The CM Forest: Critical Mass’ Initiative to Protecting the Environment

The forest will be protected in perpetuity, maintained and visited by Critical Mass employees and their families for years to come.

by India Fizer , AdForum

Critical Mass
Calgary, Canada
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In the Spring of 2020, Critical Mass, a global digital marketing and experience design agency, established the CM Forest, an agency initiative to protect the environment, give back to the community, and live according to their values. The idea for the forest began inside Critical Mass at a grassroots level following the proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

The CM Forest is part of Critical Mass’s commitment to protecting the environment — one of their four key focus areas for making an impact both globally and in the communities where their employees live and work.



Planting a tree is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do to have a positive sustainable impact. As a global company, Critical Mass is aware of the effect that the advertising industry can have on the environment, so they wanted to do something special to reduce their carbon footprint that went beyond symbolism. Now with 11 offices across the globe, and more than 1,000 employees, the agency also wanted to give back to the town that gave them their start in 1996. With that in mind, the idea for the CM Forest was born.



Critical Mass partnered with the Alberta Conservation Association, a company that helps private landowners create sustainable, protected spaces, and wildlife corridors, to find the land for the planting of the forest. With the help of the Difficulty Ranch, local to the Calgary area, Critical Mass found the perfect spot – the land along the creek where the bank had eroded so badly that the top layer had started to cave in.

These trees were planted along the creek bed to help support the conservation of the creek and support the wildlife corridor that resides there, ranging from moose, birds, deer, beavers to even bears! Planting the forest there ensures that the soil stays put, which allows vegetation to grow and the area to naturalize. With the help of the ACA in partnership with Tree Time Services Inc. and the cooperation of Difficulty Ranch, a tree sapling was planted for each employee. It now covers an acre of land outside of the agency’s hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



More than a thousand trees later, The CM forest is a sustainable, protected space that will grow as Critical Mass grows, making it a permanent part of the land. Not only is this forest going to provide a safe haven for wildlife to develop, but it also will help clean the air, and prevent rainwater runoff. This initiative fits with Critical Mass’ values and mission to live those values in a tangible way. Finding ways to protect and help the environment is just one of the ways that Critical Mass is looking to make both a positive impact on the world and the advertising industry. Critical Mass may not have the answer for climate change, but they are undoubtedly trying to be part of the solution. 


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