Creating a Way for Everyone to Plant Trees: Treeplanet
Now let’s meet some social entrepreneurs from South Korea!
The initial idea behind Treeplanet was to develop a game (Startup plants forests with crowdfunding, mobile game) in which you plant and raise a virtual tree. When it is fully grown, you can choose an actual deforested location—perhaps a part of the Amazon, or the deserts of Mongolia—where a real tree will be planted. Then a local NGO plants a real tree on the site of your choice, takes a picture of the sapling, and sends it to you via social media. You can leave a message for your tree, and your family and friends can like it and share it.
The funding comes from for-profit companies such as Hyundai Motors and Hanhwa Energy, who put their logos on in-game items such as bags of virtual fertilizer or watering cans. The land comes from local governments, because they like the idea of getting lots of trees planted at no cost to them!
In five years Treeplanet helped to plant more than 500,000 trees around the world. One key to the company’s success was its “win-win” model, in which no participant stakeholder had to sacrifice. Now they are diversifying their methods to increase participation and get even more trees planted.
© Hyun Shin, Hanyang University