MONTREAL -- One Tree Planted founder Matt Hill says he was selling eco-friendly food packaging to concessionaires at the Vancouver Olympics when the idea of his non-profit came to him: rather than try to sell more ecological merchandise that corporations would reject because of the cost, offer those corporations a lower-cost opportunity to help the environment.

“He was trying to sell them better, eco-friendly packaging, and they didn’t want to do it, and so they said, ‘what else can we do to help environment?’ and he said, plant trees. It’s the easiest thing to do,” said Diana Chaplain, the “Canopy Director” of One Tree Planted. 

It is a non-profit with the aim to plant trees around the world, and it makes a pledge that for every U.S. dollar donated, one tree will be planted. Through corporate partnerships, the non-profit plants trees in more than 30 countries around the world. In Quebec recent plantings have happened in places like Mont St-Hilaire and the Morgan Arboretum.

But Hill is no ecologist. He got his start as a marketer with the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise.

“For an organization like this, you really think of the Ben and Jerry’s kind of guy running this sort of organization,” he said. “But yes, I went the business route.”

Corporate partners include L’Oreal and DHL among several others. The past year, One Tree Planted Executives estimate it received 17 million dollars in donations and planted 10 million trees. This year, Hill says it’s on track to plant between 25 and 30 million trees worldwide.

“It’s been a phenomenal journey, and I never would have thought that we would get this big when we started,” he said.