Congratulations to Shopify for reaching 1 million customers—and to co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke for marking that milestone by donating 1 million + 1 trees!
Why a million and 1? Well, that's a story involving Tesla CEO Elon Musk, YouTube personality MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson), and an initiative to fund the planting of 20 million trees around the globe by January 1, 2020.
Shopify announced this week that more than 1 million businesses now use its technology. The company, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, is especially known for its ecommerce platform. (Cloverly offers a plugin that lets operators of Shopify stores give their customers the option at checkout of making their shipping carbon neutral.)
Lütke tweeted out some stats in honor of the million-user milestone. US startup investor Chris Lu suggested marking the occasion by donating a million trees. Lütke upped the ante by pledging to donate a million and 1—and he changed his Twitter moniker to Tobi "Lorax" Lütke in honor of the Dr. Seuss book about the mustachioed little creature who speaks for the trees.
Lütke made the donation through Team Trees. That's a partnership between several YouTubers/influencers and the Arbor Day Foundation, the venerable tree-planting nonprofit. Team Trees germinated in May when MrBeast accepted a challenge to plant 20 million trees to commemorate reaching 20 million subscribers. The initiative went live in October. Every $1 donated gets 1 tree planted.
Musk donated $1 million and changed his Twitter identity to Treelon. So Lütke topped him by $1.
MrBeast (whose stunt-driven YouTube career took off when he posted a very long video of himself counting to 100,000) donated $100,000 on October 25 and another $100,002 the next day. Other notable supporters include Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, with two donations totaling $350,000.
With more than $11 million contributed in a little more than a week, Team Trees seems likely to smash its goal of $20 million by January.
Lütke's donation was personal. In September, he announced that Shopify itself would commit at least $5 million annually ($6.6 million Canadian) to a new Shopify Sustainability Fund. The fund will help make Shopify's operations more sustainable and will invest at least $1 million a year in carbon sequestration.
We all need to do what we can for sustainability; that's Cloverly's founding principle. Props to Lütke and Shopify for stepping up big time.