woman standing in a clearcutting by a forest

What Is Deforestation, and How Can We Stop It?

Last Updated: April 15, 2022

Deforestation is a serious global problem that’s on the verge of becoming a catastrophic global crisis. What is deforestation, and how can you help stop it?

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, roughly 8,400 square feet of Canadian boreal forest will be clearcut. In the past 15 years alone, the Canadian logging industry has decimated an Ohio-sized area of the forest in the name of consumption, with a huge portion of the trees literally getting flushed down the toilet.

The Amazon rainforest is faring even worse, with around 10,000 acres of trees razed every day. Since 1988, an area the size of California has been left barren and scarred, leaving the forest on the precipice of transitioning to savannah — a catastrophic event for the planet and all of its inhabitants.

The world’s forests are in dire straits, and the home essentials industry bears a generous share of the responsibility for protecting and regenerating them. That means it’s largely up to consumer brands like Grove Collaborative to lead the way in transforming both our products – and how we source, produce, package, and distribute them.

What’s at stake?

Climate change

Combined, Canada’s boreal forest and the Amazon rainforest store 29 percent of the world’s terrestrial carbon stock. The boreal forest emits around 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, but removes around 113 million metric tons. By contrast, the Amazon rainforest emits a billion metric tons of CO2 annually, and scientists recently confirmed that it’s now emitting more than it can absorb.

Indigenous communities

Hundreds of indigenous leaders in Latin American forest communities have been killed over land disputes, and demands for forest protections by indigenous groups worldwide have led to persecution and racism. Deforestation across the globe – including in Indonesia, Africa, and Latin and North America – continues to destroy the livelihoods and ways of life of indigenous peoples.

Wildlife habitats and ecosystems

Canada’s boreal forest is home to some of North America’s most iconic wildlife species, including the boreal caribou, grizzly bears, California condors, and millions of songbirds — all of which are endangered and dwindling fast. In the Amazon rainforest, more than 10,000 species are at risk of extinction, including giant otters, macaws, and spider monkeys.

Supporting indigenous rights is supporting the health of our forests. Deforestation is up to 20 times lower in tribal territories — in the Amazon, land managed by indigenous people has even lower deforestation rates than protected areas like national parks.

What is Grove Collaborative doing to protect our forests?

You probably know by now (or maybe you don’t!) that Grove is committed to going 100-percent plastic-free by 2025. But as we inch ever closer to our plastic-free goal, we want to ensure that we don’t adopt plastic alternatives that contribute to deforestation.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, so for our 2021 Sustainability Report, we took a good, hard look at our company’s impact on the world’s forested regions while identifying actionable steps for mitigating it.

Protecting and restoring the world’s forests is a huge undertaking, and it requires as many hands on deck as possible. We’ve formed numerous partnerships, embarked on a range of initiatives, and doubled down on our commitment to conservation and reforestation — never deforestation or degradation.

Here, we break down what we’re doing to help restore the “lungs of the earth” back to health so we can all breathe easy — and what you can do to help.

By the end of 2022, we will have planted one million trees

map of the U.S.A. charting the number of trees planted by Grove by state

Our reforestation strategy aims to align purpose with profit through a variety of partnerships and initiatives. As of mid-2021, in partnership with The Arbor Day Foundation, we’ve already planted a grand total of 635,000 new leafy green things — and we’re on track to achieve our goal of planting a total of 1,000,000 new trees by the end of 2022.

The impact of 635,000 new trees upon maturity


Tons of CO2 sequestered


Pounds of air pollution removed


Gallons of rainfall intercepted

We’re practicing regenerative sourcing

Planting trees to reforest the landscape is all well and good, but it’s not enough — not by a long shot. A new tree planted is nowhere near equivalent to a tree cut down in terms of carbon capture, soil health, biodiversity, or wildlife protection.

To ensure we’re not unwittingly supporting the bad guys through poor purchasing decisions, we’ve linked arms with some fantastic organizations to help us tighten up our supply chain while gaining more altitude and insight into our partners, vendors, suppliers, and sources — particularly where coconut and palm oil are concerned. Here’s how we’re rolling out this initiative.

Grove + Drawdown Labs

In our ongoing work with Project Drawdown’s Drawdown Labs, we’re actively searching out nature-positive, regenerative sourcing solutions. We’re working with our suppliers, vendors, and brand networks to reduce the environmental impact of our business — and the home products industry at large.

Grove + Presidio Graduate School

We partnered with Presidio Graduate School on an in-depth study of the coconut oil we use in Grove Co. branded products. While we didn’t find any new sources of regenerative coconut oil, we learned that some of our suppliers have already adopted conservation and regenerative practices – like row cropping – to protect soil quality.

Grove + Palm Done Right

We’re working with certification group Palm Done Right to create a framework for sustainably sourcing palm oil and institute industry-leading practices. All of our products that contain palm oil are certified by Palm Done Right or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil — or labeled with other verified standards of traceability.

We’re thinking outside of the forest on products

Our product development team is working hard to build a more sustainable household paper goods industry by creating innovative products that reduce the amount of tree fiber consumed.

Grove Co. Tree-Free products like paper towels, tissues and compostable wipes

Grove Co. Paper Products

Our Grove Co. tree-positive, bamboo-based approach to paper products is a model of regenerative business because it illustrates how our industry can positively impact — rather than degrade and deplete — our natural resources.

All of our Grove Co. paper products are 100-percent tree-free, and the bamboo we source is 100-percent FSC-certified. Every purchase of our Grove Co. paper products supports replanting forests across the U.S. — which means it’s the first brand of paper products that plants trees without ever cutting them down.

Grove Co. wipes are certified compostable, and we’re expanding the line to include compostable kitchen wipes, facial tissues, napkins, and other paper household essentials.

On average, trees take 20 years to grow to maturity, while bamboo takes just three months. If every American swapped out just one roll of Grove Co. toilet paper for their conventional brand, one million trees would be saved.

We’re reinventing our packaging

We recently joined Prana’s Responsible Packaging Working Group to collaborate with other like-minded businesses on ways to reduce the impact of packaging on our forests, by:

  • Using the most commonly recycled materials for our packaging
  • Reducing all unnecessary packaging
  • Developing new packaging formats that prioritize refills
  • Examining ways to create new materials from waste
  • Exploring carbon capture and carbon-negative packaging
  • Creating scalable circular packaging

These are a few of the partnerships we've formed to help us overhaul our packaging and keep the forests intact:

Grove + Canopy

We’re collaborating with Canopy, a leading forest conservation nonprofit, and joined their Pack4Good initiative to meet the deforestation problem head-on through innovations and real-world solutions to reduce waste and transform the supply chain — and the marketplace. Our Responsible Paper, Packaging, and Fiber Policy came from this partnership.

Grove + Forest Stewardship Council

Forest Stewardship Council certification helps keep ecosystems intact through sustainable forest management and habitat protection. By the end of 2022, 100 percent of the paper products we use to package and ship our products will be FSC-certified, including the packaging for Grove Co. cleaning concentrates and our Peach and Superbloom brands.

Grove + Biodegradable Products Institute

All of our new products with packaging will include a How2Recycle label or certification by the Biodegradable Products Institute – a third-party lab that tests and certifies compostable materials.

We’re offloading our offsets to save the trees

The majority of the carbon offsets we purchase are allocated toward forest conservation and regeneration programs in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia:

British Columbia, Canada

Led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Darkwood Forest Carbon Project conserves 156,000 acres of Boreal forest in British Columbia, preventing 415,00 tons of emissions each year by advocating against timber-harvesting, road-building, and other forest-destroying operations.

Acre State, Brazil

Although 90 percent of Brazil’s Acre state is forested, it’s currently predicted to see a decline to 65 percent by 2030. The Acre Amazonian Rainforest Conservation Project grants land tenure to family farmers and provides agricultural training to prevent the deforestation of more than 250,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest while promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Rimba Raya, Indonesia

The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project engages local communities in Indonesia to protect more than 65,000 acres of tropical peat swamp from the harvesting of palm oil. Through education and training in agroforestry, this project impacts 2,500 households and has helped to protect 105,000 endangered Borneo orangutans.

3 things you can do to help

Even as we hunt for meaningful ways to showcase Grove Collaborative as an agent of change and engine of habitat conservation through our actions and our activism, the one thing we can’t control is consumers’ buying behaviors. This includes what they buy, who they buy it from, and what they do once they use it up. So here are a few things you – the consumer of our products – can do to help protect our forests.

1. Switch to bamboo-based paper products

Although growing and processing bamboo has its own negative environmental impacts, bamboo is far more sustainable and eco-friendly than wood. Our Grove Co. products – including tree-free toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues – are made from 100-percent FSC-certified bamboo. If every American swapped out one roll of tree-based toilet paper for a roll of Grove Co. TP, one million trees would be saved.

In addition to bamboo-based tissues and wipes, compostable varieties of disposable plates and cutlery — or those made out of bamboo — are a forest-friendly alternative to bleached paper plates made from trees.

Check out our list of the 7 most eco-friendly paper towels — and paper towel alternatives — based on Grove members’ ratings and reviews. Hint: Grove Co. European Dish Towels come in at first place — and you’ll enjoy reading all about why!

2. Pay attention to packaging

One really good way to reduce paper (and plastic!) waste is to choose products with minimal and/or eco-friendly packaging.

Products packaged in aluminum and glass are a better alternative to those with paper packaging, since both can be recycled infinitely. Packaging made with bamboo-based or post-consumer recycled paper is the next best thing. Either way, diligently recycle all of your used packaging.

Think some of your Grove product packaging can’t be recycled? Think again! We and many of the brands we carry partner with take-back programs like Terracycle and Recyclops to keep plastics out of our landfills — and trees in our forests, where they belong.

3. Put your money and your voice to work for a better future

The collective buying power of consumers is a formidable agent for real and meaningful change. Choose to spend your money on companies that are committed to sustainability through donating to environmental causes, advocating for new legislation, sourcing sustainable ingredients, and reducing post-consumer waste and pollution.

Another superpower is exerting public pressure to precipitate changes in laws and influence attitudes and norms. You may have just one voice, but its contribution to the choir is invaluable. Make those phone calls, write those letters, and take the fight to save the forest straight to the voting booth. We’re right there with you, and together – we just might save the world.

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