With the Philippines being one of the most severely deforested countries in the tropics due to climate change, the private sector and civil society are working together to urgently address this massive threat to humanity.
As part of its mission to encourage more people to become biodiversity champions, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI), through its biodiversity conservation arm One To Tree (OTT), has partnered with Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. (Mynt), the company behind the digital financial services provider GCash, through its mobile application GCash Forest.
With over 33 million users, over 86K partner merchants, and more than 1 million social sellers throughout the country, GCash Forest gives its users the power to reduce their carbon footprint, reforest the Philippines by planting and growing trees virtually, and empower local communities.
To implement this project, Mynt and RAFI-OTT will partner to reforest areas in Carmen, Cebu, with 300,000 fruit-bearing trees and timber within five years. This partnership is set to increase watershed forest cover and contribute to biodiversity enhancement.
It will also support two partner communities in Carmen, namely Nagkahiusang Mag-u-uma sa Communal in Brgy. Caurasan and Libuton Farmer’s Association in Brgy. Liburon. Mynt and RAFI-OTT will collaborate with these partners on mechanisms to enhance sustainability of the tree growing initiative, including community mobilization, production of native tree seedlings, timber and/or agroforestry development or enhancement training, and maintenance and monitoring. This will also create an opportunity for alternative sources of income for the farmers.
“We welcome RAFI as our GREEN partner to achieve our goal in making the Philippines “greener” for our future generations to experience through GCash’s innovative cashless technology. We also commit to creating the so called “lazy enviromentalists” into active and committed “green heroes” caring immensely for the environment strating in the Visayas but nationwide,” said Martha Sazon, President and CEO of GCash.
Amaya Aboitiz, President and CEO of RAFI said, “Both Mynt and RAFI, through its One To Tree program, recognize the importance of finding ways to include and engage more people in the process of restoring our forest cover. This partnership will give those who may not be able to physically go out and plant or care for indigenous trees the opportunity to contribute to this effort – from wherever they may be.”
One To Tree (RAFI-OTT, formerly known as RAFI Biodiversity Conservation Unit (BCU)), has been active in reforestation and conservation for over two decades and has achieved a more than 80% survival rate for tree growing. RAFI-OTT also assists companies in the service delivery of Environmental Compliance Certificate requirements set by the Philippine Government, as well as helping them achieve their carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation goals.