Miyerkules, Hunyo 26, 2019

GCash Forest eyes 365 thousand trees planted in 365 days

“GCash Forest is about making it easier, more convenient, and even rewarding for everyone to take care of our environment for the benefit of the future generation. 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. Many Filipinos, especially the younger ones, care about the environment but a lot of them don’t know how they can  actively take part in environmental protection. This is a barrier that GCash Forest addresses because they only  need to use their smartphones—an already integral part of their daily lives—to make a difference. ~Anthony Thomas, Mynt CEO


The Philippines' leading mobile wallet GCash is now making it possible for its users to plant trees by simply using a mobile app for transactions. Filipinos who want to contribute to environmental preservation can now conveniently use an innovative mobile phone app to help plant trees and increase the Philippines’ forest cover. It happened last June 25, 2019, at The Eye at the Green Sun with their partners DENR, WWF, and Biofin as GCash unveils this ambitious and innovative plan to plant 365,000 trees in 365 days. GCash considers GCash Forest as the last mile initiative that fully recognizes the emergence of an all-digital Filipino lifestyle.


To implement its tree-planting initiatives, GCash Forest partnered with the:
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)
The DENR will provide land resources in Ipo Watershed, an essential component of the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watersheds system supplying 98 percent of Metro Manila’s water. WWF will be providing trees and manpower while BIOFIN will provide expertise on monitoring. Recent findings on the Philippines’ vulnerability to climate-related hazards call for greater collective action. Results of the Global Peace Index 2019 identified the Philippines as the most susceptible country to the adverse effects of climate change. By leveraging the GCash platform and scale, GCash Forest aims to rally a coalition of individuals, non-government organizations, and international organizations to meet its 2020 targets. 


Leading mobile wallet, GCash, is introducing an exciting “green” feature on the app called GCash Forest, which lets subscribers plant virtual trees that will have real-life counterparts. By the end of 365 days, GCash Forest aims to plant 365 thousand trees with the help of GCash subscribers.



According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau (FMB), the Philippines is losing 47,000 hectares of forest cover every year. The FMB also reported the need to rehabilitate 1.2 million hectares of forest lands by 2022 to prevent landslides, ensure water availability, and preserve biodiversity.

To plant trees through GCash Forest, GCash users need to collect “green energy” by frequently using the app. Users who get enough green energy can choose which species of trees they want to plant in a selected area at the Ipo watershed. Once the trees are physically planted, users get to receive a certificate of ownership with a serial number, fun facts, and updates on the growth of their trees on their GCash apps.


The new feature is inspired by Alipay Ant Forest, a product operates by Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate and the parent company of the world’s leading payments and lifestyle platform, Alipay. Via the mobile platform, more than 500 million users have planted 100 million real trees and advanced a shared vision of sustainable and inclusive development. 

“The GCash Forest shows digital technology holds a huge power to mobilize people in support of sustainable development and the fight against climate change. And this power goes beyond border and is at our fingertips through our mobile devices. We’re more than happy to open up our technology and expertise to current and potential partners to make the world a better place.” ~Yan Meng, Ant Financial’s Global Head of International Partnerships


FAST FACTS

Philippine Biodiversity
  • The Philippines is one of the 17 mega biodiverse countries. It is among the countries that contain two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity and 70 percent of world’s plants and animal species due to its geographical isolation, diverse habitats and high rates of endemism. 
  • Thirty percent of the population, including 12 to 15 million indigenous people, resides in the uplands where most of the forests are located.
  • Haribon Foundation forester Thaddeus Martinez said the country needs 54 percent of forest cover to protect against landslides and ensure water availability from watersheds, but currently we are at around 22% forest Cover
  • Around 1.2 million hectares of denuded and degraded forest lands of the country need to be rehabilitated by 2022
  • The Philippines is one of the world’s hotspots with a large number of endangered and threatened species–making it a top global conservation priority area.
  • The country hosts more than 52,177 described species of which more than half is found nowhere else in the world. On a per unit area basis, the Philippines probably harbors more diversity of life than any other country on the planet. 
  • According to 2011 FAO data, the forestry sector contributed US $ 528.7 million to the economy, which is approximately 0.2 percent of the GDP.
  • At least 49 thousand people are directly employed by the forestry sector.
  • The Philippines is losing approximately 47,000 hectares of forest cover every year
  • There are 237 terrestrial fauna (animals) are threatened with extinction and - 984 threatened Philippine plants
  • The Philippines still ranks among the top ten countries with the largest number of species threatened with extinction (CI, 2013)


Ipo Watershed
  • Ipo watershed is a vital link in the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watersheds system which supplies around 98% of the water needs of Metro Manila.
  • Primarily consisting of public forestlands, forest cover in the area has dramatically dropped from 85% to just 40% in recent years.
  • The main thrust of the project is to go beyond the usual tree planting activities and expand it to forests management to help ensure that the planted trees will actually grow to provide their full benefits to the environment and the different stakeholders. This will include rehabilitation and enhancement of existing forests and not just the reforestation of denuded areas. A long-term sustainability plan will be put in place, managed by an effective management body.
  • Philippine watersheds and aquifers could supple 479 billion cubic meters of water annually for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses.


Philippine Forests
  • Philippines lose 47k hectares of trees annually.
  • Haribon Foundation forester Thaddeus Martinez said the country needs 54 percent of forest cover to protect against landslides and ensure water availability from watersheds. Forest Coverage is currently at around 22%.
  • Around 1.2 million hectares of denuded and degraded forest lands of the country need to be rehabilitated by 2022.
  • Total Forest Cover has decreased from 7,168,400 (2003) to 6,839,717 (2010)


GCash considers GCash Forest as the last mile initiative that fully recognizes the emergence of an all-digital Filipino lifestyle. 


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