To make planting trees more fun, the country’s leading mobile wallet app has added social features to GCash Forest, a personal carbon tracker in the GCash app that contributes to the reforestation and rehabilitation of the Ipo watershed through green energy points earned.
Ney Villaseñor, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Mynt, the company behind GCash, said GCash Forest users—now numbering more than 860,000—can invite their friends to join the GCash Forest green movement by sending them a link with their favorite social media app, such as Facebook or Telegram.
They can also allow GCash to access their contacts list so the mobile app can send an invite to their friends to interact through GCash Forest.
When their friends accept the request, they will all see a leaderboard that ranks them according to the green energy points they have earned. Friends can collect available credits from each other every day so they can make their virtual trees grow bigger faster, and have an actual tree planted at the Ipo watershed for them.
“Adding friends into GCash Forest allows you to grow your forest with a community, and maybe have some friendly competition too,” Villaseñor said. “We recognize that adopting a green lifestyle is easier to do as a community, so we turned GCash Forest into something that friends and family members can share.”
GCash Forest tracks how much emission people have avoided by living more sustainably and going green in their little ways. This could be as simple as walking or reducing paper use by going cashless. These activities earn GCash users green energy points, which help their virtual tree in GCash Forest grow. With every fully grown virtual tree, GCash Forest will plant a real tree at the Ipo Watershed.
The 7,236-ha watershed, which spans the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal, is part of the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watershed system that supplies 98% of Metro Manila’s water. GCash adopted 300 hectares for rehabilitation and reforestation in the Norzagaray, Bulacan part of the Ipo watershed; its partner, WWF Philippines, will monitor and report the growth of trees sponsored by GCash for the next three years.
“GCash Forest is the most fun way to contribute to national efforts to save our forests, and it is something that you can share with people close to you,” Villaseñor said. “The more friends you have in GCash Forest, the more green energy points you can collect, which will hasten the growth of your virtual tree.”
The goal of GCash Forest is to plant 365,000 trees in 365 days. Forest cover in the Ipo watershed is now only at 40%, which is alarming considering the watershed has been declared a protected area by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.