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Why We’re Planting Trees

Mary Bemis

And Why You, Too, Should Join the Green Spa Network Initiative to Plant 1,000,000 trees Before Earth Day 2019

 Julie Andrews, President, Kerstin Florian International

“It’s so scary to see where we are with the environment, but this gives me hope that there’s actually something we can do about it. Planting trees is tangible and do-able. It doesn’t feel like it’s so far-fetched, like you’re spitting in the ocean. Planting 36 trees per person will make an impact.

“I love the idea that planting trees effects the air, the water, the soil, as well as being sustainable for the community. It touched everything we talked about . . . water is such a big part of spa, being out in clean air . . . healthy soil . . . this is such an integral part of Kerstin Florian’s brand philosophy. It really fit.

“We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, this month [May], actually. And we thought it would be very in line to donate 40, 000 trees in an area over time, so we’re working with WeForest on the project in India, to designate the Charlene Florian Forest. I don’t know how long it will take us, but it will coincide with our new launch, and a percentage of sales from this new skincare collection will go towards planting trees. We’ll also have other initiatives with our spas and online partners that will help support our donation of trees.”

Signing up with GSN allows the spa community to rally around a common cause and send a clear message that our industry cares to be a recognized champion of environmentalism.

Sarah Villafranco, MD, Founder, Osmia

“I live my life in a conscious way on a daily basis, but still feel like I’m never doing enough. For the six years Osmia has been in business, I’ve been looking for the right philanthropic partner. I want to do it all—save the elephants, help people with solar—but when I heard Tom Eddington talking about tree planting [during a presentation at GSN’s 10th Annual Congress], it was an easy, concrete thing to do—and translate to our customers. I thought it would be cool to do an annual twice a year tree planting.

“Since Tom’s speech, we reached out to One Tree Planted, a Vermont-based charity we had worked with previously. We announced we’ll plant a tree for every order placed on our site, starting on Earth Day, so that’ll plant somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 trees for 2018. It’s really exciting. I’m so happy about doing it, and it feels like the right move for the company. I love how clear the action is.”

Vivian Valenty, PhD, President, VB Cosmetics

“I knew that planting more trees could be one of the solutions to reduce CO2, and thus stave off global warming, But I did not know how I could make a contribution—aside from the trees and plants that I grow around our house. Hence, Tom Eddington’s presentation resonated! I asked him how a small company such as Dazzle Dry/VB Cosmetics, could make a small but recurring contribution, and he directed me to WeForest.

“WeForest suggested that we become a partner in their global reforestation movement by pledging to plant a number of trees for every product or service sold. This helps mitigate—and even compensate—our environmental footprint. I also like that WeForest directly addresses critical global issues like water and soil conservation, biodiversity preservation, and climate stabilization by cooling the earth. Planting large quantities of trees and protecting existing forests directly benefits local communities—especially women—by providing them with food, water, and an income in a sustainable fashion. We pledged to plant 10,000 trees during our first year as a WeForest partner, and we hope to double the number of trees in our second year.

“I learned during my childhood that to solve a huge problem, one starts by taking small steps. I envision how an ant colony is able to move a huge pile of rice into their nest—it’s done by one ant moving one rice grain at a time. Per Tom Eddington’s presentation, if we planted 36 trees per individual living today, in 12 years, we will reverse the progression of global warming. It can be done, one tree at a time!”

Tom Eddington, Managing Director, Eddington Advisory Services & Advisor to the GSN Board

“I met a guy, Bill Liao, about seven years ago. We had lunch together, and he shared his story with me. One night, he was putting his eight-year-old daughter to bed, and she was very upset and crying because she had just learned about climate change and global warming in school. Essentially, she was saying, ‘Dad, you’re really smart, you’re really rich, why can’t you fix this?’

“Bill, an Australian entrepreneur, spent a year talking to scientists all over the world to find the technological solution for fixing climate change. At the end of the year, he realized there was no tech solution—that trees are the technology. The next step was what kind of tree, how many, and where do they need to be planted. Shortly after that, Bill met and teamed up with Marie-Noelle Keijzer to co-found”

GSN has chosen to support WeForest’s India Khasi Hills project and the Khasi communities in regenerating their forests. “We need to comprehend that a tree standing is of much greater value than a tree cut down or in a product,” says Bonnie Baker, Vice President and Interim Executive Director, GSN. “We aim to galvanize the industry this year to show how powerful we can be as a community.”

You can help in any of three ways:

  1. Donate through GSN’s WeForest partnership (total donations to count towards GSN’s Tree Planting Initiative)
  2. Continue with members’ existing tree planting partnerships (total tree count to count towards GSN’s Tree Planting Initiative)
  3. Organize or participate in a tree planting event (total trees planted to count towards GSN’s Tree Planting Initiative)

However you choose to be involved, signing up with GSN allows the spa community to track its overall progress, rally around a common cause, and send a clear message that our industry cares to be a recognized champion of environmentalism.

Key Dates

 May 16, 2018 – Join GSN on FB Live @ 12pm ET when GSN staff will review the program and answer questions

 May 25, 2018 – Launch Day (sign up online)

 April 22, 2019 – Earth Day (end of this year’s initiative)

To get involved with GSN’s tree-planting initiative, contact Megan Leffler, Community Manager, at





Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.