If you’re interested in impact investing, then it’s likely you’ve explored the many options available to review your shopping purchases, to measure your carbon footprint, and you might have even tried to offset your emissions. Many apps have sought to solve this problem, but few have offered a compelling, and most importantly easy, option.
The Greener app takes a unique approach that learns from the apps of the past, it leverages the huge array of sustainability certifications available today, it engages with both the companies and the consumers, and when it comes to giving an individual a score on their ‘Greener Rating’ it rewards buying less, as well as green.
“We’re not just a simple carbon offset engine, this whole green rating is really impact first, and then the revenue and the business model second. Every time people reduce their consumption and don’t buy things, it’s reflected as actually improving their greener rating.” Says Tom Ferrier, Greener founder.
For consumers, the app can link to a bank account to assess what’s been purchased, and it tallies their carbon footprint; it uses ANZSIC codes that define emissions estimates based on industry averages.
“We encourage people to buy less, then their rating improves. And when they do need to buy something, buy it from a brand that is better for the planet. And then we’ll offset the rest. And that way we can help them get to a Greener rating of 10.”
On the company side, Tom stresses that they’re not a ratings agency. Instead they source data from the many certification agencies that operate globally today. Companies must show that they have at least one certification ‘badge’ from a list of the most credible accreditations; think CDP, 1% For the Planet, Science Based Targets, BCorp and FSC.
They group the qualifications into four categories: Reducing Emissions, Reducing Waste, Better Materials, and Responsible Business.
Then, when individuals purchase goods from these ‘greener’ organisations, the carbon emissions of the purchase is assessed and the company then pays Greener to offset the value of the emissions.
This is really the key nuance to the Greener approach. There are 3 key points here: 1) it means an individual’s carbon footprint isn’t impacted by that particular purchase, it’s offset, 2) the company itself is paying for the offset, the consumer isn’t burdened, 3) Greener is paid a margin by the company for delivering them a new customer, which is how they derive revenue.
“Our pilot demonstrated we were able to bring green businesses up to 21% of customers from a non-green competition. That research was done with the support of Harvard, so it was a science based pilot. And it showed we actually helped our end users reduce the emissions of their purchases by 28%.” Tom says.
So they nudge people towards shopping at ‘greener’ retailers, and they then offset the purchase. And just as there will be plenty of debate about what constitutes a sustainable company, the world of carbon offsets is even more tumultuous.
“You’re right, it’s complicated. We really do spend a lot of time on it. But for us, we only look at high integrity offsets. We’re currently partnering with greenfleet, who have local Australian reforestation projects, and the offsets we look at are Climate Active certified.” Tom says.
The Greener app has moved from pilot stage to beta, people can now sign-up to get access once the final product goes live. And in the mean-time, the team are working hard to finalise the tech, but also to attract investors to fund the next stage of work.
“We did our first round in November. And we were really lucky to close that round within three weeks, hitting 200% of target. We’re currently in beta, having securely integrated with the banks and completed penetration testing. We’re now looking to raise our second round to build out our product roadmap and capitalise on some of the major partnerships that we’ve been bringing in, taking the app to the next level before we do a formal launch early next year.” Tom says. “This second seed round will likely be our last round where we’ll be taking non-insto investment, before a Series A next year. So a great opportunity for people to get in and really fast track our vision of helping end climate change with every dollar spent”.
Greener is another of the impact startups that will be featured at the Impact Connect showcase event on Wednesday 4th August.