With inflation driving up the cost of everything from household goods to fuel for our vehicles, you may be wondering how One Tree Planted is able to keep planting trees at the low price of just $1. The answer lies within our finance structure. Every One Tree Planted project has a budget, which breaks down the primary tree planting costs that are covered by us. In general these include:
- Seed/seedlings (typically $0.30 to $0.80 per tree)
- Site preparation & planting (typically $0.20 to $0.50 per tree)
- Equipment & materials (typically $0.05 to $0.20 per tree)
- Site monitoring & maintenance for 3 years (typically $0.30 to $1 per tree)
If that seems pretty straightforward, that’s because it is — and we pride ourselves on being transparent with how donation dollars are spent. Every project is different, and every region that we plant in has a unique cost structure that’s dictated by the realities on the ground. In some areas, planting trees at scale averages out to much less than $1, while in other areas it costs the full dollar. This variation in cost allows us to ensure that all of our projects are covered — even if, for example, mulch suddenly costs twice as much this year. And although there are specific cases, like Urban Forestry projects, where it costs us more than $1 to plant each tree, the backbone of our reforestation model will always be $1 for 1 tree.
Reforestation At Scale Is an Inflation-Resilient Practice
Just as tree planting is naturally a pandemic-resilient occupation due to its often remote + socially distanced nature, so too is reforestation a naturally inflation-resilient practice. At its core, our cost structure is frugal. How so? Our projects are undertaken with local reforestation partners, typically using the supportive infrastructure that is already available to them. Planting trees is guided by nature and projects progress with its cycles and seasons.
We prioritize working with local experts and volunteers over bringing in outside help unless specifically required for project success. And most of our trees are hand planted; just a shovel, a sapling, and a determined tree planter.
Over and over, we’ve seen that tree planting outcomes are significantly brighter when the local community is directly involved in the process. When we are connected to the work on the ground at the human and the ecosystem level. Our partners are in tune with the land, familiar with local stakeholders, and aware of their needs and how their communities will benefit from planting trees.
Another factor is the scale of most of our planting projects. When purchasing large quantities of seed, seedlings and other materials in bulk, prices per unit are much cheaper. When investments in infrastructure do happen to be necessary, their cost is spread out amongst several thousand (or million) seedlings.
And finally, our operation costs consistently fall below the industry standard of 20% of our total budget. Although it is growing, we still plant a lot of trees relative to the size of our team. And we intend to keep it that way.
Inflation may be putting a damper on your finances, but helping the environment doesn’t have to wreck your budget. With One Tree Planted, you can still plant trees for just $1. Plant a tree today!