Imagine what 30,000 Trees looks like.
It probably looks like a big forest. And we just planted one!
Because of our awesome customers buying our Cedar Shoe Trees, we were able to plant 30,000 Trees in December. How?
Rewind a Few Years
Back when Sam and I started HOUNDSBAY, we wanted it to have a charitable cause that was somehow tied to our products.
Our first and most popular product, our Cedar Shoe Trees, come from a tree, the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana for you science folks). And the product has the word "trees" in it.
Add those facts to our joint concern about climate change and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and it just seemed natural (pun intended) that our charitable cause would be to Plant Trees.
How Do We Plant Trees?
So we found a reputable charity called One Tree Planted. We partnered with them, and created a program called "Trees for Trees" where if a customer buys a pair of shoe trees, then a tree will be planted in North America. We kind of got the idea from Tom's Shoes "one for one" program.
Can we afford it? I'm sure you've heard the debate. Should a company only focus on profit? Or should it pursue a charitable cause also. Well back in law school I was taught that a company exists to make its shareholders wealthy.
But maybe it's not so black and white any more. A company serves many purposes. It creates jobs, provides society with valuable products and services, and stimulates general economic activity. So why can't it also plant a few damn trees in an attempt to offset its carbon impact?
We have to pay to plant those trees. And it's not always easy. But we see it as part of our long term sustainable growth. It also makes us and our customers feel good.
It's Not Political
You can argue that planting trees is a hippie, liberal, tree-hugging thing to do. And that only left-leaning people believe in climate change (which isn't true any more).
BUT, don't the good folks on the right like the forest and wilderness also? What about all the tough, rural outdoorsman? Think about Teddy Roosevelt (one of my favorite presidents, btw). Think hunting and fishing.
And doesn't everyone enjoy hiking and enjoying the awesomeness of a big forest?
If you ask me, planting more trees and forests is not, and should not be political. And therefore planting trees is a good, "centrist" charitable cause in my opinion.
Is our program "Greenwashing"?
- Wikipedia says that Greenwashing is when more money is spent on advertising being "green" than is actually spent on the environmentally sound practices. In our case, we don't spend any advertising money promoting our tree planting.
- To make our shoe trees, we are not cutting down trees in a forest. We are using Cedar that is grown as an agricultural crop, and then likely replanted by the grower.
- When a customer purchases a pair of our shoe trees, which are a small part of a tree, a new "entire" tree will be planted in a real forest through our program.
- By making a product out of the cedar wood, it locks that carbon into that product for an extended period of time.
To be clear, we are definitely not claiming to be carbon neutral, or that we don't have an impact on the environment. But for a small company, this is the best way for us to give back, and we're proud of it.
We are truly thankful to our customers for making this happen. We really enjoy talking to you on the phone and through email. Sometimes our conversations with a passionate customer about shoe care are more serious than we practiced law!
Cedar Shoe Trees have been around a long time and there are many companies selling them, so we appreciate you getting your shoe trees from us and causing a tree to be planted.
I wish you a Happy and Successful 2020!
Rich from HOUNDSBAY
"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world." - John Muir
Teddy Roosevelt & John Muir admiring American Forests