The Philippines is losing up to 47,000 hectares of forest cover annually, based on data from the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). To preserve biodiversity, ensure water availability, and prevent landslides, there is a need to rehabilitate an estimated 1.2 million hectares of forest lands by 2022.
This is why GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the country, is introducing an innovative ‘green’ feature on its popular app. GCash Forest enables subscribers to plant virtual trees (via the app) that will, in turn, have real-life or actual plant counterparts. The goal is to plant at least 365,000 new trees within 365 days (or a year).
“GCash Forest is about making it easier, more convenient, and even rewarding for everyone to take care of our environment for the benefit of future generations,” said Anthony Thomas, CEO of Mynt, the parent company of GCash. “GCash is no longer just providing an excellent platform for accessible financial products and services but also enabling Filipinos to be more active in responding to real-life issues, such as climate change mitigation through reforestation.”
How it works
GCash Forest is now an added feature in the GCash app. To plant trees through it, a GCash user only needs to collect ‘green energy’ through frequent usage of the app. Once a user gets green energy to qualify to plant a tree, he/she will be able to choose the species of trees that would be planted in a selected area within the Ipo watershed—an area near Angat Dam that supplies 98% of water to Metro Manila.
When the trees are physically planted, each user/contributor will receive a certificate of ownership with a serial number, updates, and even fast facts about the growth of their trees, still through the GCash app.
This new feature takes inspiration from Alipay Ant Forest, a product that is operated by Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate and the parent company of Alipay, the world’s leading payments platform. Across the globe, this program has already planted over 100 million real trees through the support of more than 500 million users.
For this initiative, GCash Forest has partnered with the DENR, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and The Biodiversity Financial Initiative (BIOFIN).