By Ram Superable Agustin
Digital money operator GCash has rolled out a new in-app feature called “Forest” that lets subscribers plant virtual trees that have real-life counterparts.
By the end of the targeted 365 days, GCash said it is aiming to have planted 365,000 trees.
DICT secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., who was at the launch event, said the agency as fintech firms such as GCash plays a crucial part in transforming the Philippines into a digitized nation.
“We continue to update our services and programs in order to give the industry a platform to evolve and grow. We hope that in a few years time, fintech will become one of the leading industry in the ICT and financial sectors in the Philippines,” said Rio.
According to him, the concept of green ICT is not yet popular in the country and that the agency believes in the sustainable use of ICT towards national development. Rio said mobile transactions lessen the carbon footprint of users by not having to use transportation.
Anthony Thomas, CEO of Mynt, the operator of GCash, explained that users will be able to plant virtual yakal trees that will have real-life counterparts. The trees will be part of the Ipo Watershed, which is one of the sources of water supply for Metro Manila.
“Millions of Filipinos who will be changing their lifestyles to a more environmental-friendly way will see the real impact of their actions,” said Thomas.
“Cashless lifestyle is the way to a green lifestyle, and with GCash, you can make payments that matter and rebuild Philippine forests one tree at a time,” Thomas shared.
The executive said the results of the Global Peace Index 2019 identifying the Philippines as the most susceptible country to the adverse effects of climate change is a call for greater collective action from Filipinos.
“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,” Thomas imparted.
By using the app, users will have a chance to collect “green energy” which they can use to purchase a tree that they can plant virtually. They will be given a certificate of ownership complete with a serial number, fun facts on their respective tree’s species, and updates on the growth of their trees that are planted in select areas at the Ipo Watershed.
Yan Meng, Ant Financial’s global head of international partnerships, said that new feature shows the ability of digital technology in mobilizing people to support sustainable development against climate change.
“We’re more than happy to open up our technology and expertise to current and potential partners to make the world a better place,” she said.