Gone West at COP26

COP26 is finally here! World leaders have come from all around the globe to meet at Glasgow to discuss climate change. At Gone West, we think it’s important to walk the walk, so we’re also going to be attending! A number of our team members will be there as well as some of our planters, so you can really get to know the people who plant the trees you buy.

Want to know all about COP26? Read our COP26 guide to get up to speed with what to expect and what is happening.

What we’re doing in Glasgow

Our team is in Glasgow until 11th November to help spread awareness of climate change and to invite everyone to be a little more green. We’ve taken to the streets with all of the information you need, as well as live music provided by our very own team members! We also plan to do live interviews with people on the streets, whether that be the public, or people in charge. What’s even more special is that our COP26 team is almost entirely made up of our planters, so you can meet the people making a change firsthand. We can’t wait for you to meet them!

If you can’t make it to Glasgow, that’s ok! We’ll be posting on our Instagram and uploading live stories to keep you up to date and in the loop with what we’re doing there.

Tree planting in Iceland

It doesn’t stop there. Every time we sign up for our newsletter, we’re going to plant a tree! Our success in Iceland has made it possible to give back to those who want to make a real change in the form of a tree (We actually managed to break the Icelandic tree planting record while we were there!). We want to show you how important your support is to us and to put the power of change into your hands.

And finally, thanks to the great success of our community planting day with Network Rail, we are planting 13,000 wetland trees at Govan Wetland in Glasgow (on the doorstep of COP26) to say thank you to the continued support of our business partners. At Gone West, we know that without our business partners, we would have never achieved the things we’ve managed to achieve. 

Interested in joining the Gone West family? Offset your business with us today! All you have to do is visit the Offset Your Business page on our website.

Our planters

What sets us apart from the other tree-planting companies is that, here at Gone West, we know our planters are the most important part of this process. Without them, we would be nothing. Therefore, they are always at the forefront of everything that we do. With the help of our business partners, our planters have planted over 5 million trees all over the globe and are on track to plant so many more!

To help you get to know our planters a little more, we have provided two stories straight from our planters:

Shanti

Shanti the tree planter

“My friend told me about Gone West and tree planting jobs. I never knew you could have a job which meant planting trees all day, but that’s my character. I just jump at chances. I love experimenting and love learning new things.

GW was a good opportunity, it was challenging, it was backbreaking, working in the mud and the rain, but it was so rewarding. At the end of the day, when you counted your trees you knew you were doing a meaningful job.

Normally in our society you work to pay your bills and you do something within the function of the society, but it was just a different kind of concept for a job. It's still within the function of society, but at the end of the day, you don’t just pay your bills, you are doing something good for the planet as well.

You are doing something not just for yourself, but for the whole world and that makes it amazing! That is the feeling you get at the end of the day. You go to sleep tired and your muscles are hurting and all that, but you have a smile on your face. I was genuinely happy doing that.

Finally, I found the courage to start my own business with leather and I founded @curame.leathergoods 

However, I still wanted to keep planting trees, because we only have one planet to live on and we need to preserve it. I work with leather and leather is a product of the cattle industry, which is one of the main industries that deforests the world.

I needed to be aware of what impact my business has and that’s why I wanted to keep on planting trees for each product that I sold.

It’s up to us to find a way that we can make this world a better place. Everybody should be aware and if everyone was doing something for our planet, it would be a way way better place. I’m happy to collaborate with GW and keep on planting. GW was a family and I really enjoyed my experience there, not always easy of course but nothing is always easy.

The role taught me so many things, it taught me to test my limits to break that wall and just keep on going. James sent me a video of those trees I planted and they are big and healthy. It’s a little forest that you have planted with your own hands, and what better satisfaction can you get from that? There is nothing more rewarding than this.”

Bee

Scottish tree planting record

"I started with Gone West in early March hoping to get away from London city and be in a place that would bring me healing. I had been suffering from severe depression and heartbreak, and so I figured as hard as tree planting might be, it would be better than being locked down in my room dealing with my own suffering.

What motivated me throughout the whole tree planting journey was seeing how much stronger and better I was getting mentally. Plus it's all so freeing and rewarding. I get to plant my sorrows away and watch it grow into a beautiful tree!

A few weeks ago, I had a flash of myself completing a 24 hour straight planting challenge.

So I challenged myself. 24 hours of planting trees only. No break. I set a target of 10k trees as motivation but the point for me was to see whether I'd quit or not. Could I do it? Could I break my own limits I've created in my mind? Was I really strong enough? Am I resilient at all?

You know as a woman before this journey, I've always been shunned or shamed for my strength.

Men and even some women would tell me that my confidence and strength was a bad characteristic to have. I could never wrap my head around it because I never harmed anyone by being strong. I didn't think I'd ever lose my strength.. but I did. I was a shell of myself when I started this tree planting journey.

But I'm not anymore. I'm back. And if anything, I'm better than ever. Never in a million years did I think tree planting in the Scottish mountains would transform me back and better to the strong and resilient woman that I am now. But it did. And I want to say thank you, to you and everyone, for being a part of this."

Interested in becoming a planter? Visit our Careers page on our website for more information.

Community planting days

At Gone West we strongly believe in community, which is why we are always excited to host community planting days for companies all around the world. We offer an experience that comes with life-long value: from corporate team building exercises of 5-10 people, to community actions of 80+ volunteers.

"It's a really positive thing for the business, and for the planet. Tree planting is great for team building and provides a real sense of satisfaction when you're actually putting the trees in the ground." -  Ben Hall, LOFT Founder

Most recently, we partnered with Network Rail to plant 3,200 over two days. The Network Rail staff planted 1,000 trees on Westheads farm and 200 trees and 2,000 wetland plants at Govan Wetland farm in Glasgow.

Community planting day

At Westheads farm, they started off the day with introductions and yoga to warm up. After that, they got straight to tree planting while telling stories! We believe it is important to plant native trees to help revitalise the ecosystems, so we planted Holly, Wild Cherry, Alder, Downy Birch, and English Oak trees.

The second day at Govan Wetlands farm was similar, from morning yoga to tree planting. But this time, we planted Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Alder, English Oak, Scots Pine, Holly, and Willow trees alongside 300 wetland plants.

Scottish Railway tree planting day

Community planting days are an invaluable opportunity for businesses who want to go green. They are a great way to get to know your colleagues and to foster a positive and trusting work environment for when you return to the office. As well as that, they give you an opportunity to see your support come to life in front of your eyes.

If you’d like to organise a community planting day with us, please get in touch! You can contact us here.

Helping the future generations

The last thing that sets us aside from the rest is our Acorns to Oaks initiative. Not only do we want to invest in our future through trees, we also want to support the younger generations in their careers. As a country, we are facing a huge spike in youth unemployment, so Gone West developed a way to help those people.

The initiative not only provides jobs for young people, it also motivates and inspires them. Being part of something that is making a positive change is incredibly rewarding, so creating jobs that help create that change is a great way to end career instability and anxiety.

To learn more about our Acorns to Oaks Initiative, visit the designated page on our website.

To summarise, we want to see real change here at the COP26 conference. We are doing our best to change the world and we need to hold those in power accountable whilst doing everything in our power to live as sustainably as possible.

To follow our COP26 journey, visit our Instagram page to see all of our updates. To see more regular Gone West content, subscribe to our newsletter. Thanks for reading!

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