When Lynn McCullough booked a meeting for medical technology professionals at Château Élan in Georgia, she also contributed to the growth of the “ALHI Forest,” which numbers nearly 2,400 trees around the world and counting.

So, what exactly is the connection between booking meetings and planting trees?

When planners confirm a meeting with Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), a tree is planted and they receive a personalized gift certificate and thank you note showing where the trees are located, from the mangroves of Kenya and Indonesia to the rainforests of Brazil. The sustainability program is made possible through ALHI’s partnership with Evertreen, the worldwide platform to plant trees.

“It’s a great combination of both showing gratitude for our business while at the same time doing good from a sustainability standpoint,” said McCullough, a Meetings Manager at CMA, an association management and marketing company based in New Jersey.

Event organizers, she said, are always looking for meaningful ways to make events more environmentally responsible and the ALHI Forest initiates that effort right from the start when events are booked.

When it comes to sustainability efforts, trees can be considered MVPs in both a defensive and offensive position. That’s because they cool the planet by absorbing carbon dioxide into their trunks, branches and leaves and then release oxygen for us to breathe. Evertreen involves local farmers and helps create livelihoods by providing them with jobs and the possibility to become “transformational agents of global forest restoration.”

Since November 2022, ALHI has planted nearly 2,400 trees that have absorbed 352.50 tons of carbon dioxide and created 294 working hours for farmers, according to Evertreen.

“The planting of the tree serves so many great purposes,” McCullough said. “I love how I can see on the map where ALHI trees are being planted in eight different countries.”

Here’s more on how planting trees can help with sustainability efforts and provide livelihoods.

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Benefits of Planting Trees

Trees are one of the most important sources of oxygen on the planet, according to Luca Giordaniello, Co-founder and Head of Sustainability Consulting at Evertreen.

But in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, during photosynthesis and producing oxygen, trees benefit the environment in even more ways.

They can prevent soil erosion, Giordaniello explained, by helping to hold soil in place with their roots, preventing erosion and the loss of fertile topsoil. Trees also provide a habitat for birds, insects and other animals, which contributes to biodiversity.

Trees also provide shade and transpire water through their leaves, Giordaniello said, which cools the air around them,

They improve the air we breathe, too.

“Trees can absorb pollutants and trap dust and other particles from the air, improving air quality,” Giordaniello said.

Monitoring Your Trees

Evertreen started as a part of a German human resources tool. Companies were excited about the option to gift trees to their clients, so the team decided to extend the service to all companies, Giordaniello said. Now, more than 584,000 trees have been planted through Evertreen.

The company has recently introduced AI into its tree-counting system to avoid counting mistakes.

Evergreen plants trees worldwide, with forests in Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Kenya, Haiti, Indonesia, Honduras and Mozambique. The team works with local communities to prevent deforestation by implementing policies and practices that prioritize sustainable forestry management, promoting reforestation efforts and reducing reliance on timber products through alternative materials and practices, Giordaniello said.

Participants can also monitor the planting sites via satellite and get timely responses about growth status of plants, possible diseases, photosynthetic activity and much more.

When confirming meetings with ALHI, meeting planners receive gift certificates that come with QR codes so others can view the online forest profile and locations of trees.