What if green were the easy option?
Linking consumers to sustainable businesses
There is no lack of ambition with 2019 ClimateLaunchpad participant Greener: they want to ‘repair the planet with every dollar you spend’. Since joining ClimateLaunchpad they were supported by Mirvac Impact Accelerator, ran a successful pilot demonstrating they can bring greener businesses a market share uplift of 5-20%, helped their users reduce their carbon footprints by 28% and achieved 200% of their funding target in under three weeks. They built a solid team, rebranded, and have just launched their beta. Partnerships are in the making with companies like Levi’s, Lush, Estee Lauder, MAC, LEGO, Koala (a mattress brand in Australia and WWF partner) and a big Australian burger company.
Needless to say, we are impressed… We got on Zoom for a chat about their achievements and how they got where they are today.
“We lower the threshold of greener shopping for mainstream consumers.”
Tom Ferrier, co-founder and CEO: “We bring green business and consumers together, then make them even Greener by removing all the emissions of what is purchased. How it works? Greener users link their bank account to our app. We then get visibility in to where they are shopping. When they make a green purchase, we remove all the emissions of what they purchased and reflect this in their Green Rating. The better their rating, the lower their carbon footprint. Then when the user isn’t shopping green, we offer Greener suggestions for next time. It’s gamification, a fun and easy way that motivates people to shop greener.”
“When they make a green purchase, we remove all the emissions of what they purchase… When the user isn’t shopping green, we offer Greener suggestions for next time.”
Keeping it simple
“We target the middle, mainstream consumer who wants the feel-good factor of being green, without the hassle.
Our secret is that we keep things as simple as possible. A lot of people don’t even know what carbon is and that’s okay. We lower the barrier of greener shopping for mainstream consumers. We make green the easy, more convenient option.
Why not the green super hippies? Because we have way more impact with our target audience. That’s where the biggest potential for change is.
Our business is based on the logic that no single person can do everything, but everyone can do something. Or as Zero-Waste chef Anne-Marie said: ‘We don’t need zero-waste done perfectly; we need millions of people that do it imperfectly’.”
Removing emissions without cost for consumer
“We also make it free for the consumer, again, to attract the mainstream. The businesses pay us a small fee for any new business that we bring them, and that fee covers it all. It’s usually a percentage per sale that we use to offset emissions by reforesting Australia.
One of the most powerful things we can do as individuals is to use our dollars to support greener businesses, which will force other businesses to then lift their game. But even products you buy from greener businesses still create some emissions that add to climate change. That’s why Greener automatically calculates and cleans up the rest. We help people cut their footprint.”
Solving climate change by reducing footprints
Tom: “The problem we’re solving is climate change. People don’t know what they can do, find it too hard, or they don’t know who to trust. Greenwashing is a massive problem.”
That’s why Greener works with the Harvard University’s behavioral science team, to give people a source of truth in the palm of their hand. Together they created a model that shines a light on businesses that are:
- Reducing emissions
- Reducing waste
- Using sustainable materials
- A responsible business (e.g. certified B Corporations)
Brands have to be above the determined green line to be recommended in the app. But there is also a red line: if a business is say reducing waste, but conducting natural gas fracking, then they can’t make the list.
How it all got started
“I was at a WWF event a few years ago. I was sitting next to this person who was talking about consumerism being the cause of the climate crisis. ‘This is going to be a loooong night’ I thought to myself. Nevertheless, I heard myself say: ‘Tell me more’. The person continued: ‘Did you know that everything we buy has a hidden price tag on the planet? It’s carbon, the key contributor to climate change. We can stop this though if everyone gets their carbon footprint down from 21 tonnes to 3 tonnes pa’
And while that is a massive gap to bridge, it made me realise not all is lost and we have a target. That conversation is literally where my journey started, and I began researching…
A few weeks later I heard about ClimateLaunchpad Sydney. Six months later I found myself with a co-founder, a team, and winning the competition in Australia! What we did was iterate and learn. One of the biggest learnings: get proper data. Not survey data of people telling you what they would do, but real, in market data from our pilot demonstrating what users actually, do, do.
Our high profile launch is planned for later this year. In the past weeks, we’ve secured 20 brands and we are adding names to that list at a pace faster than we ever imagined possible.”
“One of the most powerful things we can do as individuals is to use our dollars to support greener businesses, which will force other businesses to lift their game.”
“While we’re starting local here in Australia, we have global ambition. That is what it will take to bring the scale required to solve the problem, and to deliver on our purpose to ensure every dollar spent repairs the planet.
Our biggest challenge was finding a business that dared to go first, that wanted to partner before things were proven. But once we were armed with real data showing we could bring green businesses customers from their non-green competitors, thing quickly started to change.
And while a couple of fintechs in the northern hemisphere are doing similar things to what we do, they talk all this complicated science. They target the deep green consumer, the 5%. We simplify it all with a magical experience, that is underpinned with science. Don’t make people think, make them feel.”
World class team
“What I am most proud of? Hands down, that’s building the team that we’ve got. I pinch myself on a daily basis. That our purpose is attracting and unifying such an amazing group of people, it never ceases to amaze me. We have a big ambition and luckily, a world class team to make it happen.”
The benefits of ClimateLaunchpad
“We learned so much during ClimateLaunchpad. Everything I told you is a testament to the program, everything. The program really pushed us, because we wanted to win. Our coach pushed us to make sure we were out there speaking to customers all the time, to find out whether people would use our app. That’s the single biggest form of validation out there.
Our offering has evolved since we started out, but our message has been totally overhauled. We changed it almost weekly and we continue to refine it. Our trainer Hans kept saying: ‘Make it simpler. Then, keep doing that.’
ClimateLaunchpad opened a lot of doors for us. We really got recognition, which helps to get people’s attention. We gained insight on what other start-ups are doing. Plus, we got to travel and meet people.”
Watch Greener’s pitch video here or visit their website if you want to find out more about their business.
“Dream big, but start small. You need a massive vision. Get the customer feedback and data behind it. Find that co-founder that you really align with, who shares your values and your vision. Founder alignment is so important, something I hadn’t given enough consideration to. Oh, and join ClimateLaunchpad!”