Since its inception in 2013, Land Life Company has captured more than 180,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. After planting a million trees last year, this year they aim to triple this number in the race to restore the earth’s two billion hectares of degraded land.
Land Life provides carbon offsetting services for businesses to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions. The Amsterdam-based company creates forest on lands that have been degraded by intensive farming and desertification, as well as events like wildfires and drought.
“There is no greater tool than a tree to take CO2 out of the air and to put it back into the ground where it belongs,” says Rebekah Braswell, Chief Commercial Officer at Land Life Company. “We partner with governments, NGOs and corporates to rebuild degraded land at scale. It’s a win for the companies that are trying to become more sustainable, for the ecosystems that we’re rebuilding, and for the communities that depend on this land.”
One of these corporates is LeasePlan, one of the world’s largest car lease companies, which since 2018 offers its customers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions through one of Land Life’s reforestation programs. The firm itself is committed to carbon neutrality by 2030 and is offsetting the emissions of its employee fleet up to 2021, the year in which LeasePlan’s own fleet is set to be fully electric.
In 2018, Land Life announced a €3.5 million Series A investment from the Jeremey and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and the company is now working on projects in more than twenty-five countries. Jurriaan Ruys, the firm’s CEO, is seeing progress: “The awareness of reforestation as a means to fight climate change has grown, the carbon offset market has matured and we’ve gone from planting 350,000 trees in 2017 to an estimated 3 million in 2020.”
“Through reforestation, we have an opportunity to take CO2 out of the air and rebuild the planet, addressing two of the world’s most significant challenges – climate change and land degradation – at the same time.”
Jurriaan Ruys, CEO at Land Life Company
Land Life says it can plant trees faster and more efficiently, and at a larger scale. The key to their success is the use of technology to achieve operating efficiency. Essential to the company’s efficient planting approach is the Cocoon, a biodegradable box that drastically reduces tree saplings’ water needs during the first year after planting. As a result, the newly-planted trees do not depend on irrigation and can weather periods of drought.
To plant hundreds of different native species and obtain an 85% survival rate, there is no room for guesswork. “Data is at the core of what we do at LLC,” says Arnout Asjes, Chief Technology Officer. “Our unique database uses proprietary algorithms to analyze data and generate site-specific maps to improve tree survival rates. The large-scale reforestation outcome is transparent and successful.”
Besides data on the local climate, soil quality, and tree diameter, the company collects the GPS location of every single tree. “This information is analyzed in our database using machine learning and artificial intelligence to become more efficient and cost-effective in our future plantings.”
“We monitor using satellite and drone data to measure the actual impact the trees are having on the environment, including carbon sequestration, water savings and benefits to biodiversity,” says Gautham Ramachandra, restoration ecologist at Land Life. But the planting projects’ impacts go beyond improvements to the natural environment.
“The tree plantings also bring economic benefits. In 2019 alone, Land Life created 7,000 days of direct employment in the field, most often for disadvantaged communities,” Land Life states. “In addition, the reforestation efforts bring investment to tree nurseries, maintenance work and ecotourism.”
Over the past years, Land Life Company has built an impressive portfolio of restoration projects throughout the world, ranging from replanting Los Angeles’ Elysian Park, building a green refugee camp with the United Nations, and restoring forests after wildfires in California.