There are lots of things to consider when making a purchase decision: the price of the item you’re buying, how well the item will meet your needs, how it compares to alternatives, and how easily you can pick it up or have it delivered. But there’s also a hidden consideration with every purchase – carbon.
Carbon emissions from human activities are driving climate change. While governments and international institutions make large-scale moves to control emissions, individuals play a much larger role than they think, and are the key to creating scalable impact by making more sustainable choices when they shop.
Greener is a new digital solution that has been designed to make sustainable shopping easier. It brings together consumers and brands that care about responsible production and consumption to create a new ‘Green Economy’, helping enable sustainable shopping in a practical, convenient way.
“A lot of people think of sustainability as something that requires a massive lifestyle change,” says Tom Ferrier, founder of Greener. “But when I learned that we could keep global warming under two degrees if we each reduced our carbon footprint to two tonnes per year, something clicked for me. That’s tangible. People can work towards it. Now, how do we make it happen?”
The average Australian generates an annual carbon footprint of 15 tonnes, so there’s still a long way to go. Ferrier believes that if people could not only quantify their impact on climate change, but also be shown easy ways to reduce it by doing what they’re already doing, and have that information in the palm of their hand, it would help them understand the influence they have and inspire them to make better, greener choices.
Building a new Green Economy
There are two sides to Greener’s solution. The first is the business side: helping brands unlock the purchasing power of the sustainable shopper, evaluate where they stand in terms of sustainability, understand the steps they can take to get greener, and get rewarded for their efforts. Switching to a green energy provider is an example of an easy, 15-minute action that can have an incredible impact on a business’s carbon footprint. Greener helps businesses understand not just what to do, but how to do it.
These efforts are showcased in the consumer app, which gives users information on brands that are actively engaging in sustainable practices. The app also links securely to the user’s bank account so they can see the ‘carbon price tag’ of everything they buy, and provides personalised recommendations to reduce the cost to the planet.
On average, every dollar spent contributes 300 grams of CO2 to the atmosphere. But, when consumers shop with Greener-certified brands, the emissions linked to their purchases are offset to make them carbon neutral at no extra cost to the customer.
If every dollar spent in Australia was carbon neutral, the resulting reduction in emissions would be equivalent to taking 58 million cars off the road every year, according to Greener’s founder. While that may seem like a lofty target, Ferrier says the key is just to start.
“One of our core principles is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he explains.