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Supporting scale for tree planting with Tree O2

Tree planting can be one of the most cost-effective ways to tackle climate change, but monitoring planting schemes can be a challenge, which then poses problems for accreditation. Thoughtworks partnered with the xpand Foundation on its tree-planting tool TreeO2 to help it navigate a resource-heavy auditing process through effective use of data. 


The xpand Foundation’s community forestry programme, WithOneSeed, aims to raise international carbon farming standards by paying subsistence farmers in Timor-Leste to plant and look after trees. These annual payments encourage ongoing guardianship from the whole community, and the prioritization of carbon-sequestering trees over short-term cash crops. By planting a diverse range of trees, the projects also boost biodiversity.  


The charity funds its activities by selling carbon credits. However, access to the carbon credit market requires accreditation—which, in turn, requires auditing, a complex process that incurs significant cost and effort. Fortunately, the charity had information at its disposal which could make audits less expensive, as well as more accurate.

Alongside its planting efforts, the Xpand Foundation operates  the TreeO2  tree-tracking platform—a database which holds details on every single tree it plants including location, owner, age, and size. Each tree is fitted with an RFID tag, and is regularly measured for growth. This allows TreeO2 to accurately measure the amount of carbon sequestered by each tree, farm, region, and project as a whole, rather than estimating by land coverage.


In 2023 we began working together to design an analytics system that would use the wealth of information in the TreeO2 database to produce reports for auditing. Through a web-based system, the charity will be able to increase the frequency of audits, improve cash flow, and pay its farmers faster. It will also allow it to estimate 'future credits' to secure funding for ongoing growth.

“The TreeO2 project has played a significant role in improving the planet as a better place to live, not only through carbon sequestration but also by supporting and introducing new technologies to farmers in Timor-Leste, many of whom were not even comfortable with reading or using a mobile device.” - Daniel Baharestani, Thoughtworks Tech Lead

We continue to work with the xPand Foundation on implementing this system and look forward to its launch and the results—helping Timorese farmers earn a better and more sustainable income, while improving local biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis.

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