:: World Tree ::
Bloomberg Businessweek just featured this fast-growing company and its Empress Tree, and not only did the story go viral, the 82,000+ hits it got within 4 days places it “among their most popular sustainability stories of the year.”
What’s all the buzz about?
Well, the world is starting to pay attention to the empress tree: It matures several times faster than your average oak or pine and absorbs about 103 tons of carbon a year per acre.
INTRODUCING the inspiring, fast-growing female-led company that’s starting to get widespread attention as a for-profit, for-good solution to climate change: World Tree.
THE STORY THAT’S GOING VIRAL…
Bloomberg TicToc, the news brand that has “cracked the code on delivering bite-size chunks of news and analysis to a millennial-skewing mobile crowd on Twitter,” knows a good story when they see one. TicToc has more than half a million followers, about 2.2 million ave daily views and 1.5 million ave daily viewers.
WITHIN THE FIRST 24 HOURS: More than 6,000 views…!
Note: Video not able to be embedded here, to view it go to http://bit.ly/worldtreeontictoc
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? Seeing is believing: FROM BABY TREE TO GIANT IN 4 MONTHS.
These pics from a Georgia farmer show one tree’s growth between April 9 - August 9 of this year, from a tiny sapling to 19+ feet.
The Empress Splendor is the fastest growing hardwood tree in the world.
And with it, the female-founded company World Tree is going beyond sustainability, instead playing the game of regeneration.
With an innovative business model, World Tree’s founder, Wendy Burton, is seeing a longtime dream realized and has established a women-led, for-profit-for-good business in a male-dominated industry. [Scroll down this page for some of the details of her wild ride from selling lingerie to heading up a timber company!]
How does it work? World Tree supplies free trees to farmers, supports and mentors them during the growing process, and then splits the revenue from the first harvest, with half going to the farmer and half to World Tree and its investors—after which, the farmers own the trees outright. (Oh, and the trees grow back from the stumps, mature in 7-10 years, and will cycle through that process up to 7 times.) Reported in Bloomberg Businessweek: Given the tree’s extraordinary drawdown rate, “an empress acre equals taking 80 cars off the road.”
This spring, the company raised more than $1 million via the crowdfunding site WeFunder.
Farmers’ Almanac wrote about the unique Empress Splendor tree:
…and noted that the Guinness Book of World Records referred to the Empress as “officially amazing.”
In his book Drawdown, author Paul Hawken lists agroforestry as one of the top 15 ways of reversing global warming.
His response to the World Tree team about the Empress Tree and their business model? “Brilliant.”
(Want to check out World Tree’s vibe while you’re getting getting acquainted with the tree and its champions? Here’s their playlist on Spotify.)
What’s so special about the Empress Tree?
Fast growing hardwood tree; matures in 7-10 years
Non-invasive, non-GMO, naturally occurring
Produces lightweight hardwood lumber
Regrows from the stump after harvest without replanting
Perfect for intercropping and permaculture
And due to their fast growth rate, Empress Trees drawdown more carbon dioxide than any other tree. (1 acre = about 103 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.)
And why are investors jumping on this?
There are, of course, regulations that limit what World Tree can say, exactly, about investments and returns. However, there’s some information available here that’s useful in terms of the pricing of lumber in the current market and ranges of possible returns.
But this isn’t just a great climate change-related story.
It’s an awesome human interest story.
Meet Beckett Crawford, World Tree’s youngest investor, who was 10 years old when he told his mom he wanted to invest his paper route savings in the “really cool” Empress tree with its Jack-in-the-beanstalk growing rate and massive leaves. But make no mistake, Beckett’s all about the potential returns as well and is thrilled to help the planet by growing trees (and his money!) at the same time. “I feel like there should be more businesses that make a difference in the world,” says Beckett, who’s now 11 and will be 20 when his trees are harvested. “It feels good.”
When it came time for President Jimmy Carter to harvest the Empress Trees he’d planted on his grounds in Plains, Georgia, about 20 years ago, he chose World Tree to partner with him.
Meet Alabama cattle farmer Grover Plunkett, who was initially skeptical but has seen some of the 3-inch Empress tree saplings planted on 20 acres of the family farm last year already pass the 20-foot mark. This year? They’re planting 250 acres. “I’ve been around farming my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything that will grow like this thing does. This land has been in our family since 1870. We want the farm to be generating an income so when our children inherit it, they will want to preserve it and stay there and make a good living without struggling.”
Founder + CEO Wendy Burton: A badass business woman who’s turned over a new leaf
She’s tended bar, sold lingerie, worked in real estate, is a single mom, and never finished high school…
and now Wendy Burton is the Founder and CEO of World Tree, which offers the world’s fast-growing eco-timber that’s reversing climate change.
A champion of “for profit, for good” and a proponent of regeneration over sustainability, Wendy just raised more than $1 million for World Tree in a Wefunder crowdfunding campaign (https://wefunder.com/worldtree/about) and is getting the attention of people who want to offset their carbon footprint by investing in the amazing Empress Tree. (You can get the unedited scoop straight from dozens of recent impact investors themselves here.)
But this success has been hard-won—
Along the way, Wendy has been dealt some real body blows as an entrepreneur:
Such as the time she won a $3 million investment in a pitch competition…and then the check bounced.
Or the time she hocked some of her beloved art to a Tony Soprano type, and then didn’t have the money to pay him back.
Or the time she got a multi-million dollar contract…and then the investor died (which meant the deal died with him!)
Wendy has much to share with your audience about her story and what she’s learned.
For example, Wendy says one key to her success has been reinvention.
And one of the best ways to go about that, Wendy says, is to bring in other eyes to look at your situation. The things we see as failures are often triumphs in disguise, and sometimes there’s opportunity staring us in the face, we just need someone to point the way.
Wendy’s willingness to pivot—particularly when aided by her own intuition as well as the insights of trusted advisors—has helped Wendy’s company grow, and grow quickly. You might say the amazing Empress Tree and Wendy’s company have that in common: growing fast, growing strong, and yielding great rewards in a short period of time.
Through Wendy’s effort, the story of the Empress Tree has started to spread, and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Dolly Parton, and Wayne Newton have purchased trees for their properties.
Wendy’s goal is to plant 3.5 million trees (34,000 acres) over the next 5 years and to drawdown 34 million tons of carbon in the process.
A lot of people would say a single mother with a GED is not a likely candidate to be launching a big, successful, revolutionary venture like this, let alone in a male-dominated industry like lumber. And yet Wendy Burton has done exactly that.
You just never know what amazing possibilities are on the other side of that seemingly insurmountable challenge.
Contact World Tree’s publicist, Deb Beroset
+1 913.219.3605 (text or call)