Chris Kaiser is the founder and CEO of Click A Tree. He has worked and lived on 5 continents to date. His last stint in Thailand, living and working in close contact with elephants, drove him to develop Click A Tree, a company that helps individuals plant trees and fights climate change from the comfort of their screens.
His vision is to melt capitalistic values and charitable work together, and he’s currently on a mission to help businesses become more sustainable while driving profits at the same time. Together with corporate partners of different sizes and from various industries he develops tailor-made strategies to make planting trees profitable, so both our planet and the partnering business benefit. Let’s check his interview now.
Midlands Traveller: Tell me a little bit about your background in business?
Chris Kaiser: Well, my business background is mostly in tourism. I completed a degree in Tourism Management, but I have lived and worked on 5 different continents, gathering more than 12 years of experience in the industry. I established a solid network, and it was super handy when I decided to start B’n’Tree with tourism partners.
MT: How did you come up with the idea of a business like yours?
CK: For me, it started in Thailand. That’s where I saw the devastation of deforestation first-hand, and the effect it had on local endangered elephant species. I knew something had to be done. Incidentally, at the time I was working on contracts between a complicated chain of hospitality and tourism companies, each of them encouraging travellers to visit Thailand.
There was so much commission! So, I thought, maybe they’d rather spend that commission on something more sustainable like planting trees? They were enthusiastic from the very start. We tailored solutions to plant trees for some of those individual companies in a way that suited them. They became more sustainable, trees got planted, and eco-conscious customers were happy too.
MT: Tell me about Click A Tree’s mission and what products and services do you offer?
CK: Our mission is to make sustainability simple. It really is as simple as that, and we do it in two ways: one, by offering customers the chance to plant a tree; two, by working with businesses to plant trees on their behalf.
But we also plant trees for businesses. That involves tailoring a solution that is normally completely unique to them. We help them become more sustainable, they attract more eco-conscious consumers, and more trees get planted. Everybody’s happy.
MT: What is unique about your business?
CK: Well, as I’ve already mentioned, we keep sustainability simple. With a payment method and a few other basic details, users can plant as many trees as they like, all over the world. Our travel platform – B’n’Tree – is unique too. Travellers can plant free trees just by booking travel online or reserving accommodation with our partners the same way they normally would.
And our B2B solutions are unique too. It’s different for every company. I Love Sushi, for instance, even created a ‘tree roll’ that plants a tree with every purchase, so we’re always open to finding new ideas and new ways to plant trees.
MT: What kind of people can join this kind of initiative?
CK: Anyone! That’s the beauty of it. Hardcore environmentalists, people that are new to a ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle, you mum, your mate, anybody. It’s designed for anybody and everybody. Trees also make for a wonderful sustainable gift, so quite often we see people planting trees on behalf of a loved one, friend, or partner.
Even when they visit our site, users have the option to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter. We plant a free tree just to say thanks for signing up, so it really is open for anybody to join.
MT: What are the challenges of a business like yours?
CK: There’s certainly no shortage of environmental challenges. Global weather is becoming more and more extreme and our world is heating up. We need to plant as many forests as possible because the deforestation rate is still higher than the reforestation rate.
There’s huge potential for tree-planting around the planet, we just need to start using it. We hope to keep attracting new tree-planters and improving our visibility so that we can all help address these challenges. We’re always posting on our Instagram, our Facebook, and trying to urge businesses to start planting trees. When we do, every living thing on our planet benefits.
MT: How is your business helping people to join a more sustainable lifestyle?
CK: Again, this is where keeping sustainability simple is so, so important. A lot of people see sustainability as a massive burden, and something they need to put a lot of effort into. Not so. It should be a part of everyday life, and that’s our ultimate goal.
First of all, we help businesses become more sustainable. They do good, and they attract new eco-conscious consumers. But even without meaning to, their customers support a green business and promote sustainability. With every action and every transaction, we make it possible for people to live a greener lifestyle and plant trees.
And besides, what’s more, sustainable than planting a tree? People can plant a tree to create work in developing countries, provide habitat to endangered animal species, battle climate change, and provide us all with the air we need to breathe.
MT: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business like yours?
CK: Just do it, seriously. Believe in yourself. Don’t aim for perfection, don’t wait for a ‘perfect time’ that’s never going to arrive. Start that project today, make the mistakes you’re bound to make, and turn those lessons into reality.
It doesn’t take much effort to start your business Facebook or Instagram channel. Get a website developed and start sharing your idea or your product with potential fans. From there, you’ll be able to build a network quicker than you would think. Then, you can improve your business with real-life feedback from actual clients, and everything progresses from there.
MT: What are the next steps to Click A Tree?
CK: We aim high, and we want to make planting trees an everyday habit. We want trees to be planted without even thinking about it – when we buy a coffee when we jump on public transport. Every single daily action should plant a tree somewhere. And when it does, we’ll have a healthier and better planet.
We’ll continue to plant trees on current projects and future sites around the world and keep on coming up with new ways to reforest our planet as simply as possible.
Click A Tree on Social Media