It was an idea that came about in early 2019 and launched on Earth Day (15 April) 2020. Three LBS Masters in Management (MiM) classmates wanted to make sustainable thinking a reality and enable people from all walks of life to participate in regreening our planet. What they came up with was a new app designed to allow anyone to plant a tree for free every day, in less than a minute.
Treeapp is a platform that enables marketing to directly fund reforestation projects around the world. The trees are funded by eco-conscious organisations who advertise their products and services on the platform. The planting is performed by global NGO partners, who make sure every tree they plant benefits endemic species and local communities.
It was an appealing proposition. Treeapp gained more than 1,000 downloads in the first two weeks and already has more than 10,000 users. It was listed as one of the top 6 hottest apps on the UK app store in May and reached No.2 in June.
More than 20 brand partners have signed up to use Treeapp to promote their brands and products while funding the planting of trees. And – importantly – more than 30,000 trees have been planted since the launch in April.
“We all want this platform to be a place for anyone to have an environmental, social and economic impact in the areas that need it most,” says Jules Buker, Treeapp’s co-founder and commercial director.
“Users appreciate that the app is free to use and they can calculate, track and offset their carbon footprint. Businesses working with Treeapp can simultaneously offset their carbon footprint while promoting their brand to a target audience. They can showcase their products and services as well as design surveys to get insights – all by planting trees. And our NGO partners including Eden Reforestation Projects and One Tree Planted, get to plant more trees around the world.”
The journey so far: LBS support
The three co-founders, Jules Buker, Godefroy Harito and Leo Ng, met when they were in the same MiM class at LBS. Says Godefroy Harito, co-founder and product director, “LBS has always been very important to Treeapp. The school’s resources have been extremely valuable: easy access to faculty and staff enabled us to get great advice very early on. The amazing facilities enabled us to work in one of the greatest spaces in London, to organise meetings and exchange ideas. And the LBS community helped spread the word and promote the app across different networks.
“We are grateful to count Professor Ioannis Ioannou as one of Treeapp’s advisors. His expertise on sustainable impact as well as his connections have been a great example of what the LBS community can achieve. We also worked closely with Professor Keith Willey, who spent time with us very early on to refine our proposition. We are fortunate enough to have him advise us to this day.”
A small team with big ambitions
With a small team of 15 people, Treeapp has already achieved big things. And it has even bigger ambitions: it wants to plant 1 million trees every single day by 2022.
Treeapp’s goal is to become the go-to platform that connects individuals and businesses to create an environmental and social impact. The team is constantly looking to improve the app and introduce new features for users to interact with each other, learn more about business and planting partners and plant in more countries.
The team is also looking to expand internationally over the next 12 months, to make global tree planting truly available for all. The ultimate goal? “To improve the world we live in, and the one we leave for future generations,” says Godefroy.