Stéphane Hallaire is one of the leading lights in the reforestation movement.
He is the founder of Reforest’Action, a French B corporation that has planted six million trees in 21 countries since it was created in 2010.
The social enterprise has also reached over 20 million people through awareness-raising activities and claims to have improved the lives of more than 100,000 people. Trees planted in village- and school-owned fields bring additional revenue to local communities, through resources like wood, fruits and oils.
This is in addition to drawing down 900,000 tonnes of CO2, generating 6 million hours of work, and creating space for 18 million animals to shelter.
The crux of this impressive resumé is Reforest’Action’s “crowdplanting model.” Visitors to the company website can browse through a Google Maps overlay and zoom in on tree-planting projects in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Satellite images show the spread of previously planted trees. By paying €3, they can buy and plant a virtual tree in an area of their choice—which the company then uses to plant a real tree in the designated area.
“We just need to refuse to degrade the ecosystems we rely on and to take action to reduce our footprint and to restore the environment,” Hallaire wrote on LinkedIn.
“Reforest’Action is a solution for companies and individuals to have a positive impact on the environment, one tree at a time!”
Le Mois de la Forêt, c’est maintenant !! Tout au long du mois de mars, Reforest’Action organise avec ses partenaires une grande campagne de sensibilisation sur les enjeux et bénéfices des #forêts ??? #MoisdelaForêthttps://t.co/Ji53enej8Z
— Reforest’Action (@reforestaction) March 2, 2020
Action in France
While Reforest’Action runs many of its planting projects in the Global South, it also has an extensive planting project in France.
It does so to restore trees lost to storms, wildfires and illness. In the country, trees are planted in both private forests and public areas managed by the French National Forests Office—meaning the owners are a diverse mix of individuals, states and municipalities.
A project in the country, set up in 2017, aims to plant urban forests “at the heart of cities.” 7,000 trees will be planted around France in order to offset emissions produced by French government buildings.
Speaking on the French Mayors’ Association YouTube channel, Hallaire explains that there are two main goals: to create new outdoor spaces with clean air and to turn underused spaces—such as roadside verges—into biodiversity havens that could be enjoyed as part of the landscape.