Century Pacific Food, Inc. (PSE:CNPF), one of the largest branded food companies in the Philippines, together with Philippines’ leading mobile wallet, GCash, and non-profit impact organization HOPE, launches GForest, an initiative to jointly plant 1 million coconut trees in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani within 24 months.
GForest is an environmental protection feature on the GCash app that allows users to take an active role in helping mother nature through tree planting. GCash users can do so by collecting enough green energy to plant virtual trees. For every virtual tree planted, CNPF, GCash, and HOPE then plant a real coconut tree, which users may select on the app. GForest users earn green energy points by using various cashless services of GCash. This marks the first time that a GForest tree-planting initiative will be implemented in Mindanao, helping thousands of farmers in the region.
With this tree-planting partnership, coconut farmers in Mindanao get the benefit of improved farming productivity and profitability. It will also have a positive effect on female farmers, who comprise 40% of the farmers in the program. The project will cover the areas of Banga, Surallah, Norala, Koronadal, General Santos City, Malungon, Glan, Alabel, Malapatan, Maasim, Kiamba, Maitum, Polomolok, Tampakan, and Tupi.
Noel Tempongko, Vice President and General Manager of CNPF’s coconut division, said, “We are thankful to our partners, GCash and HOPE, for giving us an opportunity to expand our sustainability program holistically – involving consumers and leveraging cashless technology. The program enables us to boost the livelihoods of the coconut farming community in Mindanao and at the same time improve coconut farming productivity and quality of supply, which are all beneficial to our growing coconut business. This also accelerates our journey towards carbon neutrality.”
With the plan to plant 1 million trees within 2 years, the GForest initiative accelerates CNPF’s initial pledge to provide coconut seedlings and pulls in new partners to augment the number of new coconut trees to be planted in Mindanao. In 2020, CNPF signed a partnership with HOPE to provide coconut farmers 100,000 quality seedlings a year for the next five years. This new partnership will benefit more farmer communities and allow Century Pacific’s coconut operations to become carbon neutral sooner.
HOPE has been working to provide agriculture interventions such as replanting, farmer training, intercropping, and increasing market access to smallholder farmers in Mindanao since 2014. To date, they have distributed over 100,000 quality seedlings to over 10,000 smallholder farmers in the region.
“We are grateful for this partnership with GCash and Century Pacific as it expands our reach and intensifies our efforts toward sustainability and environmental protection. Through this initiative, we are able to reach out to millions of GCash users, encouraging them to preserve the environment while helping to support smallholder farmers,” said Nanette Medved-Po, HOPE chairperson and president.
Century Pacific has long been an advocate for sustainable manufacturing practices. In January 2021, the Company marked its second year of being plastic neutral, effectively recovering an equivalent amount of plastic waste away from leaking into nature and ensuring it is processed safely into the circular economy through a partnership with the Plastic Credit Exchange. CNPF also recently completed the commissioning of a 5.2mw solar PV plant that partially serves the energy requirements of its tuna and coconut manufacturing facilities in Mindanao. Through this program, these facilities are now over 60% powered by clean energy sources.
“Caring for our planet and the communities we serve is best done through partnerships. Synergies are created and the impact becomes magnified. We’re happy to have GCash and HOPE along with us on our journey to becoming a more sustainable and responsible company,” said Tempongko.