Making planting trees part of an online retail experience

Heart of the City | 17 November 2020 | News
Making planting trees part of an online retail experience

We had some great news from the Heart of the City community recently: introduction year member SportPursuit has reached its target of planting 100,ooo trees! We asked them how they reached their milestone by getting their customers and employees involved:

“As an online sports and outdoors retailer, SportPursuit has a close connection with the natural environment. Our community of over 6 million ‘members’ are enthusiasts in every sort of active pursuit – runners, cyclists, skiers, climbers, hikers – and the company culture encourages the same passion in our office team. With such a love of outdoor pursuits it is unsurprising that our responsible business activities are focused around protecting the environment.

A cross-business group started to meet to discuss ‘Eco Initiatives’ – ways we could reduce the impact of the business and create positive effects using our platform and membership. Working within the limitations of a fast-growing SME is a challenge: budgets are tight and all projects need to support the membership, while contributing to the bottom line.

Beginning with a company-wide employee survey and continuing with open-forum meetings, updates in all-company meetings, and smaller exec focus groups, we made sure that all areas in the business were aware and invested in the project. Ongoing surveying of customers in an engaging manner helped keep the focus on the most important issues.

Tree planting became the main focus of our initiatives for a number of reasons. Through a previous Christmas campaign we had established a relationship with a tree planting charity partner, Size of Wales. This had shown that tree planting resonated with our audience, both from a local level – a connection with their nearby forests and green spaces – and a global perspective. Additionally, planting trees gave us a measurable and scalable goal to test different initiatives against.

Officially setting a goal in August 2019 to plant 100,000 trees in the following year, we began to roll out different activities to build engagement across different channels:

  • Engaging staff through a charity fundraising ‘Bake-Off’ and Christmas Gift programme.
  • Encouraging customers to be part of the campaign by sharing messaging with friends and referring new members, with two trees planted for every member referred.
  • Testing one-off sale events to boost awareness and deliver commercial benefit, strengthening internal buy-in for our tree-planting projects.

In this challenging year it was a real achievement to hit our target of 100,000 trees by the end of September 2020. By including our customers on this journey and regularly reporting our progress we’ve been able to grow together – involving our whole community in making a difference. As SportPursuit co-founder Adam Pikett said:

“It’s great to see our shared passion for the outdoors driving engagement in our tree planting initiatives. With the help of Size of Wales the SportPursuit community has contributed a positive impact to the environment as well as the local communities supported by these projects”.

Joining the Heart of the City foundation programme helped us structure a responsible business programme that could realise this goal, as well as helping us learn as a business about other areas we can make a difference. Our next milestone is 250,000 trees, and we’re looking forward to everything that we can achieve with the amazing support of Heart of the City and our community.”

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