Treetracker Spotlight: Alexander Verresen of Forestmatic

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Treetracker Spotlights! Each month, we feature one of our fabulous Treetracker app users to showcase the organizations that we are proud to work with. This month, we interviewed Alexander Verresen, co-founder and CEO of Forestmatic, one of Greenstand’s Implementing Partners.

Forestmatic is a sustainability tech (or green tech) start-up connecting brands and businesses with high-impact, verified climate action projects. Through innovative digital technology, corporate sustainability efforts are automated and scaled, creating an authentic digital experience for any business consumer or stakeholder. Forestmatic’s long-term mission is to “open a new chapter for a greener Earth” by becoming a one-stop solution that drives brands, businesses and consumers to offset the carbon footprint of products and services they buy or sell via transparent tree planting. Tracking each individual tree will generate a digital forest with over 1 million trees planted throughout the next 5 years. 

Alexander is the co-founder and CEO of Forestmatic. The idea for Forestmatic came to him while he was in graduate school in Madrid, Spain. He was shopping for new shoes in the city center when he came across a pair that he liked. The shoebox claimed that a tree would be planted for each pair of shoes purchased. Alexander was intrigued by the idea and immediately asked the shop attendant for more details: where will his tree be planted? Can he see photos of it as it grows? Unfortunately, the shop employee informed him that the brand did not provide them with any such information.

A seed was planted in Alexander’s head. He realized that some brands were using unverified claims of sustainability to sell more products, a practice commonly referred to as “greenwashing”. How could he, as a consumer, investigate claims of planted trees or other carbon offsets to inform his future purchases? How can brands be held accountable for providing proof of their impacts? He began formulating an idea for a platform that can answer these questions and pitched it to some classmates, and thus Forestmatic was born.

In 2020, Forestmatic established its first tree planting project partnership with Kijani Forestry. Through their collaboration, they’ve been able to calculate an estimate of a tree’s carbon offsets over 5 years! (It should be noted that each tree’s carbon sequestration rates are unique and can be affected by factors such as location, climate, and tree species. This methodology is specifically for the Forestmatic-Kijani partnership.) In addition, the Kijani model allows for planters to sustainably harvest charcoal from the trees they care for after 5 years. This prevents the deforestation of old-growth forests without depriving planters of the extra income they can earn from selling their charcoal.

Kijani Forestry was one of Greenstand’s pioneering partners, meaning that they were one of the first planting organizations we partnered with. Kijani introduced us to Forestmatic, helping us see the confluences of our missions. A triangular partnership was established between Kijani, Forestmatic, and Greenstand within the ecosystem of The World Economic Forum’s UpLink Trillion Trees Challenge, bringing transparency not just to the tree planting space, but to the commercialization of its impacts as well. Kijani Forestry is supporting and scaling a network of smallholder farmers who are growing indigenous forests. Greenstand's technology and data enable Kijani and Forestmatic to combine their efforts to make a verified and mapped impact, one tree at a time. Tree planters employed by Greenstand’s reforestation partners, such as Kijani, upload digital proof of their environmental stewardship, which is verified by Greenstand. The brands that partner with Forestmatic choose an established tree planting project to support, or they may request a custom project or location, and their impacts are displayed on their custom Forestmatic Verification Dashboard. This is a win for planters earning sustainable income, tree planting projects gaining legitimacy, Greenstand and Forestmatic scaling our innovations, businesses reliably claiming environmental impacts, and consumers who choose to purchase sustainable products.

As the Greenstand team worked to build an advanced integration with Forestmatic in early 2020, Alexander realized the value of our open-source community and collaborative spirit. He began contributing his own user experience design skills to Greenstand’s work on the Forestmatic integration. He says that open-source does not equate to “taking what I need from Greenstand and disappearing.” Rather, he has emphasized that the Greenstand-Forestmatic relationship is a “two-way street”. Despite Forestmatic’s limited resources as a start-up, they are our first Implementing Partner to give back to Greenstand in the form of volunteer contributions. He encourages other Implementing Partners to take on the same approach, as Greenstand offers a place to learn new skills and accelerate your project’s impacts.

Are you interested in partnering with Forestmatic to offset your business’s ecological footprint? You can visit their website for more information.

Erin Baker

Communications Lead, Greenstand