Our Answer Key to Questions on Sustainable Forest Management

Berné Forest, France

General Questions

How is EcoTree different?

With EcoTree, you're part of ecosystem restoration projects that are close to home, giving you the chance to see for yourself the positive effects of your contribution.
Our model aims to create both environmental and economic value in one act. EcoTree's forests are never clear-cut, are home to mixed species, and are irregular high forests. They are both a carbon sink and a treasure chest of biodiversity. As a tree owner, you will receive the profits from the sale of the wood after felling.
EcoTree remains the owner of the land the tree is on. We have an in-house team of foresters which means we are able to provide continuous cover mixed silvicultural management in accordance with the rules developed by the PRO SILVA association.

When and how can I see the expected gross gain of my trees?

You receive all the profits only once your trees have been sold and harvested by a partner sawmill, not annually. For each tree, this date (known as the "harvesting" or "cutting horizon") is specified at the time of purchase and confirmed on your customer account. You will be notified when the trees are harvested and given two options: receive the profits by bank transfer (we will need your IBAN) or reinvest the profit in new trees.

How do you calculate the expected gross gain?

The profit, or expected gross gain, reflects the average growth of the tree which is estimated at 2% a year. This estimate is subject to control by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

Is there a tax deduction?

There is no tax deduction for buying trees. This is because we separate the land (the soil) from the movable assets (the trees). Our status as a company also means that we cannot deduct tax in the same way as charities. The capital gains from your trees are not taxable if the sale is worth less than €5,000 or if the trees are owned for more than 22 years.
Not to worry - EcoTree has set up a tax monitoring service and will keep our customers informed of any legal or regulatory changes.

Which payment methods can I use to buy trees?

Payments on our site by credit card (Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard, and American Express are accepted) are processed via Stripe, a secure payment system. You can also pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay. If you have chosen a subscription plan, you can also pay with SEPA direct debit.
Payment by bank transfer is available on request. Contact customer service for more information.

What is included in the price of a tree?

When you become an owner with EcoTree, you own rights to the money earned from the felling and the sales of the wood from your tree (see article 10 of the Terms & Conditions for legal details). Our prices include the tree's upkeep throughout its lifetime and the administrative costs and taxes inherent in the forest. You will never be asked to pay any additional costs after your purchase.

How is my financial contribution broken down?

The purchase price of your tree includes:
- Land acquisition, property tax and insurance (30%)
- Purchase of plants and planting (10%)
- The upkeep and long-term sustainable management of the forest (30%)
- EcoTree's operating costs (30%)

In our model, you finance not only the planting of trees but also their sustainable management throughout the forest cycle. Sustainable management is what enables the forest to fulfil its ecological role, hence why the price per tree is sometimes higher than what the competition can offer.

How do I calculate my carbon emissions?

We offer an overview your carbon footprint on journeys (car, train, plane) or through energy consumption (household, digital). This overview is estimated by your energy consumption, based on the information you provide, which we multiply by coefficients established and certified by ADEME. Your digital environmental impact is calculated using the methodology of the Shift Project, another major player in energy transition. You can find a more detailed explanation of our calculation methods at the bottom of each calculator page.
This is not a comprehensive assessment of your consumption, but an indicator that will give you initial insight.

How can I delete my account?

Contact our customer service department. Please note that your customer account must be empty of any property in order to be deleted. If you own trees, you will need to bequeath them beforehand. Your details will be kept for one year after your account has been deleted.

Forest Management

When are the trees planted?

Planting takes place mainly in winter, sometimes early spring. We cannot set the exact date of planting too far in advance as it depends on weather conditions, the availability of forestry workers, and supply from partner nurseries.

How long does it take for trees to reach maturity?

The maturity of each tree species differs according to its biological characteristics, but we're talking decades for all of them! The trees we offer are not all newly planted saplings; some have already been growing for several years.
When you buy a tree, you can see its age and the number of years before its harvest on its information sheet.

What happens when the trees are felled?

The wood harvested by EcoTree or its partners is sent to local sawmills that we select based on their quote and environmental criteria. It is sold solely to supply the local timber industry. Our method of forest management aims to produce mainly timber, considered a "noble" service because it stores CO2 over the long term. This wood is used in construction, joinery, and furniture making, to name a few.
Sometimes, trees cut down, particularly during thinning or partitioning, are used to supply the energy (i.e. firewood) and industry (i.e. paper pulp) sectors.

Why cut trees?

'Close-to-nature' forestry management gives wood an economic value by making it a part of the European timber industry while simultaneously enhancing the value of forest ecosystems. In our forests, we avoid clear-cutting by favouring irregular or mixed forestry with continuous cover.
Cutting wood does not kill the forest, but supports nature's own regeneration. Our foresters remove trees to open up the forest canopy without brutally exposing the ground to ensure repopulation through natural regeneration. We only plant sapling if natural regeneration struggles to take hold, or if we want to introduce species that are more resistant to climate change.

What does EcoTree do to support biodiversity?

Biodiversity is a fundamental issue for EcoTree because it is inseparable from forestry. Actions to improve biodiversity are carried out in parallel with forest management and systematically support it.
Our experts carry out ecological diagnostics to take inventory of the species present in our forests and schedule regular check-ups based on the data collected. Our customers can support one-off actions such as restoring damaged or dried-up wetlands, planting melliferous hedges, or building habitats for herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles). Find out more about the projects here or help preserve biodiversity in the long term through a subscription.

I have land or a forest that I would like to sell to EcoTree.

EcoTree can buy your plot of land subject to certain conditions. For your application to be considered, we would need the surface area of the land, its location (ideally the land registry documents), its history (i.e. species planted, felling or forestry work carried out, use of the land, etc.), photos, and asking price. You can send this information to hello@ecotree.green. After reviewing your dossier, we will get back to you to discuss the options available.

My Trees

How will I be kept up-to-date about my trees?

We manage around 1.7 million trees, so we can't give news about a particular tree, only a forest or a species within the massif. If you'd like to find out more about what's happening in our forests, we invite you to sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates from the field and news from EcoTree. Our annual Forestry reports let you to follow along with our work. They are available in the "Reports" section of your EcoTree account. They're an in-depth and comprehensive look into our forests.
A tree needs time to grow so no news is good news in this case!

Can I visit my trees?

Of course! You have access to the GPS coordinates of each of your trees: they are found under the "Tree list" in your EcoTree account (just click on the + symbol to the left). Then all you have to do is enter the coordinates in a geolocation app and follow the directions. Note that our forests are open to the public from April to August inclusive and can be closed temporarily for forestry work or for health reasons (i.e. outbreak of oak processionary caterpillars). We ask you to respect the area (no littering, no smoking, no open fire, etc.) and always keep pets on a lead.

How do I prove ownership of my trees?

Set precedent defines the tree as personal property and the rules governing personal property apply. There is no certificate in the legal sense of the term like an authentic real estate deed as "possession is nine-tenth of the law" (article 2276 paragraph 1 of the French Civil Code).
On our end, digital records guarantee every customer's ownership. These records are hosted on servers external to EcoTree.
We are obliged to provide proof of our record-keeping to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) every year to confirm the total of each investor's subscriptions and their rights to assets held.
In the "Tree certificates" section of your EcoTree account you can download a certificate issued by us or an account summary of your entire portfolio in PDF format.

Why is a trusted third party necessary?

To ensure the rights you have over the cutting of your trees, you must name (in your EcoTree account, under the "Account information" section) a trusted third party who we'll contact if we are unable to get in touch with you or in the event of your death. Please note that we will contact the trusted third party if we are unable to get in touch with you. This trusted third party is not your legal beneficiary or heir, a figure who must be officially designated in your will.
Remember to regularly update your trusted third party's contact details.

Can I sell my trees before they are cut?

In accordance with article 11 of the Terms and Conditions, EcoTree is not responsible for ensuring the liquidity of its customers' financial assets and is therefore not obliged to comply with any request for the resale or repurchase of trees.
This clause is fundamental to EcoTree because it protects the forests from profiteering and ensures good forest management and sustainable choices. It is also essential to EcoTree's economic equilibrium because purchasing trees on your end causes substantial planting and maintenance costs on EcoTree's end which balance out over the long term.
Customers can transfer ownership rights to a third party at any time. This option is always available in your EcoTree account, under "Create a Gift."

Can I buy trees to mitigate my carbon footprint?

EcoTree acknowledges that the belief that it's possible to completely erase our carbon footprint through some form of financial compensation, giving us peace of mind, has been idealised. We encourage you to first try to reduce your own emissions before committing a contribution to global carbon neutrality. There will still be emissions that you cannot reduce or avoid, for which buying a tree is a good way of helping reabsorb the CO2 emitted. However, the CO2 absorbed by your trees cannot be used for offset claims. Only a certificate issued for the purchase of carbon credits can be used to contribute to the "zero net emissions" objective. For more information, please consult our carbon manifesto.

Carbon credits

What's the difference between buying trees and carbon credits?

When you buy trees, your contribution goes hand-in-hand with a right of ownership over the trees you buy. These trees grow in our European forests and are managed by our foresters from the beginning to the end of the trees’ life cycles. You get the profit when it is time to cut the tree. You receive a certificate justifying your tree ownership.

By acquiring carbon credits, you enable a forest stand to be maintained for at least a hundred years, with several generations of trees sequestering carbon over the long term. In this way, you receive a carbon certificate for each credit that justifies the capture of the equivalent of one tonne of CO2. These two solutions enable you to contribute to developing forest ecosystems and their biodiversity. Remember that the forest stand is covered by the permanence clause for carbon credits, whereas the tree itself is not permanent (for more details, see our white paper dedicated to carbon).

How are the high-quality carbon credits priced?

The price of our high-quality carbon credits is determined by several factors: we take into account the costs of creating and maintaining the project such as planting the new forest, protecting the seedlings, long-term maintenance, etc. and the margin we need to generate. Then we divide this by the number of tonnes of CO2 eq. sequestered as part of the project minus the number of tonnes of CO2 eq. that would have been sequestered in a reference scenario, if the project had not taken place. In effect, we are only counting the CO2 that has been captured as a result of the project, compared with the baseline scenario. The carbon credits available in our shop are all certified by Bureau Veritas, the world leader of certifications.

Can I resell my certificate?

Carbon credits are intangible assets that are recorded in the holder's account, are freely transferable and form part of the legal assets of the holder, who is free to use them as they see fit. However, if the certificates are used in sustainability accounting they are retired and cannot be resold.

Is the purchase of carbon credits tax-deductible?

No, the purchase of carbon credits does not entitle you to a tax deduction. If you wish to support projects that are eligible for a tax deduction, you must finance sponsorship projects that are not carbon capture initiatives.

Will I receive regular updates on the project?

You will receive email updates on the project that your carbon credits are helping to support once the plantation has been completed, at the end of the first year following the project and when significant events are likely to interest you. Bear in mind, however, that the forests' time is not our time and that a forest grows calmly, far from constant information. Finally, all our forests are open to the public between March and September so you can visit the planting sites at your leisure.

Are carbon credits included in extra-financial reporting?

Yes, we provide KPIs that can be used in your extra-financial report to meet your CSRD obligations. As part of the ESRS E1 on climate change, the seventh "disclosure" (D7) directly concerns GHG absorptions and greenhouse gas mitigation projects financed by carbon credits, and a company may have to report on its actions outside its value chain. In this case, it must disclose the nature of its carbon credits (avoidance or sequestration), the location of the project they relate to (EU or non-EU) and whether they are issued as part of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) or Technology-based Solutions (tech based). Our carbon credits come from European nature-based absorption projects. Our carbon credits can also be used in other reporting frameworks, this time voluntary, such as CDP or SBTI. We can help our customers enhance the value of their commitment within these frameworks.

Subscriptions

Can I choose the trees I receive?

The trees owned through a subscription are selected at random from the different species available in our forests. Our aim is to ensure that our subscribers have as diverse a portfolio as possible. If you want, you can let us know your preferences in your EcoTree account (i.e. species, location, age, cutting horizon, etc.) and we will try to meet your demands, subject to available stocks and the preferences of other subscribers, distributed equitably.

Does the value of the trees added to my subscription each month always match the fixed amount I pay?

The price of the trees generally varies between 18 and 30 euros, including tax. The value of the trees added to your subscription may be slightly higher or lower than the value of the subscription. Your balance changes with each payment, evening out over the months. If you close your subscription, you may end up with an overdue balance which matches the value of the trees delivered. You'll then have a choice between exchanging some of your trees to balance your account or a final direct debit.

How do I get my one-month free (following a 12 months subscription)?

After 12 successful payments, you will receive a gift code to the email address linked to your EcoTree account. Enter this code in your account to claim your one month's free subscription. If you still haven't received a gift code after a year's subscription, contact Customer Service at hello@ecotree.green.

Can I change the number of trees I receive each month?

Under the "Subscription" section in your EcoTree account, you can change your subscription package and increase or decrease your monthly payments. Click on the subscription you wish to change to see the details. You can then change the number of trees you receive. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with the changes of your subscription.

Can I pause my subscription?

You can pause your subscription at any time for 3, 6, or 9 months. The subscription and your direct debit payments will automatically resume when your chosen break period ends. You will receive an email reminder. To pause your subscription, simply log in to your EcoTree account and go to "Subscriptions", then click on "See Details" for the subscription in question. Simply click "Pause Subscription" and choose the length of time you want to pause your subscription.

How do I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel your subscription at any time, free of charge. All you have to do is click on this link and answer a quick questionnaire to confirm your cancellation. Your feedback is important to us and helps to improve our products. A few minutes of your time will make a difference for other EcoTree subscribers. As soon as we receive your feedback, we will end your subscription and you'll receive a confirmation email. You will retain ownership of any trees you have already paid for. You can view their status in your EcoTree account. Once your subscription has been cancelled, you can not reactivate it. If you change your mind and want to reap the benefits of investing in sustainable forestry (i.e. subscribe to 12 months and get one month free, free forestry training, exclusive tree species, etc.), you will need to start a new subscription.

Gifts

Where can I find my gifts?

You can find all your gift cards in the "Gifts" section of your EcoTree account. Click "Download" to get them in PDF form.

How do I give multiple gifts at the same time?

Want to give trees to several different recipients? First, place an order for the total amount of trees you want to give. After you pay, you can organise the different gifts in your EcoTree acount, under the "Gifts" heading, by following these steps: enter the recipient's details, choose which trees, and write a personalised message for the 'card.' Give your gift by one of two methods (email, or print a PDF) and review everything before sending. You'll need to repeat these steps as many times as there are recipients.

Why can’t I see the trees that I’ve given as a gift in my account?

When you send a gift, the trees gifted disappear from your EcoTree account as they are being transferred. Once the recipient has claimed their gift code, the trees are automatically transferred to their EcoTree account.

If you change your mind, you can always cancel or modify a gift from your EcoTree account in the "Gifts" section as long as the beneficiary has not yet claimed their gift code. If you cancel the gift, the trees will appear in your account again.

Why do I need to create an account?

Even if you want to only give trees as gifts, you need to create an EcoTree account. We are obliged to be able to link each tree to an owner (and therefore a customer account) and to have a way of contacting them to keep them informed about the management of their tree until the proceeds of its felling are paid back to you. If your beneficiary have not claimed their gift via. the gift code, you remain the owner of the trees.

Can I gift trees to a child?

Of course, you can give trees to young children. We offer two ways of doing this. One way is to send the gift using the details of a parent or guardian. They can then create an account in the child's name. Another way is by first buying a gift card, so you have a gift for them, but then cancelling it which retains the trees in your account. Once your beneficiary is old enough to have an EcoTree account, you can regift the trees in their name. Until that time, you can rename the gifted trees in the "Tree List" section of your account to distinguish them from your other trees and to make sure you don't forget whose they are.

How to receive my gift?

In order to receive your gift, you simply create an EcoTree account or log in to your existing account and enter the gift code from the gift card you received here.

Once your profile is created, we recommend you to fill out the profile details, such as your trusted third-party and your IBAN number. This is to make sure you or a loved one will be able to receive the profits once the tree is felled and the wood is sold as sustainably grown timber.

Guarantees

How can I be sure, EcoTree isn't a scam?

It's easy to see that EcoTree is a legitimate business through our commitments, transparency, and reporting via social networks, newsletters, and annual management reports. In just a few years, EcoTree has become a leading provider of nature-based solutions, supporting sustainable forestry with strong local, social, and environmental impacts. We know that this may make the general public wary. To prove our good faith, we are monitored by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French financial regulatory authority, one of the most hardline regulatory bodies. Along with our B Corp designation, we are also overseen by an independent ethics committee made up of civil society leaders recognised for their expertise including senior magistrates, academics, and forestry experts.
We're always available to clarify any misconceptions and demonstrate our responsible commitment to the environment.

What happens to my trees if something happens to me?

Unless you have already designated them as a donation, the rights you have over your trees will be included in the assets of your estate. Your trusted third party will connect us with your solicitor who will, if necessary, assess the value of your portfolio on the day of your death. The value is determined by your purchase price and the cost of the cutting horizon, provided that no hazards have depreciated the assets in question.
Once the worth of your trees has been added to the value of your estate as a whole, the tax authorities will deduct their share according to the current rate. EcoTree will then transfer the trees to your beneficiaries as outlined in your will.

How does EcoTree help forests adapt to climate change and drought?

Rapid global warming force us to adapt different species of trees as events such as drought, fire, and strong climatic hazards which result from climate change are not conducive to the natural renewal of fragile species. Work is necessary to help forests become more resilient by diversifying tree species and planting better adapted species. Forest resiliency means being capable of recovering its health and returning to a state close to its initial one in spite of the external disturbances its suffered.
One proposed solution is to plant trees better suited to the land that has suffered climatic change and its environment. In certain regions of France, the climate shifts at a rate of about ten kilometres per year, whereas natural regeneration changes forests by only a few hundred metres. Foresters have determined that the stands have no chance of adapting to the terrain on their own as they have almost no time to reproduce. Reproduction is the key to the evolution and adaptation of species. To that end, irregular forestry and natural regeneration encourage the reproduction of certain species while humankind can encourage their resilience by facilitating it.

What actions does EcoTree take to prevent forest fires?

Continuous-cover forest management, mixing tree species and age, is a good way of preventing fires. The heterogeneity of the canopies in these multi-storey forests creates small indentations. Each 'storey' has different volumes of hot air and water meaning water condensation, distribution, and precipitation are naturally encouraged. Also, foresters are required to build access roads, make partition cuts, and "clean up" certain areas by clearing undergrowth and collecting some of the dead wood, making them less prone to fire outbreaks.
In the event of a disaster, EcoTree is insured for all its forests in the event of fire. However, we expressly warn our customers that any compensation following a disaster will be used to repair the forest concerned and does not revert to the customer, considering that the customer's right is an entitlement to the cutting horizon at maturity.
After several fires in recent years, EcoTree and its forestry group have set up a fundraising campaign to help the affected forests by offering advice and assistance to owners.

How do we handle your personal data?

In accordance with the provisions of French Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 and those of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016, EcoTree is committed to protecting your personal data and respecting your privacy. We only collect and use the data necessary to monitor your account and for the use of our services. Most of the data can be modified yourself from your account on our website. If you cannot find what you want, please contact us at hello@ecotree.green. Your data will never be communicated, rented, or sold to a third party.
You can find our policy on personal data here.

What happens if EcoTree goes out of business?

Rest assured, we have no plans to disappear and a number of institutional investors have joined us - a guarantee of the solidity of our company.
Whatever happens, you will always remain the owner of your trees. In a worst-case scenario, a court-appointed liquidator would be chosen by the bankruptcy judge to preserve your rights and, therefore, the maintenance and management of the forests.

Do you need help?

Did you not find the answer to your question? Don't hesitate to contact our customer service!