The London startup that’s planting trees like the planet depends on it

Luke Evans is the founder and CEO of Brynk. Keep reading to learn how his startup’s on a mission to reforest the planet – and using Whereby to stay connected along the way.

In case you missed it, the planet’s on fire. But despite being bombarded by news stories about the climate emergency, most of us don’t know what to do. “There’s a lot of frustration and a lot of good people who feel that they don’t know how to help or make a meaningful difference,” says Luke Evans, founder of Brynk. “I wanted to create something that could harness people’s goodwill and desire to help the fight against the climate crisis.”

After cutting his teeth in the energy trading and sports betting industries, in October 2019 Luke decided to use his skills to combat the climate crisis with Brynk: a platform that enables people and companies to lead a climate-positive lifestyle. “The climate crisis needs to be fixed,” says Luke. “I have two young children and I’m compelled to do everything that I can to make sure they grow up and live in a world that isn’t on the brink of a crisis.”

As a child, Luke spent lots of time in nature, travelling around Australia with his parents and brothers. “We lived in a caravan for three and a half years and we saw some amazing things,” says Luke. “We stopped in places for brief periods so that mum and dad could get short-term jobs, which enabled us to continue our epic journey. It was a real privilege and I’m sure that the experience contributed to me being on this path with Brynk.”

A leap of faith

A big part of Brynk’s work is partnering with tree-planting organisations across the globe to source areas to plant trees, like Luke’s favourite site in Boanamary, Madagascar. But getting started took a big leap of faith. “Before we had any revenue coming into Brynk I signed a contract committing to plant at least half a million trees over 2 years. It was a scary time. My wife and I joked that if Brynk didn’t manage to get any customers then at least we’d have a legacy of our own!” Thankfully, things are moving in the right direction. Luke and his team of 52 full-time tree planters have already planted 167,000 trees, with another 1.5 million trees committed to be planted in 2021.

“Our programme allows everyone to take action and contribute,” says Luke. “For individuals, this ranges from learning about the climate crisis and ways to reduce our impact, to planting trees and using our carbon calculator to become carbon neutral.” But Luke thinks that businesses have an especially big role to play. “It’s about making a commitment to net carbon zero, growing a forest, and making your workforce planet positive. All of this makes a difference, helping to attract and retain employees and create loyal customers.”

Encouraging tech companies to step up

While we’re the first tech company to work with Brynk on a carbon offsetting project, Luke believes that more startups need to make an effort to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. “Business is so central to our society and tech companies are in a unique position to be able to help turn it around quickly. I think that governments will be slower to act, so we should focus on more agile businesses to lead by example.”

Although news articles about the climate crisis don’t make for cheery reading, Luke thinks things are starting to change. “We really are at the tipping point now and we’re finding that individuals and businesses are increasingly interested in doing something positive about the environment. What’s starting to play out in the market now is that being a responsible business is also good for business.”

But making a difference goes beyond carbon offsetting. Brynk’s a pending B Corp and aims to be fully certified by the end of 2021. “B Corps believe in business as a force for good – that business shouldn’t be purely about profit maximisation. Business should be about value creation for all stakeholders, from our communities, to our colleagues, suppliers and to the environment.”

Edem Reforestation Projects

Brynk’s also started using Whereby for company meetings, helping them to stay connected through the pandemic. “Whereby is a really beautiful product and you can see how much love and attention has gone into creating it,” says Luke. “We’ve applied the Brynk Impact Forest image to all of our Whereby meeting room backgrounds, which really makes it feel special and unique.” And it doesn’t stop there. “Whereby Embedded is great and is something that we’re going to build onto the Brynk site so that we can connect with our customers directly and host larger community events.”

Planting the Whereby Forest

In February, we teamed up with Brynk to launch Whereby Forest, where we planted a tree for every three meetings that happened on Whereby during the month. We hit our goal of 1 million trees, which is going to save a heck of a lot of carbon – and we formed a real bond with Luke and the Brynk team. “Our core values align really well. Authenticity is something that both of our businesses are really focussed on.”

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