Better Place Forests Appoints John Collins, Previously Top Executive at Patagonia, as New CEO

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Better Place Forests, the first company in the United States to offer forests as an alternative to cemeteries for families who choose cremation, today announced the appointment of John Collins as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Collins began his retail career with Patagonia in 1996. For the past eight years, Collins served as Patagonia’s head of global revenue, responsible for domestic and international sales, including the company’s wholesale, retail and e-commerce operations in Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America.

At Better Place Forests, Collins will lead the company’s expansion into new locations across the U.S., providing green end-of-life choices to families nationwide. He takes the helm at a pivotal time in the company’s growth:

  • In 2021, Better Place Forests more than doubled the number of memorial forests available and is now protecting more than 1,000 acres of forestland.
  • The customer base increased year-over-year by 130 percent.
  • Gross sales increased 2.5X year-over-year
  • There are 10 locations across the West, Midwest, and Northeast.

"John offers an incredibly unique perspective," said Jon Callaghan, partner and co-founder of True Ventures. "For 25 years, he helped mission-driven Patagonia grow into the brand that it is today. His expertise will be invaluable to Better Place Forests and to all the families who are trusting the company to provide better choices for end-of-life planning and ways to memorialize their loved ones."

"My time at Patagonia taught me that mission-based businesses can be successful in traditional ways while using their platform to have a positive impact on the planet and people," said Collins. "Better Place Forests is uniquely positioned to do both, from protecting forests for future generations, to being a trusted end-of-life partner to our customers and their families as they write the final chapter of their life story. Our beautiful forest locations, coupled with exceptional customer service, will provide tremendous value to customers looking for ecologically sound memorial options."

With the addition of Collins, Better Place Forests continues to demonstrate its ability to attract investors, a team, and an ecosystem with a focus on impact and sustainability.  "BPF is at important inflection point where the next chapter requires not only the successful sales and marketing experience that has defined John’s career, but also the leadership and mission-orientation that underscore his character and approach," said Ira Ehrenpreis, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, "John’s passionate commitment to both protecting forests and providing an aspirational experience for people at such an important time in their lives makes him uniquely right for this role."

As CEO, Collins succeeds co-founder Sandy Gibson, who will remain on the executive team and assume the role of Chief Innovation Officer.

"We are extremely fortunate to have John’s strategic vision for a business that champions social and environmental progress," said Gibson. "We all want to remember the people we love surrounded by nature and life, knowing that they helped protect a beautiful part of our earth. That’s why I’m excited to devote more time to develop new offerings that continue to give our customers high-quality end-of-life options."

About Better Place Forests

Better Place Forests is the first company in the United States to establish forests as an alternative to cemeteries for those who choose cremation. Founded in 2015, the company has grown from a single location in California to 10 forests nationwide, including properties in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Within these forests, people select a memorial tree as a final resting place for cremated ashes, often for multiple family members. For more information, visit

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Eleanor Hooker

SOURCE Better Place Forests