October 2019 – Making Waves

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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E N T R E P R E N E U R O F T H E Y E A R 2 0 1 9 / S O C I A L I M P A C T n Ten trees planted for every item of apparel sold. That's the promise of Ten Tree International, dedicated to helping each customer play a role in the company's mission to make a big impact. "What we say internally is, 'The world won't be changed by 100 perfect environmen- talists, it'll get changed by a million imperfect ones,'" says CEO Derrick Emsley. Founded in 2011, Ten Tree makes its clothing and goods—sold in North America, Europe and online—from Earth-friendly and ethically produced fibres. The brand has a strong social media fol- lowing of more than three million people and holds the record for the fourth- most-liked Instagram photo of all time, with 15.6 million interactions. Stewarding its social following paid off: in 2018, Ten Tree launched a Kick- starter campaign aimed at raising $35,000 to help the company develop what it calls the world's most sus- tainable backpack, made of recycled plastic bottles and a unique algae-based foam. The crowdfunding effort surpassed its goal by 670 percent, gathering more than $270,000 in one month. The finished back- pack was featured in Forbes on Earth Day 2019. The retail side of Ten Tree, which has about 50 staff at its Vancouver head office, exists to allow more tree-planting, Emsley says: "We're tree-planters, and we're planting trees through selling clothes." The company's roots run deep, right back to Emsley's high-school days in Regina. Emsley and his brother Kalen, Ten Tree's W I N N E R S Derrick Emsley, Kalen Emsley, Stephen Emsley, Arthur Kononuk + David Luba C E O , V P C O N T E N T , V P D I G I T A L , C R E A T I V E D I R E C T O R + V P S A L E S , T E N T R E E I N T E R N A T I O N A L 42 BCBUSINESS OCTOBER 2019 Stephen Emsley (left) and David Luba

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