FAQ About ExxonMobil’s Plant-a-Tree Pledge

Why do we plant trees?

Here at ExxonMobil, we’re constantly looking for ways to enrich our most vital shareholder: the planet. That’s why, for every barrel of oil purchased by consumers like you, we’ll plant a tree.

Trees are Mother Nature’s little rockstars: they beautify metropolitan Houston, our beloved corporate abode; they create shade to counteract the catastrophic warming we pretended not to know about for decades; and they suck carbon from the atmosphere, which is critical since we’re in the business of adding it back!

How does the tree planting program work?

For every barrel of oil sold, a mid-level sales associate enters a tally mark into a Google spreadsheet. At the end of each week, that spreadsheet is exported and sent to our Sustainability Team, who glance at it before filing it along to our Global Impact Task Force. From there, the sheet is punted to our Climate Initiatives Department, then faxed to our Local Outreach Divisional Head for approval. A passionate Environmental Works Case Manager then assigns the spreadsheet to a dedicated Tree Procurement and Planting Team Member.

Wait, so who is actually planting the trees?

Mostly Boy Scout troops, to earn their ExxonMobil Plant-a-Tree merit badges. The design is an adorable oak tree shaking hands with an equally charming barrel of oil.

Also, interns.

What types of trees are planted?

Scouts’ choice! We give them a company card and total impunity in the Home Depot Garden Center. Those clever lads in neckerchiefs have actually come up with some of our best ideas. Recent warming in the world’s most heavily drilled regions has created exciting opportunities to introduce new species to previously inhospitable locales. Our freshly planted palm trees in northern Alaska, for instance, are flourishing. They appear largely unaffected by the zombie-like underground fires turning the Arctic into a “hellscape,” and frankly bring a certain tropical je ne sais quoi to a region that is otherwise incredibly pointless. Except for drilling.

Who maintains the trees?

We believe the Earth should look after Her own creations. Honestly, what would you have us do once a tree is in the ground? Watering trees in a world that rains is laughably superfluous. Checking to see if seedlings survive to maturity is a gross invasion of privacy that ExxonMobil will simply never perpetrate. Let’s have some perspective: it’s a tree, not a baby. We do not need a social safety net for trees. Or our interns.

When did this program begin again?

Lawsuits about our alleged climate deceits initially inspired us to draw your attention toward our magnificent trees. Now it’s our own lawsuits against climate-activist investors that make us so passionate about showcasing our carbon removal efforts. As we speak, a newly-planted weeping willow outside the CEO’s office is sequestering away!

Does one tree sequester enough carbon to offset the emissions produced by burning one barrel of oil?

This math is impossible to calculate.

How much is ExxonMobil investing in the program?

Since the Boy Scouts and our interns operate largely on goodwill, the Plant-a-Tree Pledge costs us less than our corporate luncheons. But the emotional toll of knowing this program exists is immeasurable. We get so many frivolous and time-consuming emails about this, and honestly, we have bigger fish to fry. (Have you ever seen the ocean on fire, like one giant sauté pan for pelicans? That. That is what we’re chasing.)

How many trees have been planted to date?

Since this program has been implemented, we have planted a quantity of trees. Admittedly, our interns and the Boy Scouts have a hard time planting enough seedlings, given that we produce over 500,000 barrels of oil per day. We tell them all the time: they are falling behind. The badges can be taken away.

If a tree is planted in a forest, but nobody is around to verify that we actually planted it, does it count toward the Plant-a-Tree Pledge?


Be honest, is this program just a tax write-off?

It’s that and so much more. It’s a last-ditch PR effort, and the one thing our executives can look their kids in the eyes and tell them about during dinner.

The truth is we still feel a little bad about the whole Valdez thing.

What is the future of the tree planting program?

Coming soon, ExxonMobil will plant its first mangrove trees along the Florida Keys. We firmly believe in a future where oil spills have robust coastal ecosystems to ruin.

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