Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg and an investment arm of the Ferrari-founding Agnelli family are among the backers of Italian e-commerce company Treedom, that is planting trees around the world to mitigate climate change.
Treedom, headquartered in Italy, has a vision “to make the world greener one tree at a time,” according to CEO Federico Garcea. It does so by inviting people to buy a tree, choosing which country they wish it to be planted in and then letting them follow its growth.
Trees can be gifted to friends or family, further raising awareness of the concept and there are monthly subscriptions ranging from one to multiple trees. For €29.90 ($35) a month, a person can offset 12 tons of CO2 a year, but smaller investments start from €9.90 a month (US$11.60).
Founded in 2010, Treedom gained B Corp certification in 2014 and to date has planted more than 10 million trees.
“It took nine years to plant the first 1 million trees, and only a year to plant the second million,” Garcea said in an interview with Reuters.
The latest funding round – which secured investments of US$10 million – will help the company expand its digital platform, launch new planting projects and open subsidiaries in Paris, Amsterdam and New York.
Around one-third of the funds came from Italian asset manager Banca Generali, with Italian merchant bank DRV Capital and the Agnelli family’s Exor investing $3.16 million and $300,000 respectively. Italian footballer Giorgio Chiellini and LVMH executive Andrea Guerra are among other small investors.
Rosberg, who retired from Formula 1 in 2016 after winning the world driver’s championship that year, has made several investments into sustainability enterprises in recent years, including Lilium, which is developing all-electric small jets.
“When we met to seal the partnership, I told Nico to imagine the impact we could have if every person or company in Europe gave a tree as a gift even once a year,” said Garcea.
Last year, Treedom’s sales reached $10.8 million and this year the company is eyeing $17.6 million.
To date, trees have been planted in Nepal, Kenya, Italy, Haiti, Cameroon, Madagascar, Tanzania, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Argentina, Thailand, and Ecuador, involving thousands of farmers. Many of the projects are now complete but new ones are being identified and developed all the time.