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Matcha with Godefroy, Treeapp

We met with Godefroy Harito, co-founder of Treeapp, to talk about tree planting through tech, the role reforestation can play in restoring both environment and economy and all things sustainability and business.

By Chiara Maurino

 

What inspired you to launch tree app?

I'm half French, half Greek and I grew up in Athens. Greece is a very hot country with a lot of strong winds, so we experience many wildfires every year. Usually, it’s not really a problem because this is part of the natural process, but over the last 10-15 years there’s been an unusually high amount of summer wildfires because, of course, of climate change. In fact, in 2018 there was a huge wildfire exactly where I live, right in front of my house. People I knew lost their loved ones and families were destroyed because of it. The anger and sadness of this tragedy moved something in me. I knew from this moment onwards that although business was something that interested me, it was mostly the impact sector that I wanted to work in. So, I teamed up with two friends from university and together we created Treeapp: the app that allows anyone to plant a tree for free every day in less than a minute.

We decided to work in developing countries because this is where we can have the most impact, not only by restoring flora and fauna to deforested areas, but also by employing the local workforce and therefore boosting their economy.

Treeapp gives you the power to plant trees from your smartphone across the entire world, but how does this actually work?

 Users go on to the app and choose where in the world to plant their trees. We have projects ranging from South America to Asia and users are supplied with videos, images and information about the local area to help them choose. Once you've chosen your location, you click on “plant here” and this is when you'll see the brand advertisement from our sponsors. Once the ad ends, we receive funding from the company for the tree you’ve decided to plant. This funding is then passed on to the NGOs and forestry experts we work with, the people that plant and nurse the trees, and a portion is allocated to us for the administrative work. Our job doesn’t end here though… We’re committed to making sure that our trees grow beyond the planting stage, so we care and follow expert advice to keep tracking their progress.

How do you choose your sponsors?

 We look for partnerships that provide our users with alternatives to mainstream products. We want Treeapp to become a platform where you can find sustainable alternatives to classic brands that don't really care about their corporate-social responsibilities. Our consumers know that they are being advertised to and what we’ve found so far is that they actually enjoy the process of going through an advertisement when they know that the business wants your opinion, not your data. We are very strict with data and never share anything with third parties. It makes things much harder for us, but it’s the right thing to do.

5 everyday tips for living a more sustainable life?

  • Travel by bike as much as possible
  • Don’t buy fruits or vegetables packaged in plastic
  • Go for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, so for example instead of buying plastic water bottles just have one reusable bottle.
  • Pressure the companies that you love to be more sustainable.
  • Don’t be afraid of voicing your concerns on social media, these days brands are really on the lookout for consumer demand.

Follow their journey @treeapp_uk

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