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'The world's original carbon sink'

Words by Abi Scaife

“We don’t do this for profit. We just do it because we believe it's the right thing to do.”

From protecting others in the army, to protecting our planet, Simon Evans has led a purposeful life.

Aged 59, after leaving the army and finding work at a chemicals company, Simon decided to make another big change. 

“We kept challenging our organisation and each other to ask, ‘What's happening in the sustainability space?' And then we turned in on ourselves and said, ‘Well, what are we doing?’ And we discovered we weren't doing much either!” laughs Simon.

“We couldn't control what our company was doing, but we could control what we were doing,” he adds. 

So Simon, and two of his colleagues, Darrell and Keith, used a bonus from work to set up Co-Treetment.

Based in Derbyshire, the trio bought a large piece of land where they could start giving back to the environment by planting trees.  

“We can leave a lasting legacy for our children and our children's children, just by buying a piece of land,” Simon tells Smiley News. “It seems such an easy thing to do. Whenever there's a technical challenge, the UK looks for the most complicated ways of resolving it by absorbing CO2 and burying it in the sea or by creating monster machines at £2 billion to convert CO2, capture carbon and do all of these wonderful things. Well, actually, we thought, there's a much simpler way - the world's original carbon sink was trees.”

Companies, families, business owners and more are able to purchase trees through Co-Treetment. Then the team and their volunteers - often family members - will head to the field and plant trees, keeping costs at almost nothing more than the price of a sapling.

One of the most important things for Co-Treetment and its founders is community. They work closely with the people around them, always eager to do more, give back and do good.

For those so inclined, Co-Treetment provides the option of donating to charity with each tree purchased. The charity they support most heavily is Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre (DCHC) – a charity that organises seaside holidays in Skegness for disadvantaged children in Derbyshire. 

Simon started supporting DCHC long before Co-Treetment was even a twinkle in his eye and he encourages all his customers to give to this initiative in addition to Co-Treetment.

DCHC is a cause that is extremely close to Simon’s heart, and one that he and Co-Treetment will keep supporting for as long as they can, to give disadvantaged children the opportunity to make incredible memories.

A simple fix

Ultimately, the goal of Co-Treetment is to make climate action more accessible - and more normal. In their opinion - the more people are planting trees, the better!

“We don't have competitors; we have allies. I don't care if other companies are planting trees - at least they're planting trees, right?” says Simon. “That, for me, is a simple fix. It's not a total fix. It's part of a very complex solution, but we don't need billions of pounds. We need some friendly people and a few pounds to buy trees.”

Co-Treetment is living proof that you don’t need a degree in sustainability or a lifetime of experience to make a difference to our planet and the people in it. It’s all about working with what you have, and using your passion to drive positive change.

“We just do what we can,” says Simon. “And I believe that if everybody just did a little bit and stopped blaming everybody else for it, things would get better.”

If you want to learn more about Co-Treetment, purchase a tree, or volunteer to plant trees, you can do so on their website.

If you want to learn more about the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, you can visit their website for more information.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Trees For Cities. They are working to plant more trees within large metropolitan areas, for the betterment of people and planet. Support them here.

The Woodland Trust. This is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, concerned with the creation, protection, and restoration of native woodland heritage. Support them here.

Rewilding Britain. They aim to tackle the climate emergency and extinction crisis, reconnect people with the natural world and help communities thrive. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs