one million trees

Two years. One million trees. Together we’re making a difference.

September 11, 2023

Through our partnership with PrintReleaf, we’re taking a more responsible approach to print.


This month DCM planted its millionth tree as part of a reforestation partnership with PrintReleaf. It’s an indication of what like-minded organizations can achieve when they work together in innovative ways.


Making a difference in a more measurable way

For decades DCM has provided print services to some of the largest organizations in Canada. While the company has expanded its portfolio and now offers a number of digital marketing solutions, print remains an important communication channel for many clients, prompting DCM to continue to look for ways to reduce its paper footprint. The company has been Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC)-certified since 2007, and in addition, in 2021, it took the significant step of partnering with PrintReleaf.

PrintReleaf has developed a software-based sustainability solution that reverse-calculates paper consumption, then replants the equivalent number of trees in forests designated for restoration and conservation. The program helps participants reduce their overall environmental impact, and share their progress publicly through the use of QR codes connected to a dashboard.


“We want to make a measurable impact,” says DCM President & CEO Richard Kellam. “We want to know with certainty how much of a difference we’re making, and we want to be able to show it. Our partnership with PrintReleaf lets us do that, while at the same time giving our clients a meaningful way to support their own environmental goals.”


The meaning of a million trees

In September 2023, DCM surpassed the million-tree milestone—begging the question: What exactly does a million trees look like?

To put the number in perspective, one million trees is equal to approximately 20,000 acres of mature forest. That’s roughly two times the City of Charlottetown, PEI. Or 23 Central Parks. Or 15,000 football fields.

Twenty-thousand acres of mature forest produce enough oxygen for two million people. And taking into account the various factors that impact the carbon-capture abilities of trees, such as species, size, and age, one million trees can absorb approximately 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide—equivalent to taking 5,600 cars off the road.



Reforestation: a team effort

More than ever, there is a growing concern over the health of our forests, particularly with the wildfires that have become more widespread in recent years. In 2021 alone, fires caused 9.3 million hectares of tree cover loss globally. In addition to the air pollution caused directly by smoke, dying trees and forest fires emit CO2, contributing to more climate change and more fires.

More reasons why many of us are paying attention to the trees we use, and looking for ways to replace them.

PrintReleaf partners with a number of well-established global forestry partners to fulfill its reforestation projects. Working in conjunction with SGS International, all these partners are certified, and all reforestation projects are certified and verified. This is in accordance with the PrintReleaf Standard, which ensures that customers’ environmental goals are met with certified sustainability services. These include transparent reporting; a demonstrated track record in forestry best practices; and survivability of reforested trees. As explained on the PrintReleaf website: “Each reforestation project is audited over an initial eight-year verification timeline, then ongoing, until capacity is achieved to ensure 100% net survivability of trees.”


The many branches of ESG

Big challenges tend to call for multi-faceted solutions, and that is certainly the case with our environmental commitment. PrintReleaf is one part of a layered, science-based approach to reducing environmental impact—one of three prongs in our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program.

Our environmental efforts include certification by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), the print industry’s most rigorous third-party accreditor. Seven of our facilities are SGP-certified, and maintain an approved sustainability management system (SMS) that governs energy and raw material use, carbon emissions, and chemical and waste management. Progress is monitored via web-based tracking, and facilities are audited every two years.

Our carbon-reduction strategy is based on the global Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We’ve set a 2030 target of a 42% energy reduction, to be achieved through steady migration to renewable energy and the purchase of renewable energy credits. We secured Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certification in 2007, and now with our PrintReleaf program in place, are able to make a more measurable contribution to sustainable forestry.


Growing trees makes good sense

Reforestation is one part of today’s complex environmental equation, but it’s an important factor in that equation. Trees absorb CO2; they support biodiversity; they prevent water loss and soil erosion, among other things.

As long as people continue to rely on printed communication, we need to seek ways to be more responsible about producing it. PrintReleaf provides a platform for DCM and our clients to do just that.


See DCM’s reforestation dashboard here.


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