Cutting Through The Noise With Trillion Trees

Getting a collective to make the right decisions, not the easy ones

In the year of COP26 and all things post-Covid and post-carbon, Trillion Trees finds itself at a critical point. John Lotspeich, the new Executive Director, asked Something More Near to bring focus to the frenzy of activity and opportunity, to raise the profile of the Trillion Trees.

Sure, planting trees is a pretty easy sell. It’s one of the most popular pro-planet pledges, getting attention everywhere from the UN to Donald Trump to buy-one-get-one-tree beer cans with Brewdog. But moving the needle on mass extinction, the climate crisis and social inequality will take more than a few million saplings.

The Trillion Trees partners are helping governments protect and restore millions of hectares of prime biodiversity hotspots while still providing a source of income and standing up for the rights of the local communities. They’re literally saving lives, fighting carbon and driving systemic change from the heart of the forest to global round tables. This is not your regular plant-a-tree initiative. How do we get the world to see that?

We’re no strangers to complex stakeholder groups, but being inside the belly of a partnership of three of the world’s biggest conservation organisations, WWF, BirdLife and WCS, is definitely a first. Partnerships want to play nice. Particularly in the not-for-profit sector where everyone is nice, almost to a fault. But progress needs space for critical friends to debate and challenge. By facilitating conversations with the brilliant minds from across Trillion Trees, we were able to reaffirm the scale of their ambition and focus attention on the most critical decisions needed to make it happen.

The world needs Trillion Trees to think bigger.

Agreeing what NOT to do was the first step. The decision to not focus on the general public was almost cathartic. Suddenly the role of the partnership became much clearer and those in charge of fundraising and marketing had a brief that practically wrote itself. Targeting a more sophisticated audience with a demand for measured impact and an appetite for scale is no mean feat, but it informed a whole new social media and PR strategy, identifying more relevant content and reframing of their work.

As we face the biggest decade for action on climate change, the world doesn’t need another awareness campaign. We’ve galvanised a new team around a mission to speed up and scale up the positive power of forests. And we're helping Trillion Trees move from nice-guy NGO to authoritative impact accelerators, destined to take their rightful place at the top tables.

This is the Trillion Trees I signed up for.

In the coming weeks there will be plenty more changes at Trillion Trees, starting with a new website worthy of their ambition and impact. Watch. This. Space.