Business RadioX | Mike Nilan and Craig Ramsey with TreeZero and Paula Munger with NAA
A version of this interview originally aired on Business RadioX.
Recently, our CEO Mike Nilan and our President Craig Ramsey joined Business Radio X’s High Velocity show to sit down and discuss TreeZero’s origins, its partnership with Wildlife Works and insights the company’s plans for the future.
Below is the recording along with a few excerpts from the interview. You can also find the entire conversation on the show’s website!
Business Radio X: What was it like marketing this product early on? Was the idea embraced? Were you laughed at?
- MIKE: The last paper introduction to the office supply business was in the mid-‘70s, when recycled paper was introduced – that was the last innovation. So, when we came with a 100 percent tree free, carbon neutral paper, they embraced us. Because now they have something new to bring to their customers, and now they have a sustainable paper they can bring to their sustainable customers that can move the needle for them as well.
BRX: Now that you have access to a larger distribution, does that mean you’re done?
- CRAIG: Oh no, we’re just getting started. What the TreeZero team has done so far that has been incredible is one-on-one calls with customers – making them aware and bringing them on board. Now that we have that, we’re also going to introducing new products that have the same core material, and are also carbon neutral.
- MIKE: Really, anything you see in an office that is made from paper – notepads, composition books, calendars, ledgers – they can all be manufactured with our tree free, carbon natural paper. After that we’re going to go into commercial printing, as well as the food industry, where we’ll have the only tree free and carbon neutral plates, cups, trays and napkins. on the market. So we have a lot of new products to follow our copy paper, and most of them have been developed already.
BRX: How do you market your paper to customers?
- CRAIG: What we’ve found is that sustainability is not a program, it’s not a project, it’s not a trend – it’s here to stay. And so buying our paper is one of the easiest decisions a company, university or government agency can make, because it’s a commodity product they know they’re going to be using, it’s great for the environment and its carbon neutral.
- MIKE: And it’s affordable!
BRX: Can you talk a little about your partnership with Wildlife Works?
- MIKE: Manufacturing our paper emits about 42 percent less CO2 emissions versus virgin paper, but there is some carbon output. So to make up for this, we buy our carbon credits through Wildlife Works. And we don’t just buy credits just to buy them. We buy credits that affect the very serious deforestation issues in the Congo and in Kenya, and we also impact the local communities through protecting wild animals, as well as helping the local impoverished communities. So it’s a full circle model, and we do it for the prime purpose of protecting the forest.
- Mike Nilan is Co-Founder and CEO of TreeZero, an Atlanta-based sustainable solutions company that markets, supplies and distributes agro-fiber paper and other environmentally responsible products for Fortune 2000 companies, colleges and universities, government agencies and consumers with a passion for sustainability.TreeZero’s flagship product TreeZero paper is the only premium, 100 percent tree free, carbon neutral paper made from sugarcane waste fiber. It is completely recyclable within existing recycling systems and compostable. According to Ricoh, TreeZero paper delivers excellent print quality when compared to regular recycled paper. TreeZero paper is available at major office supply distributors such as Office Depot/Office Max®, Ricoh Canada, Staples®, Veritiv™, Artlite and W.B. Mason, online at Amazon and in-store at FedEx® Office.Prior to founding TreeZero, Nilan was the CEO of an international sourcing company, The MarketSource, which focused on consumer goods for companies like Pepsi and Tropicana for eight years. Prior to The MarketSource’s success, Nilan served as the Founder, Chairman and CEO of One Coast Network, the largest wholesale gift and home accessory company in North America. To learn more about TreeZero, visit their website, and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
- Craig Ramsey was appointed President of TreeZero in 2016, assuming leadership of the company’s entire value chain. Prior to joining TreeZero, Ramsey spent over 30 years with Accenture where he was a member of the North America leadership team and headed the Atlanta office – one of the largest Accenture offices in the world during the last ten years of his tenure with Accenture. From there, he oversaw business development and client service for the company’s southeastern region and was a leader in market growth, corporate citizenship and community involvement.Craig has a Bachelor of Science (finance and risk management) and MBA from Florida State University. He has lived in Atlanta since 1982 with his wife and their four children. To learn more about TreeZero, visit their website, and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
- Paula Munger is Director of Industry Research and Analysis at the National Apartment Association. In Paula’s role at NAA she has established an active NAA research program, to include leading research efforts on topics of importance to the industry and the association, implementing and managing specific research projects, and providing insight in government and other relevant data impacting apartments.Paula has previous experience at Cushman & Wakefield, The Federal Reserve and is a graduate of New York College at Buffalo. Find out more about NAA on their website, and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also connect with Paula on LinkedIn.