Plus: regenerative business principles, ableism in language, purposeful daydreaming, and more
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Welcome to In the Good, a weekly newsletter for small and solo business owners who give a damn. Thank you for being here!

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Ho ho ho,

If you're into Christmas, raise your hand if you've got your tree up already. 

My hand is still down. We will probably do it this weekend—despite my youngest son nagging us for weeks, I can't quite get my head around it actually being that time of year already. Again. Where does time go?

And now for an awkward segue into this week's mini-essay/rant/rambling about trees. Actually, never mind—this is the awkward segue.

Planting trees is a popular way for businesses to show off their green credentials, which isn’t surprising considering that it’s:
  • easy to connect to your business. Businesses can, say, plant a tree for every new customer or every product sold.
  • easy to set up. There is no shortage of tree planting programs to choose from these days.
  • easy to ‘sell’ as part of your sustainability initiatives. I mean, who doesn’t like trees?
But just because something is easy, doesn’t make it a good choice. (Whoa, the mom voice is strong with this one. My teen son sympathizes with you.)

Tree planting schemes are coming under increasing scrutiny. And for good reasons. There are serious and legitimate concerns about their effectiveness and long-term management, their negative impact on biodiversity and local and indigenous people, and their role in greenwashing.

This doesn’t mean we should abandon tree planting completely. Trees ARE good. They purify our air, provide food and habitat for wildlife, prevent soil erosion—and, yes, they absorb carbon dioxide.

If you want to include tree planting as one part of your company’s carbon reduction strategy, make sure you:
  • reduce your carbon emissions. That’s the priority. Offsetting is not a free pass for inaction.
  • choose more immediate offsetting solutions. Trees take a good 10+ years before they’re effective at absorbing carbon dioxide. We need climate action now.
  • choose your tree planting partner carefully. Look for reputable ones with third-party certification.
Responsible tree planting can be a part of your company’s sustainability initiatives, but it shouldn’t be the focus—just as carbon offsets shouldn’t be. Let's make sure we're realistic about the impact and limitations of tree planting and other carbon offset programs.

Charmaine
"You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend."

—Bob Ross
A Few Good Links 👍
1. Ableism is embedded in our language. We can dismantle it. This thoughtful article talks through some of the issues we should consider in the language we use and offers useful resources to help us do better.

2. "Going far beyond how a business minimizes its environmental impact or prevents human rights abuses, a just and regenerative mindset gets to the heart of how we recognize our interdependence with other people, other living beings and ecosystems, and ultimately how we enable all living beings to not simply survive but to thrive together." YES. Here are five principles to help us be part of the regenerative business movement.

3. Considering some end-of-year charitable donations? Here are seven of the most high-impact, cost-effective, evidence-based organizations fighting climate change, according to Vox.

4. Think big with purposeful daydreaming.

5. You're a considerate business owner, right? Here's a useful reframe if you struggle with icky feelings towards marketing: “marketing” just means being considerate.
Good On Ya  👏
Kudos of the week goes to Open Harbour Refugee Association, a volunteer-run non-profit based in Nova Scotia, Canada that sponsors refugees.

And full disclosure: I'm a co-founder of the organization, so I'm kind of giving myself some of these kudos this week! 😆

(We're raising money to support the family we are currently sponsoring. Donations go directly to helping refugees in their first year in Canada.)

(Is there a person, company or organization that you think deserves some kudos thrown their way? Hit 'reply' to nominate them!)

Meanwhile on Twitter 😎

Tweet from Jay Acunzo: The hardest thing for us to do in our work is stay the course.  When you know in your bones (or your audience tells you) what you do MATTERS? Keep going. It's so tempting to chase vanity metrics or what others are doing.  I'm begging you: don't.  Keep making what matters.
Hi, I'm Charmaine—writer, editor and creator of In the Good.

I'm also a copywriter for socially conscious companies, which means I help fine folks like you make more money AND a bigger impact. 
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Unit 24, 260 Brownlow Avenue
Dartmouth
Nova Scotia
B3B 1V9
Canada
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