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Case Studies May 20, 2024

From Blueprint to Greenprint: How Planning by Design's Gift Ignited an Environmental Movement

Cassie Daley
Case Studies May 20, 2024

Background: the gift that sparked a green initiative

When Planning by Design , an architectural and planning consultancy, was launched, success followed swiftly, almost too swiftly. As their team expanded to meet escalating demand, they paused, acknowledging the need to weigh their environmental impact.

Planning by Design was ahead of the curve in many ways, with a carbon footprint of virtually zero. All staff worked remotely slashing the need for travel and they only used digital tools which made paper waste a thing of the past.

But what about their clients' projects? The buildings they designed, the spaces they crafted—did they leave a scar on our planet?


Grant recognised their client’s developments, especially where construction is concerned, can have a major carbon footprint and a negative impact on the climate and environment both locally and globally.

They knew something had to change but like many businesses it feels like you are fighting for climate change against an entire army (the construction industry in this case). Planning by Design knew they just had to start and others would follow.

But, what sparked the idea to plant trees?

It was a single tree, planted by their web developer, as a gesture of appreciation for a piece of work that was completed.

This simple act of green goodwill got Grant thinking: What if we could channel our success into something bigger, something greener?

‘His tree wasn’t planted with Treeapp but I decided I wanted to research to find a reliable company with accreditations and evidence to show that the money we contribute really is spent on planting the number of trees we buy.

After many weeks of research and contacting lots of other carbon capture and tree planting companies I found Treeapp. I was instantly impressed with the proposition, credibility, accreditations, pricing, impact reports, tree planting certificates, tree counting widget.

Most of all the third-party satellite tracking software allowed me to see the planting sites historically and scroll forward or backwards in time to see new growth.’

- Grant Singlehurst-Ward


Bubanza, Burundi, 2024

Objectives and goals: planning for success

Planning by Design, embarked on the corporate tree planting project with clear objectives and goals in mind. Their primary aim was to mitigate the environmental impact of their clients' developments, thereby contributing to the fight against climate change and fostering a more sustainable planet for present and future generations.

Recognising the shared values of their clientele, Planning by Design also sought to align their sustainability efforts with customer sentiments. From a commercial standpoint, they envisioned multiple benefits, including setting themselves apart from competitors, enhancing customer satisfaction, and ultimately driving sales growth. By weaving environmental stewardship into their business model, Planning by Design aimed to not only make a positive impact on the planet but also cultivate a loyal and environmentally-conscious customer base.


Usambara Mountains, Tanzania, 2024

Our impact: beyond the numbers

Since April 2024, for every client Planning by Design brings on board, they plant not one, not two, but ten trees. The numbers speak for themselves. As of today, they’ve planted a staggering 7935 trees, with no signs of slowing down.

‘Within the next 2 months, we will hit a major milestone of 10,000 trees planted and this excites us very much.’ Grant told us.

But it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the ripple effect their actions have had. Winning ‘Architecture Firm of the Year’ on their second anniversary with one of the contributing factors being their positive environmental philosophy and impact on the planet.

With the Treeapp counter widget integrated into their home page of their website, both Planning by Design and their customers have access to real-time statistics showcasing the cumulative impact achieved. Since this change Planning by Design has witnessed a surge in sales, customers have sung their praises for their eco-conscious initiatives and their social media feeds have lit up with messages of support.


They have also noted that our impact report provides them with invaluable insights into the tangible outcomes of our tree-planting endeavours which they can share with their clients. From carbon sequestration stats to job creation and habitat restoration, the information helps with trust and credibility.

Lessons learnt: advice for businesses

Throughout Planning by Design’s journey they have learnt invaluable lessons and are eager to share with others considering similar endeavours.

First and foremost, conducting thorough research is paramount. In a landscape crowded with initiatives, it’s essential to distinguish reputable partners from unreliable or potentially fraudulent ventures.

Their advice echoes the sentiment of Planning by Design: start by partnering with a trusted organisation like Treeapp (hint hint). Consider your capacity and commitment realistically, and take the plunge. The beauty of the partnership model is its flexibility; you can adjust your contributions as needed and halt participation at any time. However, once you experience the positive impact first hand, you’ll find it difficult to turn back.

A final word from Grant:

‘We are incredibly proud of the huge positive impact our partnership with Treeapp has had so far. In the future, we look forward to planting our first million trees, not only do we see this as a necessity to save the planet but we feel the investment we make generates a return on investment for us as a business, by increasing customer satisfaction and sales. I highly recommend every business consider making whatever contribution they can.’

‘By planting enough trees we can restore lost habitats, save endangered species and even transition from global warming to global cooling as the trees capture more carbon. With initiatives like Treeapp there is hope for the planet and humanity but this isn’t a problem for future generations, this is an urgent crisis that humanity needs to address now before it’s too late.’

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