An investment that fights
climate change, reduces your
carbon footprint, cleans the air,
helps farmers build revenue,
and produces sustainable timber
all at the same time.

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Visit a World Tree farm without leaving your couch! Grab your phone, Oculus, or other VR device to witness the magic of the Paulownia tree up close with our 360° video.

About World Tree

World Tree USA, LLC (“World Tree”) is an agroforestry company focused on promoting the environmental and economic benefits of the  Empress Splendor (Paulownia) tree.

Founded in 2015 by Wendy Burton, the World Tree group includes foresters, agronomists and scientists with extensive experience with agroforestry and, more specifically, the Empress Splendor (Paulownia) tree.

World Tree is the largest grower of Empress Splendor (Paulownia) trees in North America, with 2000 acres under management across the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico. The management team has over 30 years of experience working with the Empress Splendor (Paulownia) tree and grows 18 exclusive tree varieties.


Alignment of Interests and Impact:

World Tree’s Eco-Tree Program is a way to fight climate change, protect our forests and bring resilience back to the land. It provides an investment opportunity that also gives back and has a direct environmental impact. Over the course of a year, one acre of trees provide significant carbon sequestration.

The Eco-Tree Program addresses many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life on Land, and Partnership for the Goals.

Steve Distante

Vanderbilt Financial Group Founder and Chair

Steve Distante is the Chairman and Founder of Vanderbilt Financial Group, a disruptor in finance focused on socially and environmentally responsible, ethical, and impactful investments. A leader of leaders, Steve shares his unique message of entrepreneurship with purpose as an engaging keynote speaker, a filmmaker, an ambassador to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and through the online educational platform he pioneered, Impact U.

Wendy Burton

World Tree Founder and Chair

Wendy Burton has over 24 years of experience with the Empress Splendor (Paulownia) tree. She has been the motivating force behind World Tree’s mission to regnerate our forests, drawdown carbon, all while producing a robust return to investors. The protection of our old growth forests through the planting of Empress Splendor (Paulownia) trees has been a singular passion since she founded World Tree.

Doug Willmore

World Tree Chief Executive Officer

Doug Willmore has been highly successful in a broad, diverse range of executive roles. He has been the CEO of a fast growing highly successful reference pathology laboratory before its prosperous sale. He has been a widely sought after consultant to Fortune 50 companies seeking culture change. He has completed a successful career in the public sector as a City Manager and Chief Executive Officer. He has managed budgets as large as $800M and turned around bankrupt cities. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Dr. Cathy Key

World Tree President and Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Key has presented World Tree to Canadian and US audiences on the stage of conferences that in include the Social Finance Forum and Sustainatopia, as well as investment groups in cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Atlanta. With a PhD in Anthropology, specializing in the economics of cooperation, Dr. Key brings a diverse skill-set to the organization. She has over 17 years’ experience in business development, marketing and sales and has worked with organizations that include Telus, McGill University, Johnson and Johnson, University of Illinois and the University of British Columbia.

Farmers Almanac

“Possibly the world’s most amazing tree.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

“We already have the world’s most efficient carbon capture technology.”

Devin Thorpe

“This tree packs a punch for investors in the fight to reverse climate change.”

Risks and Risk Management:

• Agricultural risks include crop failure. World Tree plants trees across dozens of farms many thousands of miles apart. World Tree has replacement tree reserves available.

• The Farmers contracted by World Tree must properly care for the Empress Splendor (Paulownia) trees from their planting as startlings through their growth cycle to maturity. Farmers must properly water, prune and care for the trees. Failure to do so could result in some or all a Farmer’s Empress Splendor (Paulownia) trees either dying or failing to mature to expected height and diameter, thereby reducing the amount of Empress Splendor (Paulownia) lumber that may be harvested from a Farmer’s trees. World Tree works closely with farmers in the US and globally in educating and training.

• Investment risks include no regulatory review, highly speculative, limited voting rights, limit on amount available to repay unit holders, no tax advice, lack of marketability and liquidity of units.

• Issuer risks include reliance on ability and judgment of Company management, net worth and going concern of the Company, deployment of Empress Splendor (Paulownia) tree startlings, and farmer risk as indicated above.

• Industry risks include natural disturbances, world events, lack of an established market for Empress Splendor (Paulownia) timber in North America, and factors out of the Company’s control.


About Vanderbilt:

Vanderbilt Financial Group is an investment firm disrupting traditional finance by focusing on socially and environmentally responsible, ethical, and impactful investments. Vanderbilt is known as “The Sustainable Wealth Management Firm” for our commitment to providing financial advisors and their clients greater access to values-aligned investments. Headquartered in a LEED-certified Platinum building, our commitment to changing the world begins at home in our office and within our culture. For more information on Vanderbilt Financial Group and our advisors, please visit:

Vanderbilt Financial Group is the marketing name for Vanderbilt Securities, LLC and its affiliates.
Securities offered through Vanderbilt Securities, LLC. Member FINRA, SIPC. Registered with MSRB. Clearing agent: Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions
Advisory Services offered through Vanderbilt Advisory Services & Consolidated Portfolio Review. Clearing agents: Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions, Charles Schwab & TD Ameritrade
Insurance Services offered through Vanderbilt Insurance and other agencies
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VFG and its affiliates support and promote Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (“ESG”), Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”), and Impact Investing, but the Firm and its affiliates do not require or mandate that its financial professionals engage solely in related activities. Clients of the Firm and its affiliates are not required to adopt or invest in any specific security, strategy, or portfolio.

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