little as possible. As a producer in my old job, we’re problem-solvers, and I discovered how cheap it was to plant a tree. I thought if EVERYBODY knew this, rather than waiting for the government to take action, we could be the ones driving change and having an incredible impact on the climate crisis if we all worked together.
So, I did my research and joined forces with some reforestation projects. We designed a website, which I’d never done before. And somebody suggested doing some market research, so I thought I’d just put it out there and see what interest there was. If I planted 900 trees in a year and that’s where it all ended, well, that would be a good result.
And 2 years on? How many trees have you planted?
We’re about to punch through the 1 million tree mark!
Amazing! Are you surprised by this?
Well, there’s a yes and a no to that question. You always dream and believe something’s going to happen, but did I ACTUALLY think it was going to happen? Did I think that 154,000 children across 8 countries would take part in JUST ONE Tree Day or that 170 companies would be signed up with us? It’s really taken off!
Well, we’re delighted to be on-board with this amazing initiative. Do you actively approach companies who you’d like to work with?
No, the opposite is true. We have business and brands of all sizes working with us, and they have all approached us. The whole point is that everyone can have a direct impact, no matter who they are or how much they wish to be involved. Every tree really does add up.
That’s what I really like about your initiative. For the price of less than a coffee (£1 = 1 tree planted), you can start to make a real difference. I notice you plant trees in a select list of countries around the world. How do you choose these locations?
We plant closer to the Equator because it has the best positive effect in limiting global warming—and there are several reasons for this. Trees there grow faster, due to the nutrient rich soil and exposure to sunlight. There’s also the albedo effect, where tropical trees can help the planet to cool. Plus, with a high level of evaporation, cloud cover forms which also helps cool the earth. There’s also the social impact, where we can help local communities and prevent further deforestation.
There are key reasons why we choose these countries, putting people at the heart of reforestation and choosing our plots carefully and wisely. Indonesia, for example, is one of the best places on Earth to plant trees in terms of limiting climate change. Meanwhile, in Madagascar, we can help reverse biodiversity loss, and in Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth, we can achieve great social impact.
How do you engage with local communities?
Our reforestation projects provide agricultural education, training and sustainable incomes. For example, in Kenya, we plant trees in schools. The children adopt and care for them during their school life, so they get to know the local and global importance of protecting the environment. Now we’re linking up a school in the UK with one in Kenya and they’ve even begun writing letters to each other.
JUST ONE Tree Day is an initiative you mentioned earlier, taking place on 15th October (or 1st October in Scotland) 2021. Can you tell us more about this?
420 individual schools have taken part across 8 countries and we have even more signed up for JUST ONE Tree Day later in the year. I believe around 154,000 children have taken part, so far.
The most amazing thing for me was when I read a message from a school in Spain which said, “I hope you don’t mind, but we’ve created a song and a dance to go with JUST ONE Tree Day” and they sent me this amazing video they’d created. And I thought, from my idea sat in my home in Barnet, there was this ripple effect where children in different countries are understanding the importance of restoring the planet, but also growing trees for their future._
What is the best way for people to get involved with JUST ONE Tree?
Companies can integrate JUST ONE Tree into their business however they choose…it’s not prescriptive. Individuals can donate on a one-off or regular basis, or fundraise, by running a marathon for example, and setting up a page.
JUST ONE Tree Day really took off because it was the parents who went into their schools and asked for them to take part. We didn’t contact any schools. It was literally the parents who wanted to get involved. So that is a huge help to think that one act of downloading our invite and taking it into a school can result in planting 500–600 trees.
Thanks for your time Amanda. It’s been a truly fascinating chat and we look forward to working with you. Find out more about this initiative at https://www.justonetree.life/.
How can you get involved?
Pick an Eco-Delivery slot
When you check out at Victoria Plum, pick an Eco-Delivery slot (which means a driver is already in your area on that specific day, reducing overall emissions), and we'll make a contribution to JUST ONE Tree.
Order a free catalogue
When you order a free Victoria Plum catalogue, we'll plant a tree to offset the paper used.
Make a personal donation
For just £1 (less than the cost of a coffee), JUST ONE Tree will plant a tree on your behalf. You can even make this a regular donation. Donate now.
Ask for fewer presents and more trees
On your birthday, wedding or even at Christmas, why not ask for donations to JUST ONE Tree rather than the usual presents?
Do a spot of fundraising
Ever wanted to run a marathon or achieve something you never thought you would? Why not set up a fundraising page for JUST ONE Tree?
Get your children or grandchildren involved
JUST ONE Tree Day is a great opportunity to teach children how trees can help make a difference when it comes to climate change. Why not send this downloadable letter to the headteacher at your children’s (or grandchildren's) school?