Imagine a world where every time you made a purchase, a tree was planted.
On April 22, Earth Day, we’ll see what that world looks like. At Ten Thousand Villages locations across Canada and online, 10% of Saturday sales will be sent to Get Paper Industry, a fair trade organization from Nepal, to support their tree planting program.
Planting is not new to Get Paper. In fact, as part of their fair trade commitment to improving the environment, they work to offset their paper exports every year with new trees planted in and around their community.
We were so excited when we heard about this program that we had to get involved. We contacted Milan, the Business and Community Development Facilitator, to learn more.
Ten Thousand Villages: What sparked the idea to start a tree planting program? How does it tie in to your day-to-day business?
Milan, GPI: The current tree plantation program is based on our total production of products. For us it is important to plant trees.
We basically produce recycled paper or buy paper with FSC certification, which guarantees the paper comes from a well-managed forest. As we want to do tree plantation as one of our environmental activities, we decided to link tree plantation with our exports. So we calculate our export weight every year. There is a standard that 1 ton of paper requires 17 trees, so we use this arithmetic to calculate number of trees to be planted every year.
Villages: How many trees does GPI plant in an average year? When does the planting happen?
Milan: In 2016, we planted 2448 trees, as we exported 144 tons of paper in 2015. In 2017 we have a target of planting 6205 trees because we exported 365 tons in 2016. We do the tree plantation during rainy season (June – July) as it is a suitable time for plantation.
Villages: How much does a tree cost?
Milan: It varies, but on average it will cost approx. 95 cents US (about $1.25 Canadian) to plant and care for a single tree.
Villages: Where are you planting the trees?
Milan: Currently we are planting in the Chunikhel village area, where 12 hectares is available for plantation. This land belongs to the local community and it is about 2 kilometres away from our office.
Villages: Who does the planting? How long does it take to plant that many trees?
Milan: We do the tree planting ourselves, with the help of local community members. All our producers and the local community people are engaged in tree plantation. We all go together to the site and do the plantation. Last time we had about 500 producers and about 100 local community people, so it is easy to plant trees. It becomes fun as well as an achievement. At the same time, our producers also become aware of the role trees perform for the environment. Generally we do the planting in one day. There is one person employed to look after trees, so he takes care of the trees.
Every day, Ten Thousand Villages and its artisan partners work to lower impacts of our business on the environment. Fair trade is committed to a clean environment for the producers who make products and the people who buy them. But this Saturday will be even better. Every tree planted will help clean the air, slow erosion, and provide animal habitat for generations. Visit us on Earth Day to help make a difference.