This Spring, we formed a new partnership with environmental nonprofit Trees for Life. Each month, 1% of our gross monthly sales will be donated directly to the charity. Funds will then be used to plant trees, conduct research, restore and sustain wildlife and work with local people to look after the Scottish Highlands.

The vision at Trees for Life is for the Scottish Highlands to be rewilded. “Rewilding is about reconnecting with nature,” explains Catherine Faulkner, Partnerships Manager at Trees for Life. “That means understanding the environment, how trees would have grown, the natural habitats they would have provided and what the landscape would have been like.”

The importance of trees

“The typical view of The Highlands is a beautiful glen covered in heather. But that’s not what it would have been like naturally, thousands of years ago. It would have been covered in trees,” she says. “Now, only 1% of the original 3.7m acres of woodland remains. As a charity, we are dedicated to rewilding and revitalising the land for wildlife and communities to thrive.”

Since 1993, Trees for Life has planted almost two million trees. “Any of the tree planting we do mimics nature,” she says. “We don’t have an orchard of oak, it’s a variety of trees and many sturdier species, which are more likely to survive.” Species they plant include oak, elm, juniper and willow.

Tree planting has always been important to our founders Gary and Matt, there's simply not enough planting in the UK to meet CO2 targets by 2050. With Trees for Life, the money is going straight into the ground, there’s a tangibility to it that we love.

Absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere is one of the many benefits of tree planting. “Trees prevent erosion, provide a habitat for animals, help stop fires from spreading so quickly, help prevent flooding, and absorb pollutants, including CO2,” says Catherine.

Rewilding the Scottish Highlands

In addition to growing and planting native trees, Trees for Life also works on projects such as the reintroduction of rare red squirrel populations. “Red squirrels were once the iconic animal of this area. We’re working to improve and sustain its population and understand the importance of what they do and how they impact biodiversity.”

An estimated 4,000 species live within the 4,000 hectares of Dundreggan, the Conservation Estate run by Trees for Life. “The tree cover provides a rich biodiversity. It means that pine martins, otters, grouse and other species that have been impacted by deforestation can flourish once again,” she says.

Working with people

Next year, Trees for Life will be building a pioneering Rewilding Centre. “It will be an education-focused centre where people can come and learn about the land in situ. We’re looking to create jobs for the local people and work with them - it’s their home, their land. The centre will be bilingual with a Gaelic focus, which again ties in with people, culture and heritage,” she says. “We always take a holistic approach to any of the work that we undertake.”

Another branch of their work is a consultancy for land owners looking into reforestation or conservation. “Farmers and landowners approach us saying that they want to give land back over to forestry and we help them understand how to do that.”

Much of the tree planting in Dundreggan is carried out by volunteers. They work alongside the core team of 25, made up of conservationists, fundraisers and office staff. As a partner, the team at Timetastic will have the opportunity to volunteer and see the nursery where the staff plant and grow the saplings. “To keep the nursery going, eight colleagues are all up in the Glen isolating together for the duration of lockdown - an incredible thing that just shows the enthusiasm and dedication of the team,” says Catherine. The rest of the team, usually based in their office in Forres, are working from home.

Connecting to Trees for Life

Timetastic’s partnership with Trees for Life came about through its membership to 1% for the Planet, an organisation that encourages businesses to donate 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits. Our membership to 1% for the Planet is one of many changes we’ve made to become a more ethical and sustainable business.

“I’ve always wanted to run a business with good ethics - the best they can be,” says Gary. “It really makes us proud. It’s good for the team and good for the business.”