700,000 Filipinos using GCash Forest to help save watershed

More than 700,000 GCash users have joined the movement to plant trees through GCash Forest, an important carbon tracking feature of GCash, to help save the watershed that supplies water to Metro Manila. 

Ney Villaseñor, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Mynt, which runs the country’s leading mobile wallet, said 756,370 people have signed up to collect green energy through GCash Forest as of August 19. That translates to almost 400,000 people using the new feature every month since its launch on June 25. 

GCash Forest is a personal carbon account that tracks how much emission people have avoided by living more consciously. “Green” activities—such as walking, bringing eco-bags and own utensils, going cashless, reducing paper use—earn users energy points. When they have enough points, they get to plant a virtual tree in GCash Forest, which GCash will match with a real, native tree planted at the Ipo watershed. 

“GCash Forest is the easiest way to help the environment; you don’t even have to go out of the city or to make time outside of work/school to plant a tree. You simply need to make daily choices that will lessen your carbon footprint, such as going cashless when you send money, buy load or pay bills, or walking instead of taking your car. GCash will turn these actions into reforestation efforts,” Villaseñor said. 

GCash, in partnership with WWF Philippines, has adopted 300 hectares for rehabilitation and reforestation inside the Ipo watershed. WWF will monitor and report the growth of trees sponsored by GCash for three years, which is usually how long it takes to see any changes in a reforestation or rehabilitation site. 

The 7,236-ha Ipo 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. It has been declared a protected area by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources but forest cover in the watershed is now only at 40%, a drastic drop from 85% several years ago.

“Planting a tree not only helps with carbon reduction but also results in water security and biodiversity conservation. Every decision we make has an impact, whether positive or negative. In helping GCash users to adopt a more environment-conscious lifestyle, we are raising a generation of green heroes,” Villaseñor said.  

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