Building a social responsibility Brand
tentree was founded as a fashion brand with an underlying goal: to help plant more trees around the world in order to stem climate change. It’s clearly a message that’s resonated with consumers. Over the past seven years, they’ve grown from a start-up selling t-shirts in Vancouver to a firm with a presence across North America and Europe. CEO Derrick Emsley gives us a look inside.
From a young age, Saskatchewan born Derrick Emsley has been actively connecting people with environmental stewardship. At 16, he and his brother, Kalen, founded a tree planting company that sold carbon offsetting credits to businesses, a venture that saw over $1 million dollars in contracts, and planted 150,000 trees. This venture paved the way to becoming tentree’s CEO soon after graduating from Richard Ivey School of Business in 2012, where he has been steering the company’s vision ever since. In just under a decade, tentree has set new standards in apparel with environmentally progressive values. Named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2020, Derrick has become a voice for a modern generation—one who recognizes the necessity of a brand that’s earth-first, transparent, and community-focused.
tentree Founder Story and Bio
Kalen and Derrick Emsley’s entrepreneurial destinies were set as teenagers, when the brothers founded a company allowing corporations to purchase carbon credits by planting trees the pair provided on unused company land. The business also cemented the Emsley’s commitment to the environment, while providing the greater public with easier access and more opportunities to support the planet.
In 2010, Kalen and fellow tentree co-founder David Luba were hiking in the heart of Hawaii. It could have just been another trek, another forest, another passing day. But conversation turned towards conscientious brands like TOMS® Shoes, and Patagonia®. Specifically, while TOMS® held a presence for social awareness, and Patagonia® one for sustainability, there was room in the market for them to build a voice for the environmentally progressive consumer. There, they formed the first ideas for what would become tentree, envisioning a company structure allowing customers to plant trees through their purchase. Driven by passion and entrepreneurial talent, their business concept gained momentum. After appearing on CBC’s Dragon’s Den in 2012, tentree caught the world’s attention.
Now, with more than 40 million trees planted, online customers in over 60 countries, and distribution expanding from North America to Europe, tentree has become a company inspiring a new generation to embrace social and environmental responsibility. By planting ten trees for every item sold, they’re empowering a growing global community by aiming to become the most eco-progressive company on the planet.
just offsetting your carbon footprint – by creating
an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere. We know that one of the most sustainable
and cost-effective ways to accomplish this is by planting trees.
This Earth Day tentree wants its customers to become Climate+ – the action of going beyond net zero. It means doing more than just offsetting your carbon footprint – by creating an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We know that one of the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to accomplish this is by planting trees.