Partnering with Trees That Count to support the planting of native New Zealand trees

At solarZero our vision is for a cleaner, brighter New Zealand, and we believe in Kaitiakitanga - a constant reminder to look after our land and people for the generations to follow.

So, we’re always on the lookout for ways we can make our services that little bit greener. That’s why we’ve partnered with Trees That Count to make our broadband options a little bit greener.

Who are Trees That Count?

Trees That Count is an environmental charity, bringing together business, community and everyday Kiwis with the vision of helping plant millions of native trees across the country.

Founded in 2016, Trees That Count is managed by Project Crimson, an organisation originally established to save the endangered Pōhutakawa and Rātā trees. They now work with organisations, schools, iwi, communities and individuals throughout New Zealand to support restoration programmes. 

How the partnership works

This year we partnered with Trees That Count to make our broadband a little greener. Every new broadband connection made by a solarZero customer will contribute to the funding of native trees and add to the pool of trees planters can apply for. 

We’re not sure yet where these trees will end up, but we’re excited to find out and go say hello once they’re in the ground. And, you can be sure it will be with a deserving native restoration project.

Why Trees?

Like us, Trees That Count are keen to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere to help mitigate the effects of climate change. And trees are a great tool for this. Alongside being pretty cool for providing us with shade, being a habitat for our native fauna, and helping with soil stability and nutrients, trees sequester CO2. This means they ‘suck’ carbon out of the air during photosynthesis and store it in their trunk, and even in the soil. The longer the tree lives, the more carbon it helps remove from the atmosphere.

Why native trees?

New Zealand native trees can live for thousands of years. ‘Te Matua Ngahere’, or The Father of the Forest, for example, is estimated to be over 2,000 years old. Living that long gives them more time to suck that carbon out of the air - and keep it locked away.

Other than their longevity, native trees also support New Zealand’s native biodiversity and are an important part of our heritage. (Check out 20 reasons to love natives here)

But, it also goes beyond just the planting of trees and helps create a mindset focused on what we can all do to help the environment.

As Melanie Seyfort, Trees That Count's Partnership Manager stated in an article published in The NZ Herald last year:

“It's not just about planting trees. It's also about planting things in people's minds too. It's about environmental education and helping the community as a whole to see what the benefits are and how much good it can do."

So, how do Trees That Count support the planting of native trees?

Like us, Trees That Count likes to do things a little differently. Unlike other projects, the trees you fund through Trees That Count don’t go towards a specific planting project or region. Rather, Trees That Count acts as an online marketplace that connects funders with planters from around the country. 

“We see ourselves as connectors in many ways. New Zealanders' keen desire to support native planting has always been there, and so have the amazing community groups, schools, iwi and landowners who desperately need support to carry out regeneration work. But these groups don't always know how to connect with each other, and that's where our marketplace provides a vital link. “

- Melanie Seyfort, Trees That Count Partnership Manager 

Here’s how it works: 

Via the Trees That Count website, individuals and organisations can gift or donate native trees to add to a tree pool. Tree planters then apply for these trees and plant them in their local area. This way they can ensure that all gifted or donated trees will go to a worthy project, and will be looked after for years to come.

In 2020, 257 projects resulting in 217,681 native trees being planted were facilitated through the Trees That Count marketplace, and these figures are only set to grow. This year, they’ve already committed to supplying 350,000 native trees for over 275 projects - a number that could still go up as the year goes on.

Why so popular?

As Kiwis, we’re quite proud of our ‘big backyard’ and see protecting our native flora and fauna as part and parcel of living in New Zealand. However, we’re not always sure what steps we can take to help. For both individuals and businesses Trees That Count has made it easy and accessible for anyone to make an impact.

Melanie Seyfort, Trees That Count's Partnership Manager says

“We’ve tried to make Trees That Count an accessible and easy option for everyone. People really do see the value in our native trees, but aren’t always sure how they can help, especially if they don’t have the ability to personally plant. 

Likewise, many businesses want to do the right thing but aren’t quite sure how, or what that looks like, or don’t have the capacity for a full sustainability programme. We are here to support any business that wants to help grow Aotearoa and make a real, tangible impact: boosting our native biodiversity is much more valuable than simply offsetting carbon offshore or greenwashing, and we think businesses really do see that value.”

How can you help?

Supporting the work of Trees That Count is incredibly easy. All you need to do is head over to their website (www.treesthatcount.co.nz) and choose an option: gift or donate. Trees cost just $10 and make great gifts.

If you have a planting project you’d like to kick off, but don’t have any trees handy, you can get started here to apply for free trees through the marketplace. Just make sure you fit the criteria they outline here. You can also sign up for one of our Broadband plans if you’re a solarZero customer. By bundling broadband, powered by 2degrees, to your solarZero energy service, you’ll contribute to native tree planting projects through Trees That Count. Get in touch about our plans today.