A New Partnership: Jiminy’s & veritree
I am very proud to announce that Jiminy’s has partnered with veritree to launch a tree planting program. It’s the next step toward our objective of achieving climate neutrality with our products.
Many of you may know Jiminy’s was born with the objective of fighting climate change. We replace the traditional protein (cow/chicken) in our pet’s food with insect protein. By making this simple change we utilize less land and water and we’ve reduced the amount of greenhouse gases generated.
Our eco-calculator identifies these savings and illustrates them with examples like the number of trees that could be planted with the land savings. Our new partnership enables us to start planting those trees for real!
We’re planting 25,000 trees to start and with veritree we’ll plant more each year 🌳
How this all started…
A few months ago, I was interviewed by the Earth911 team. Before our discussion, they took a deep dive into Jiminy’s eco-savings calculations. It was really impressive and gratifying to have our numbers confirmed. They also pointed at two potential opportunity areas for us to explore.
The first was our packaging. This wasn’t new news to us – we already had a project team in place reviewing better packaging alternatives. I’m proud to say that you’ll see this new packaging from us in 2022!
The second opportunity area was related to CO2 emissions. They asked and then answered this question:
If a customer wanted to offset the CO2 produced from a year’s worth of Jiminy’s treats, including the packaging and distribution (about 2 weeks of treats per package, or 26 6-oz packages per year), how much do you suggest they offset?
The answer: 2/3rds of one mature tree worth of CO2 capture capacity per year.
Earth911 also pointed out that by planting just four trees today, someone could offset their Jiminy’s purchases for a decade.
It’s exciting to continue realizing sustainability gains. Every company should be mining for ways to save land and water and reduce greenhouse gases. It’s the responsible and, frankly, necessary action. Jiminy’s already saves land and water through our treats and food, but we’re not exempt. Climate change is the enemy and needs to be fought on every front.
Propagules: This woman is holding propagules. Propagules are the stick-like objects that are collected and can be planted directly as is, while some are brought to a nursery for a period of initial growth (pre-rooting) to support planting in certain environments.
Why trees? 🌳
I’ve long been a fan of the Trillion Trees project and the idea of planting trees resonated. It’s been said that forests are the lungs of the earth. They stabilize local weather patterns and help control the global climate. There’s too much CO2 warming our atmosphere. Protecting and restoring trees are two efficient and cost-effective ways to fix that.
There is no ‘one answer’ to tackling the climate and biodiversity crises. Based on their size and long life, trees are, however, a powerful tool for carbon sequestration in the fight against climate change. Scientists have modelled that IN ADDITION to cutting emissions, conserving, restoring and replanting trees could be the fastest and most economical way to help restore equilibrium. When trees are planted properly - e.g. planting the right trees in the right places - they also provide a wealth of additional benefits beyond carbon sequestration alone.
Deforestation: What many do not realize is that poverty is one of the leading causes of deforestation. Local communities cut down trees for firewood, shelter, or to make room for farming or sell as charcoal.
Where will the trees be planted?
Over time, trees will be conserved, protected and planted in multiple locations around the world, including Canada, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Tanzania, United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA). Our initial commitment will see 25,000 mangrove trees planted in Kenya.
Tree Nursery: These woman are planting propagules in a nursery. The traditional painting on the face of Malagasy women is called 'masonjoany' which typically is used to shield their skin from the sun.
What kind of trees?
The first batch of trees to be planted will be Mangrove trees. Scientific studies have found that Mangroves sequester carbon 2 – 4 times greater than mature tropical forests and contain the highest carbon density of all terrestrial ecosystems!
Over time, we’ll be planting and protecting multiple species of trees, with the chosen species depending on the location. We intend to grow the right type of trees in the right areas using local knowledge and people. By partnering with veritree we’ll be able to verify over time that our efforts are providing a long-term benefit.
What’s the difference between ‘Reforestation’ and ‘Afforestation’?
‘Reforestation’ is the process of planting trees in an existing forest where, for example, trees have been cleared for grazing cattle. ‘Afforestation’ means new trees are planted or seeds are sown in an area where there were no trees before, so a brand new forest arises. For afforestation, it’s imperative the land is appropriate for tree planting and the species of tree contributes positively to the area’s natural biodiversity.
How much CO2 do trees absorb?
How much CO2 a tree can absorb - or sequester - depends on multiple factors, including the species and size of tree, the growing conditions and its maturity. As you might expect, a large, fully mature tree absorbs much more CO2 per year than a young, growing sapling. A mature tree also has a much larger amount of stored carbon in its trunk than a young tree. Different species of tree absorb CO2 at different rates, with some being more ‘efficient’ than others. The Mangroves that we’re planting are extremely efficient!
Mangrove Forest: In a recent study, scientists estimated that the wood and soil of mangrove forests along the world’s coastlines hold 3 billion metric tons of carbon — more than tropical forests.
What’s the difference between “absorb” and “sequester”?
Nothing really. In this context, ‘absorb’ and ‘sequester’ mean the same thing and relate to the amount of carbon dioxide a tree absorbs - or sequesters - through the process of photosynthesis. For those in need of a biology lesson reminder (like me!), photosynthesis is the process by which plants take energy from sunlight and turn it into energy for respiration, growth and reproduction, allowing them to stay alive. The efficiency is breathtaking. Trees absorb CO2 from the air, water from the soil and light from the sun, and turn these into glucose and energy.
What additional benefits do trees provide?
Beyond CO2 sequestration, trees provide multiple additional benefits to people and planet alike. Here are just some of them.
1) Air purification: trees clean the air and provide the oxygen which humans and other species need to breathe.
2) Temperature regulation: trees help cool the air, which is particularly important in towns and cities that heat up mainly due to cars and the substitution of asphalt for vegetation. There’s nothing like the direct shade a tree can provide on a hot, sunny day.
3) Flood prevention: trees are incredible flood-defense mechanisms. They consume a lot of water, and their root systems also strengthen surrounding soils and riverbanks.
4) Soil quality and food production: trees improve the soil quality around them, making it more nutrient-rich and fertile for other plants. Furthermore, they provide us with delicious and healthy food. How about them apples?
5) Mental health benefits: it might seem a stretch, but trees have been proven to reduce stress and make us feel happier and more calm.
Planting: This man is planting a pre-rooted tree.
How does this impact the local community?
Beyond rebuilding forests, these projects create jobs for the local communities. For instance, the mangrove project in the pictures (the Madagascar project) is an “employ-to-plant” model whereby locals gain consistent, good-paying jobs to plant trees. Over 75% of the population of Madagascar lives on less than $2 USD/day and poverty is, in fact, one of the leading drivers of deforestation.
Local communities cut down trees for firewood, shelter, room to farm or to make charcoal to sell. It’s a vicious cycle. Trees are cut down, leading to soil erosion and habitat destruction, leaving fewer opportunities to escape poverty. Educating local communities on the importance of planting trees - along with the restoration’s employment and engagement. Some members of the community are often employed beyond the initial planting to be protectors / stewards of the new forest. Planting that tree has a long economic shadow.
Planting: This woman is planting propagules.
Why did you decide to work with veritree?
Our business is making pet food and treats, not planting trees. We wanted to give back and plant trees but don’t have the skills in house to do it right. We chose veritree because they not only help get the trees planted, but they also work with local communities and ensure the trees survive to maturity.
Here’s a bit more about veritree…
Background - In 2006, Derrick Emsley started Greenfield Carbon Offsetters. Their focus was planting trees on marginal farmland as a way to sequester carbon and create carbon offsets. In 2012, tentree was founded and was built as a “tree planting company that happens to sell apparel.”
Their plan was to create a business model not based on handouts and would
allow them to plant trees. The model was simple - buy one clothing item, plant ten trees. Over the past 10 years, tentree sales are responsible for planting over 70 million trees.
Around 2018, tentree wanted their planting projects to have more transparency and accountability, so veritree was created to solve this problem. Three years later, they began supporting other corporate sponsors, ensuring the funding of planting projects was secure, auditable, and impactful.
Technology - veritree serves as a blockchain-based, integrated planting management system that connects sponsors of projects directly with the impacts on the ground. The system solved many of the problems facing tree planting and nature-based solutions across the globe such as double counting or lack of additionality, the poor monitoring for permanence, and the inability to collect usable data. Here’s how it works:
- veritree Collect - veritree works with some of the top ground-level planting organizations across the globe where it rolls out the veritree collect application. The veritree team visits all of these locations to ensure effective rollout of the platform and audit the ongoing impact. veritree collect is a data collection tool designed for use in low-internet environments. It utilizes offline GPS, allowing planters to know where trees are to be planted, to easily collect data on trees planted and their survivability rates, as well as a project’s socio-economic impacts. All data collected in the veritree collect app is signed off on and encrypted, and is synced with the veritree management platform for approval and allocation.
- veritree Management - the veritree management platform receives data from the ground where it can be analyzed for discrepancies, data irregularities, or mistakes. Once Field Updates are approved, trees are digitized and turned into “inventory items” that the system only allocates once. The data attached to these trees (time, date, GPS, polygon, species, etc.) allows the platform to tag any further analysis or auditing directly to that planting report (survivability, inventory reports, carbon monitoring, etc.). The Management platform serves as an “TreERP” and ensures trees are never double-counted and provides transparent ownership records along with one-of-a-kind visibility into a firm’s impact.
- Partner Portal - once trees have been allocated to a sponsor, they’re provided with a “Partner Portal”. Within the Partner Portal, the company can see the impact of their order, planting progress, date & time of a tree planting, along with survivability reports to be delivered later, and more. From this portal, sponsors see their global impact which is standardized across many different project types, planting species, and more.
Challenges - Nature-based solutions face many challenges to achieve scale. veritree provides a platform that works to solve many of these issues, increasing the confidence to invest in nature:
- Double Counting - with decades of experience in the tree planting space, along with supporting top organizations globally, veritree realized there was a fundamental problem. Organizations were unable to confidently say that a given tree was not claimed by another organization. veritree now digitizes trees and creates a transparent record of ownership using blockchain technology, ensuring there’s complete transparency and confidence.
- Additionality - many existing solutions utilize remote-sensing technology to determine a restoration project’s efficacy. Unfortunately, for tree planting, this solution isn’t usable for the first 3-5 years that are absolutely critical in ensuring the work is having the intended benefit - survivability, socio-economic impacts, and more. veritree gathers data directly from the ground and translates it into real-time data to identify challenges, opportunities, or irregularities. This data allows quick meaningful decisions.
- Permanence - veritree is focused first on successful tree planting initiatives and monitoring these projects for the first 5 years through ground-level data. Beyond 5 years, veritree employs remote-sensing technology to monitor projects on an ongoing basis and identify any risks to survivability.
- Digitization - the vast majority of data collected from the ground across global restoration projects is paper-based. The few projects that collect information digitally use a disparate suite of tools that rarely talk to each other. This often results in little visibility and significant margin for error. veritree is an integrated planting management system connecting sponsors directly with ground-level data, and ensures the information is correctly managed along the way. By digitizing this information, they’re also able to better inform future planting opportunities, make better decisions, and create better projects.
- Diversification - veritree partners with the world’s best organizations, offering access to different types of projects (agroforestry, reforestation, etc.) These projects use the veritree system which ensures transparency, standardization, and follow-through.