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There’s a new tech-for-good app in town. Called Mindtree, this Oslo-based startup has created a meditation app that aligns our own health with the planet’s. For every time a user meditates with Mindtree, the company redirects the majority of the profits to forest restoration projects operated by its partner charity Trees for the Future.
It seems like there’s a new meditation app out every single week these days, as developers look to cater to the fast-growing numbers of people picking up the habit to relieve stress, anxiety and improve health in what has been a difficult year, to say the least. But one new meditation app is doing things differently. Launched in January, it’s the world’s first app of its kind to plant an actual tree for every time you use it and meditate.
Created by Norwegian Steffen Westlund, Mindtree partners with nonprofit Trees for The Future – known simply as TREES – and gives away most of its profits to the organisation’s forest restoration projects in Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. Not only does it help improve the environment, these projects also provide a sustainable livelihood for local communities in these regions too.
I realised that mindfulness could be used, not only to reduce individual stress, but also to reduce the stress we put on the planet.Steffen Westlund, Founder, Mindtree
The idea started just prior to the pandemic, when Westlund was travelling through Indonesia and witnessed the destruction that deforestation was leaving behind.
“Seeing so much forest destroyed brought me face to face with the consequences of deforestation and how it affects everything from wildlife to global warming,” said Westlund. “But it also gave me an idea. Like millions of other people around the world, I was practicing meditation regularly. That’s when I realised that mindfulness could be used, not only to reduce individual stress, but also to reduce the stress we put on the planet.”
After returning to his home in Oslo, Westlund spent most of the year as the pandemic ravaged across the world to build Mindtree, which has already managed to garner users from more than 20 countries since it landed on iOS and Android app stores just weeks ago.
What Mindtree focuses on is quite unique within the start-up world: turning profit into trees and measuring success in social and environmental impact, not only financial value.Steffen Westlund, Founder, Mindtree
Among some of the guided meditations available on the app include targeting stress, anxiety, sleep, focus and gratitude, and users are able to sign up for a US$9.90 monthly subscription to access its full collection. The bulk of the profits from each subscription goes towards planting 30 trees every month – one per day you use the app to meditate.
“What Mindtree focuses on is quite unique within the start-up world: turning profit into trees and measuring success in social and environmental impact, not only financial value,” explains Westlund.
“There are many traditional businesses that donate to charity on a regular basis. But to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time, more companies need to make environmental sustainability a core component of their business model.”
Westlund believes that this is what consumers are now looking for – and market data backs this up, with statistics showing that people are now demanding brands to “take a stand” on issues important to them and are putting their money in sustainability-focused products and services more than ever before.
“What people like about Mindtree is that it helps you reduce stress and find that inner calm, while also empowering you to make a difference and become carbon neutral, simply by meditating.”
All images courtesy of Mindtree.