Atmospheric CO2 levels have risen from 280 to 400 parts per million since the advent of industry. Carbon emissions aren’t the whole problem, though. During the same period, humanity has eliminated almost a third of the world’s forest cover. 

Greenhouse gases + depletion of natural filters = bad news.

The good news is that the world’s entrepreneurs are hard at work solving the problem. Lauren Fletcher is one of them. A NASA engineer of 20 years and now founder and CEO of [BioCarbon Engineering](, Lauren is changing the conversation of conservation by aiming to plant **1 billion new trees a year -- with drones**. Fighting industrial-scale deforestation requires industrial-scale reforestation, and that’s exactly what Lauren aims to do.

While a master’s student at Stanford University, Lauren was at the nexus of environmental science and emerging technologies. It was there that he first understood the rapid pace of deforestation and its role in climate change, but he didn’t see an existing way to rebuild ecosystems quickly and at scale. But then he had a crucial insight:

*I was studying scalable, emerging technologies and recognized that remote sensing and drones could be combined to revolutionize and automate tree planting for global-scale ecosystem restoration.*

The concept is simple: map a region of terrain, generate a seeding plan, and shoot seed pods into the ground from hovering drones. This unique method can plant about 36,000 trees per day, far more than previously possible and often in mountainous regions human planters can’t reach.


Venturing into the new terrain of engineering and environmentalism, BioCarbon sports a multifaceted 6-person team with experience in forestry, international policy, finance, and robotic space exploration. With a truly compelling mission, BioCarbon has been getting attention around the world. They’ve won the Skoll Venture Award and the grand prize at the 2015 Hello Tomorrow competition. They’ve spoken at the United Nationals Solutions Summit and had tens of thousands of articles written about them in over 20 languages. 

There is still much to do, but BioCarbon is working quickly towards their goal of planting 1 billion trees every year. Global reforestation commitments amount to about 300 billion new trees by 2030: we are going to need better solutions. BioCarbon plans to be at the front lines of these efforts by offering end-to-end planting services for the first 4 years and then offering their technology itself to other organizations, whose combined efforts can scale to potentially tens of billions of trees a year. 


BioCarbon’s journey is especially instructive for young entrepreneurs who want to create change on a global scale. When we first got to know Lauren and his team last March, they had a fantastic idea, but needed a detailed strategy to make it come to life. In the past year, they have done just that -- using the OGSM challenge, they mapped out their goals with clear strategies of getting there.  In Lauren’s words:

*"It simply isn’t enough to have a great idea, a great team, and money. You have to have a strategic plan and execution to make a great idea into a great company. The 8D program is exactly what we needed to organize our ideas and experience into a structure and execution plan."*

With a clear plan for moving forward, the BioCarbon is effectively tackling all aspects of scaling their company. They’re engineering innovative technology, developing relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, and defining the cutting-edge of reforestation.

With his experience working in emerging fields, Lauren understands that entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful ways to change the world. He sums it up:

*"Learning how to be an entrepreneur is more important than having a great idea…. A good entrepreneur can make a mediocre idea into a good company. So just imagine what a good entrepreneur can do with a great idea."*

**Learn more about [BioCarbon Engineering here.]( BioCarbon Engineering is a Class of 2016 company.**