Tree Planet is a social enterprise that plants trees. It provides tree planting games on smart phones and the web. In the game Tree Planet 2, users nurture a virtual baby tree of their own. They experience the process of growing a tree by watering and feeding the baby tree. When the baby tree is fully grown, it is sent to be planted in real life. Tree Planet reflects the game and builds a real forest.
Founded in 2010, Kim Hyung-soo, the chief executive officer, brought up the idea of the Tree Planet during his military service. When he came back to college, he set up the company with his military comrade.
“I wanted to find a way to make people actively dedicate to saving the environment,” Kim said. “People began to be interested in environmental issues through video campaigns, but it was mere interest. Through Tree Planet, however, people can change the world themselves by playing mobile games.”
Tree Planet conducts eco-friendly marketing in which millions of game users communicate. Every time the logos of sponsoring companies are exposed during the process of planting a tree, Tree Planet receives advertising expenses. Tree Planet pays a certain amount of money to non-governmental organizations that afforest in adequate areas. The company gained fame as major companies such as Hanhwa and DoubleA began making use of Tree Planet games in order to promote social responsibility.
Since establishment, Tree Planet has planted 46 million trees in seven countries around the globe. Approximately 69 million people have contributed by playing Tree Planet games.
For the past two years, Tree Planet initiated several afforesting projects with celebrities. Fandoms of celebrities raise money to build a forest in a form of crowd-funding and deliver it to Tree Planet. A total of 13 forests was created this way. For example, Tree Planet planted 1,300 mango trees for the “2NE1 forest”: in Tonj, South Sudan in 2012. This forest not only contributed to the protection of environment but also provided fruit to the local people and saved them from the difficulty of obtaining food.
Locating and securing adequate land for afforestation is at the top of Tree Planet’s agenda. Due to the increasing interest in building forests through the Tree Planet games and celebrity forests, they aim to construct over a hundred forests in 20 countries around the globe. Yet, the process of finding the perfect site for forests is complicated and difficult.
“In the beginning, our company had a hard time finding sponsors to build forests,” Kim said. “Since many companies and individuals contact us to build forests nowadays, finding the right land and trees is a new task we confront.”
This May, Tree Planet released a new game series called Tree Planet 3. Unlike the former version, Tree Planet 2, the contents of the game became more intricate. The user must fight against environmental catastrophes such as desertification and yellow dust in order to rescue a baby tree. The company intensified the game element in the Tree Planet 3 to let users enjoy a more dynamic game while saving the environment.
“I thought that we should include more interesting contents in the games in order to draw continuous attention from game users,” Kim said.
Other than already built forests over the world, Tree Planet is discussing buildling more forests in Cambodia, Guatemala and other lands across the sea. Tree Planet plans to consistently build forests in places where trees are desperately in need. As for the games, the company plans on publishing it globally and keeps on developing the contents and characters in the game.
“Every year, the sales are doubling that of the year before,” Kim said. “Tree Planet will not stop here. We are going to try harder to find more fun and practical ways to let many more people to participate in saving the environment.”