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Planted Family

Are you ready to plant? - We are!

The story behind the founding of Planted. How did Cindy Schüller, Wilhelm Hammes, Jan Borchert and Heinrich Rauh come up with the idea of sustainable environmental protection? And why now
Uta Nabert
February 21, 2023
Planted Family

How it all began 

Wilhelm: "Sustainability? Wasn't my topic for a long time. My world was banks and management consultancy. That's where I was at home. At some point I ended up in the meat industry and suddenly I understood how incredibly bad meat is for the planet. I started doing research and was overwhelmed by a wave of horror scenarios on the internet:

Factory farming, Amazon disaster, water pollution, over-fertilisation, Monsanto, forest dieback, climate change, drought, hunger, overpopulation, wars for resources


Internet off, idea generator on!

I was of the opinion that it is not too late. We can do something, let's do it. But what?"

Heinrich: "I've always been green, I designed my everyday life sustainably. And my profession? Well, I didn't exactly go out on boats to save whales, nor did I chain myself to trees. I worked in a software company.

Then in 2019, my personal wake-up moment: Leander, our son, was born. I looked at him and asked myself: In what world will this child grow up? Will he be as well off at my age as I am right now? And what do I contribute to it? - I wanted to actively do something against the climate crisis. But what?"

Wilhelm and Heinrich: "We didn't know each other. We worked in different industries, but we shared the same idea - and a friend. He connected us in 2020, we met for a few Kölsch, the glasses were empty, the notebooks full. And even before the bar closed, we were able to toast a concrete business model. Planted was born. Well then, cheers!"

Two guys, one idea, three pillars:

We had decided to found a start-up together that would enable people to do even more for the environment and thereby REALLY save the world. According to the motto: You do your best, we do the rest.

We wanted (and want) to give people the opportunity to do more against climate change, because let's be honest: Does a bamboo toothbrush in the bathroom make the difference? Or is it enough to take a jute bag shopping? There is definitely still room for improvement!

So what we came up with for our potential customers was this: Stop climate change at the click of a mouse, from the comfort of your sofa, kitchen table or train.

The idea:

Pillar I Collect donations and plant trees - Forest Made in Germany ♥

Pillar II collect donations and invest in CO₂ compensation projects worldwide, because it will be several years before the young trees are large and productive.

Pillar III educate people and show them how they can save CO₂, because far too many are still unaware of the true extent of the climate crisis.

Ok, planting trees, now where?

But how and where to plant the trees? You didn't exactly learn that at university.

Yes, they did. One person had learned: Jan, a forest scientist and, coincidentally, an acquaintance of Wilhelm. He knows that reforestation is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change and has already taken a first important step with his first 10,000 planted trees. 

Jan: "Whistling a little song while wandering through the green forest and counting trees? At the moment I'm mainly counting tree skeletons and bark beetles. Sometimes it feels like I'm not roaming through forests, but over tree graveyards. The forest is dying all over the world, and in recent years it has been dying extremely badly in Germany. It has received a real shock from the past hot and far too dry summers, and it is so deep-seated that much of it will die in the next few years as well. What we urgently need now are mixed cultures, only these will survive. Through Planted I finally have the chance to plant exactly that."

To cut a long story short, Jan was of course on board and Planted came to have its own climate forester, a man of the trade who did not want to manage coniferous fields, but wanted to grow living forest in Germany.

All good things are... four!

So Jan got to the root of the problem right away, Heinrich still takes care of the website today, Wilhelm is the CEO and numbers man in the team. But who would take over the communication? No ticky, no washy, but wordless? We needed someone for communication.

Cindy: "I grew up with the message that everyone in life should make the world a little bit better. I always thought art made the world a better place, so I did a Bachelor and Master of Arts, then worked in a gallery. Sometimes, at fairs, I noticed how much rubbish there was: stands that had just been set up were simply flattened after the event, all the valuable resources simply thrown away.

At some point I left the industry. It was time for a change that REALLY makes the world a little bit better."

And that's what I've been doing since then with social media and public relations for Planted: because that's how even more people find out about our mission to protect Mother Earth .

Grow air so we don't run out of air

And yet, despite all our first steps and progress, we are still far from perfect. Cindy suffers from her weakness for avocado toast, Heinrich owns his own car. Wilhelm just can't keep his hands off the Nutella jar and Jan is always overcome by a desire for meat when he walks past the organic butcher. And that's okay too. Because none of us is perfect. But if everyone contributes a small part, the world becomes a better place. 

And this is our vision: We want to make access to climate protection as easy as possible - for everyone. We are not the solution for everything, in the foreground each of us should first think of #reduce and #reuse. Environmental protection is our central message and is always in the foreground. But if we all work together, we can create the solution together and look forward to a hopeful and liveable future. 

Because don't forget: everything will be all right in the end. And if it is not good, then it is not the end.