Planting trees for free via Treeapp

For a little more than a year, Godefroy Harito, Jules Buker, and Leo King Leong, the founders of Treeapp, have been working together to connect people who want to support tree planting with projects led by NGOs working on tree and forest restoration projects all over the world via a mobile application. Godefroy is responsible for product development, Jules for sales and partnerships, and Leo for engineering.

The app was created because the founders realized that there weren’t enough opportunities for everyday people to have a positive impact and to help efforts to mitigate climate change even though more and more people are now aware of the destruction humans cause in nature and the impact it will have on our own lives.

The application offers a solution to all. People and businesses may use the app to plant trees regularly to offset their carbon footprint. The users of the app are able to plant trees for free everyday, sponsored by business partners. Users just need to watch certain advertisements for a minute to be able to plant trees. As it stands on their website, the idea behind Treeapp is simple: “Our main goal is to bring the joy of planting trees to you, contribute to the environment and provide the ability to offset our users’ carbon footprint. At the same time, young green businesses are looking for a solution to grow their brand and showcase their products to a sustainably minded audience. Bringing these two stakeholders together allowed us to start this incredible journey. Our users are able to plant trees for free everyday, sponsored by our business partners. We cannot wait to reach our goal of planting 1 million trees per day.”

I interviewed one of the founders, Godefroy Harito regarding reforestation and the application they launched last year.

Who came up with the idea of Treeapp? What was the motivation behind starting such an application?

Almost everyone is aware of climate change, though a majority of individuals don’t know what they can do to fight it. Treeapp started in 2019 after a devastating summer of wildfires We discussed how taking climate action is out of reach for most…we identified three problems: people don’t have the time, money or know how to take action. So we came up with Treeapp – a free, mobile and easy way to have an environmental, social and economic impact directly from your phone.

Courtesy of Treeapp

What are the main functions of the application you are offering?

Treeapp is a mobile app which enables anyone to plant a tree for free, everyday, in less than a minute. Regardless of income, age, gender, race or other differences, Treeapp offers the possibility to users in the UK and Ireland to plant trees all over the world, empowering all to make a change that benefits the planet on a daily basis. The way this works is users choose a location across the world where they want to plant a tree, watch a 1 minute ad from one of our sustainable brand partners and in exchange this brand will fund the planting of a tree for the user. We use these funds to plant these trees in the dedicated location the following planting season, mostly coinciding with the country’s rainy season.

What do you think the right approach is regarding deforestation as well as its consequence, changing ecosystems? How important do you think reforestation projects are and are there any reforestation projects you are specifically keeping an eye on? How does Treeapp help people plant trees?

Deforestation is happening at an alarming rate and is also a leading cause of climate change. Approximately 69 football fields of forest are cut down every minute around the world. In 2019, this amounted to around 260,000 sq. km of forests torn down. That’s roughly the size of the United Kingdom! This is why we’re planting trees around the world by working with local teams. To date, we have officially partnered with 7 tree-planting partners across 12 countries to support the planting and monitoring of trees in Africa, Asia and South America. Our reforestation projects in Indonesia rehabilitate the flora and fauna of Biak island, one of the leading biodiversity hotspots in the world, on the other side of the world our reforestation projects in Haiti specifically focus on agroforestry to sustainably feed the Haitian population, so users not only get to make an environmental impact by planting their tree, but environmental and social at the same time. Planting trees helps to restore woodlands, provide employment opportunities to local communities and provide habitat and shelter for native species. All our sites are overseen by experts in tropical forestry who help with our due diligence process as well as the monitoring of each site.

How would you describe the achievements of the app and how do you feel about them?

Since our launch, with our tens of thousands of users, we’ve planted over 500,000 trees. These are spread across 12 countries across 3 continents, making our impact truly global. We were also ranked App of the Day on the App Store and Top 10 Apps on the Play Store as well as being featured in the Hottest Apps and Sustainability Apps We Love categories. In addition, Treeapp users enjoy discovering their new tree sponsor every day: these sustainable brands offer greener alternatives to conventional products. So far we have worked with over 150 brands including the likes of L’Occitane en Provence, TooGoodToGo or HelloFresh.

Courtesy of Treeapp

Are you trying to expand the app’s use or purpose or perhaps the tree planting projects in the near future? Are you planning any new technological solutions or additions to the current app?

Our next milestone is the launch of a major feature on the app, enabling users to buy from their favourite sustainable brands directly on Treeapp.

“We’ve got big ambitions. We want to plant millions of trees a day. Of course, we have no illusions about what we are up against – urgent and significant change is needed to solve the problem of deforestation and we know this can’t be done alone.

Obviously, there is much more each of us can do to have an impact on our environment. In the end, it’s up to individuals to lead this change, and daring to take the first step is the biggest challenge.”

Andrea Nyilas is a Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainability Consultant and a Sustainability and Environmental journalist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University, in addition to a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the Corvinus University of Budapest. She is particularly interested in circular economy, natural resource management, and waste reduction.