June 13, 2016 2 min read

“It all comes down to money” is something I hear often.  Yes, financial sustainability is important.  However, it isn’t the only variable to consider.

Applying a triple bottom line (TBL) approach to economy and enterprise requires broadening your view to include people, planet, and profit when making decisions. Under this approach, trees are an easy sell: they promote good health for people and planet, and support economies. 

First order of business: let’s talk about how trees save money. 

As one former teacher of mine always said “a dollar saved, is a dollar earned”. .

Trees reduce electricity costs. When planted strategically around a building or site, they cool it down naturally, which reduces the need for artificial cooling systems. 

Trees reduce water treatment costs by diverting rainwater from drain sewers. 

Trees increase property values. Some reports show that having mature trees or near a home can increase its value by at least 3%.  So if your house is valued at $100,000, planting trees can increase its value by $3,000 over time.

Little by little, these benefits add up, making it easy to prove that there are long-term economic advantages to planting trees.

What about in the short-term? And how can trees restore an economy? 

One great way to restore an economy is to create jobs. Tree planting will do just this—from the greenhouses to the fields, it's a labor-intensive process. So right from the start, reforestation can stimulate local economies. 

Once the trees get growing, there are plenty of ways to sustainably yield profit from them. For example, in the Amazon of Peru, Camino Verde is supporting economic empowerment through reforestation. 

They have identified ways to strategically plant trees that support local livelihoods—primarily by creating food forests. Communities that plant these forests will not only benefit from nutrient dense products for local consumption, but they will also be able to sell surpluses externally.

So, when we add together the cost savings created by trees—the profits they generate, the decrease in health care costs, and the improvements in the well-being of people everywhere,—it's clear that planting trees can give a lot of "bang for the buck."

Stay tuned for the final installment in this series, where we’ll explore how trees help to regulate our climate. And in the meantime, consider planting a tree to grow a local economy!


We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

by Leah Feor

 

Founder, Simply Sustainable