Why we don’t a plant tree

We don’t plant a tree for every notebook we sell, because it does not contribute to solving the root cause of the paper problem.


We face large scale deforestation and biodiversity loss due to too much pressure on our natural resources in general. To offer you a tree planted for every notebook you buy, is a misplaced band-aid. We create a healthy paper industry for you instead.

In the past we have considered to plant a tree for every book sold. The only reason we would do something like that would be for marketing purposes. The ‘buy one give/plant one’ model is a business strategy to make people feel good about their purchase immediately. It is often times a quick serotonin fix for the buyer and good revenue for the seller (here is an insightful article on the difficulty of such ‘one for one’ models and their unintended consequences). It distracts from the difficult route we must walk to truly solve the most pressing issues. That is not a quick fix. It is not a walk in the park. It is a serious endeavour that (yes this also frustrates me) takes years.

The environmental damage done during production of an item you purchase, or a trip you make, cannot be repaired by planting a tree on the other side of the planet. A tree takes multiple years to start storing even a little CO2. It takes up to 500 years to restore biodiversity in a forest. So the positive effect of planting one tree, takes a long time to come into fruition. If ever (a lot of tree saplings die, it’s considered natural).

Inevitably, the production of a product leads to pressure on one or multiple natural resources. Amongst others by felling trees. The best we can do is create a healthy production industry, keep the trees we already have where they belong (in the ground, mostly), and downscale the amount of products we produce in general.

Large scale tree planting initiatives do also not always live up to the promises. Plantations are created for CO2 sequestration but often times also have a commercial goal, for example ‘selective logging’. Which is understandable, but it doesn’t offer us a restoration of biodiversity. As clearly explained in this article, “helping biodiversity doesn’t offer the financial return of carbon storage or timber markets.” The trees are a revenue model, not an entity on itself or part of the system. And the good news is, a forest restores itself, when it is left at peace, that is called ‘natural regeneration’.

There lies a responsibility for companies and their marketing departments to inform their supporters, customers and fans, about what it really takes to create change and a healthy planet. And what the company does to contribute to restore biodiversity and halt deforestation.

That is why at Paper on the Rocks, we research, develop, and scale up paper made from alternative resources like waste streams. That way we reduce the pressure on our forests and create an industry not as reliant on a huge supply of trees, water and energy as is currently the case.

Thus if you buy a notebook from Paper on the Rocks, you directly contribute to repairing a root cause of these problems we face. We promise to not give you a quick fix, or a band-aid.

We solve the real problem. And will continue to do so in the long run.


(This article is not created by ChatGPT but by our founder, Anne Pleun. It took 8 years of building a company and 5 hours of research to create.)


PS there are some beautiful tree-planting NGO initiatives like Treedom who focus on restoring biodiversity who can use your support.

PPS In the past we have considered and temporarily implemented other ways to support initiatives focussed on biodiversity restoration through our revenue model. We have now concluded it the best way to create a healthy paper industry by placing our focus on the root cause and R&D efforts.

PPPS More background articles can be found here and here.

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