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Is 8 Billion Trees A Scam Or A Legit Company? [2020 Review]

Welcome to my 8 Billion Trees review! If you want to help save the world and are wondering is 8 Billion Trees a scam, I'm here to help you find out!

If you saw their ad and are thinking about joining, you are probably if the company is legit. Does the money go where it's supposed to, planting trees?

I don't think 8 Billion Trees is a scam. I actually joined their monthly membership myself. They seem to be running a legit operation and have partnered with some very credible organizations that confirm their partnership on their websites. That said, there seems to be no way to know how much of the contributions are being used to the actual cause. The company also seems to have a very small digital footprint, and media coverage so it's hard to find information about them.  

This is a bit different from my regular reviews since it doesn't really have anything to do with online business opportunities or SEO.

I'm creating this review partly for personal reasons. I joined 8 Billion Trees recently. Before I did, I did a lot of research. I know there are a lot of scams disguised as charity operations. I'm not affiliated with 8 Billion Trees in any way, the links to their site are not affiliate links. 

I realized other people are looking for this information as well, so I decided to do a quick write up to help you make your mind if you want to participate in the program.

I saw 8 Billion Trees Facebook add about their reforestation project and about the condition of your rain forests. The sad truth is that due to deforestation, over half of our plantes rainforests have been destroyed.

What's even sadder is that we have managed to drive thousands of animal and plant species into extinction. At the current rate, there won't be a planet to save by the end of the century.

I care for the environment dearly. I'm actually an environmental engineer by profession and I try to live my life as ecologically as possible. I eat mainly plant-based diet and avoid buying unnecessary stuff. But unfortunately, it is virtually impossible in the western world to reduce your CO2 emissions to a sustainable level.

I've always felt I want to do more. When I saw 8 Billion Trees add, it really resonated with me. I know how huge of an ecological catastrophe deforestation is and 8 Billion Trees seemed to have a program that was actually doing something about it. If I could chip in, I'd be glad to.

To be honest, I'd want to participate in this type of action more directly, but maybe that will be possible in the future.

But back to the subject. So I clicked on their ad, read their sales page, watched their video and I was convinced. Well, almost.

I never jump in on FB or YouTube ads without doing research. Besides being an engineer, I'm an online marketer. I know exactly how enticing a sales letter can be even if the product is nothing to write home about.

So I did some research before pulling the plug on 8 Billion Trees membership. At first, I wasn't convinced, I'll tell you a bit later on why, but let's look at what the company is about.

What Is 8 Billion Trees

According to their website, 8 Billion Trees is a "Social Enterprise" which means they combine commercial and social goals with the emphasis on the latter. So profits are reinvested in the community or company.

So they are technically a company but they focus on social goals, in this case, reforestation. You see, as the name suggests, 8 Billion Trees has a very ambitious goal of planting 8 Billiob Trees.

They aim to accomplish this by selling ecological products and carbon offset packages to fund planting new trees and conserving existing ones.

The reason why they are focusing their efforts on planting and reserving trees is that it is one of the most environmentally beneficial things to do.

Trees support our global ecosystem and consume carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They also support countless species of plants and animals.

Trees also play a crucial role in natural water cycles, spreading of deserts, preventing erosion, and revitalizing unusable areas. Deforestation is the leading cause of habitat destruction.

According to their website, 8 Billion Trees has managed to plant over 900,000 trees in 19 different countries and funded the conservation of over 166,000 acres of existing forest.

8 Billion Trees both fund other organizations and runs their own organization in many countries.

People Behind 8 Billion Trees

8 Billion Trees was founded by Jos Chambers and Michael Powell.  There's not much information about these guys. I guess Jos is the guy in most of the pictures on their site but neither seems to have any kind of digital footprint I could find easily.

You can see him in this video for example.


Jos apparently has a Military Background and his love for the forests stem from his childhood when he was scouting and spending time in nature to cope with his mothers' death.

Michael is apparently from a family with a passion for environmentalism and conservation. They shared a common passion for saving the environment and decided to do something about it.

Is 8 Billion Trees A Scam

So is 8 Billion Trees legit? Or is it a scam that's taking advantage of people's desire to help further the environmental cause?

Well, I must say I saw a few red flags when I started investigating them. That said, I'm now actually a monthly member of theirs, so I was eventually convinced enough to join.

I truly hope they are legit. Because I believe so much in the cause, I'm willing to take the financial risk and hope it goes to where they say it's going.

I actually contacted them about some of the concerns I had and I did receive a reply that they will discuss my ideas and concerns. If they will get back to me, I'll let you know.

The main concerns I had were:

  • Their YouTube channel has only 6 videos, with the latest from about a month back. All videos are professionally produced mini-documentaries or downright ads. Why not create a social proof with weekly videos showing the reforestation in action?
  • There is almost no information about the founders. Besides their short backstory, I couldn't find anything online about them even being real people. While I understand that not everyone keeps social media accounts, if you are running a social enterprise, you need to build social trust. It's the best way to get more people on board!
  • There is very little information about the company online other than their website. With such an ambitious goal, you would think that major news organizations would be thrilled to cover their story.
  • There is no member platform of any sort, where people could ask about the project and maybe see where the funding is going. I think this would be very important for both transparency and user engagement.

What made me change my mind was a couple of videos on their YouTube channel showing them actually at work and meeting with officials as well as their partners which include:

Those are all real, legit, trustworthy organizations and they have (at least most of them) confirmation on their sites that they are in fact partnered with 8 Billion Trees

I also found out they are focusing their social media effort to Instagram, where you can find more recent updates.

So I would say 8 Billion Trees is not a scam. Or it would have to be a very elaborate scheme. It's much more likely that they have a very small organization dedicated to the cause, and they simply can't cover all the bases so there isn't that much information online about them.

But since they are essentially asking charities, even though they are sold as products, I think they need to be transparent and improve their digital footprint.

This would go a long way in getting people convinced to join a very important cause.

UPDATE 18/5/2020

I found this great article about tree-planting scams & deceptions. Apparently tree-planting scams are relatively common and there are dishonest organization capitalizing on people's willingness to help the planet. 

I think 8 Billion Trees answers most of the questions presented on that document quite well, but I'd still prefer there was more information about the owners and the teams, how money is allocated etc. Transparency is extremely important in these types of operations, even if it's not a non-profit.

Since You Are Here...

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This is not a get rich scheme or anything like that. It takes hard work to learn and implement the skills. But it offers some nice benefits over regular business models. Like the passive income, locational freedom and minimal investment to get started. If you want to learn more, read my full story.

Conclusion

I hope you found this 8 Billion Trees review useful and it answered your questions. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me through the comments section below.

8 Billion Trees seems to be a legit operation with a mystifyingly small digital footprint and media coverage. But they are working towards a very noble cause. So consider joining their monthly Carbon Credits program if you can afford the $43 dollars for a very good cause or buying something from their online store.

Thanks for reading and if you found this review useful, please consider sharing on social media!

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24 replies on “Is 8 Billion Trees A Scam Or A Legit Company? [2020 Review]”

What a great review. Maybe the reason why they have such a small online presence is because there is not enough people like you willing to write about them and their cause. So, kudos to you for going the extra step.

Hi! Tnx for info. Any replay from 8 biliom trees? These weekly videos of real planting would bi great

They replied to me originally with a short answer with links to their website content. I might shoot them a follow up when I find the time as people seem to be interested in the company.

What a great review. congrats on your analysis. Sometimes people judge good causes and starts-ups just because it wasn’t exactly what they thought without taking a closer look, acting from revenge instead of compassion. Starting is hard! of course, millions of followers, subscribers, and likes are not the first thing happening. Thank you for this information

I think you are right Nicole. We can’t even imagine how much work is involved in organizing an effort of this magnitude. I bet they are doing the best they can with the resources they have. That said, since they are funding this mainly by selling their products, I think it’s extremely important they get that end of the process set up right. If people see that they are legit right away, they are much more likely to chip in. This will increase funding and get more trees planted. This will also make it possible to invest into larger workforce so they have time to think of the big picture.

Thanks a lot for this info and review. I never heard of 8 billion trees and I thinks is a great project. Thanks for letting me know that this is not a scam, I will definitely check out the organisation.

Thank you for this review. I too am uncertain is this is a good organization to donate too, but I am looking for an organization that does excactly this: planting trees and making sure that it is a long-term investment. Please let me know when they get back to you with an awnser to your main concerns. An other concern for me is that there are hardly any reviews… Thank you. Best regards, Cathy form the Netherlands.

Thanks for contacting me Cathy! I haven’t actually heard back from them other than a company representative thanking me for my ideas and questions and that they will talk them through in a team meeting. I think I’ll shoot them up with a follow-up email so see if they would answer my questions a bit, so stay tuned.

It’s hard to know where to donate. It seems like it would be better to pick one and make a large donation as opposed to making several small donations. EDF and Sierra Club seem to be at the top of some lists.
Also, it seems that we’ve had a respite of sorts since the pandemic started. How do we keep that momentum going? Maybe “8 Billion Trees” is one answer.

I know what you mean Penny. There are definitely more organizations aiming to help the environment than ever before, but the problem is that there is lack of transparency in many of them. Including 8 Billion Trees. In my honest opinion WWF is one of the best organizations to support as they are doing a lot for the environment, reservation of species, habitats etc. But they are also directing a lot of their resources into fighting climate change and social inequality around the globe. These two go hand in hand.

Thanks for the review. It’s concerning that in the joining blurb they claim to be ready to respond to any concerns, but when you raise them you just get back the same old spiel. It’s also concerning that all the publicity seems to highlight Jon and what a terrific sacrifice he is making, without the transparent, detailed info you would expect from an organisation, however small, that is handling pretty huge amounts of money, and has charity status which carries its own obligations. You say you’re waiting for a response – no doubt you are still waiting. We badly need to know how much of our funds are getting to the projects on the ground, and how good these are in terms of using native species, providing livelihoods for local populations, follow up etc. I’m loath to cancel my subscription, but I have a sneaky feeling I’d do better to contribute directly to one of the organisations 8 billion trees supports, and they aren’t bothering to do anything to convince me otherwise.

Thanks for the feedback Margaret. I did actually get a reply from them after publishing this review but I haven’t gotten into updating it. They basically replied the same things that are laid out on their website. I understand your concern and I personally feel that WWF for example might be a better organization to fight climate change and deforestation. The downside is that you don’t get to target your money as well as with smaller, more specific organizations but at least they are established and transparent.

Thanks for the heads up Don! The poster seems to have deleted the original post but judging from the thread his analysis was that the organization isn’t legit. To be honest I’m not completely convinced myself. Many of their claims check out but it still seems odd it’s hard to find information about them in any major media for example. The people behind the organization also seem to have almost non-existent digital footprints. That still doesn’t prove anything. They definitely are using all the “textbook” marketing tricks in their ads and definitely know how to appeal to people’s emotions. I know some people think of scams automatically when they see certain kinds of ads but the truth is that they work. If you are on the fence about supporting their cause, I would recommend supporting some of the major organizations. WWF for example is doing a lot to prevent deforestation.

I became an 8 Billion Tree monthly donor, but needed to cancel the monthly contribution due to personal circumstances. Their response made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. Appreciate your thoughts!

Here’s their response:

Marjun (8 Billion Trees)

Jan 11, 2021, 10:18 PST
Hi (my name),

First, I just have to say thank you for TAKING ACTION.

So many people say they want to help but never end up doing anything!

I did want to let you know though…based on the info you gave when you joined, it looks like you live nearby (my city) in (my country).

The average person living in (my country) creates 2 TONS of carbon every single month (it is actually a little higher than 2 tons per month on average, but this is a conservative estimate based on research).

Would you be willing to downgrade to our $20 membership to at least offset 1 ton of your footprint?

All the Best,
8 Billion Trees
Planting Around the Globe to Restore Our Earth.

Thanks for taking the time to post this information and sorry for the late reply Minh! That definitely looks like a downsell strategy, something you’d expect from a private company but not from a non-profit. Then again 8 Billion Trees calls itself a social enterprise and it’s clear that they use pretty modern marketing tactics to gather funds more like a private enterprise than a nonprofit. I understand that it might feel rude or intrusive to ask for money when you are discontinuing your subscription but the truth is that they probably get a “sale” here and there because it’s a proven sales tactic. There seems to be more information online about the legitimacy of the organization and they do seem to check out from what I’ve found. I just wish they’d improve their marketing tactics and transparency by providing more information.

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