Buying organic tomatoes may not be a big deal. They taste better and they’re better for both your health and the planet; enough reasons to justify paying a price premium. No wonder organic food is leading the growth of sustainable consumption.
But it isn’t always that easy to make the more sustainable lifestyle choice. You may have found yourself feeling bad for using your car instead of public transportation. While staring at an organic cotton T-shirt, you may have wondered if you should buy it or go for the cheaper standard cotton version a couple racks away. It's often an uncomfortable struggle between collective and private benefits: the planet versus your wallet.
Let's face it: Most sustainable choices don’t give us any extra private benefits — the reason sustainable consumption remains a relatively small market niche. But what if most of our sustainable lifestyle choices were somehow rewarded? If we could easily share our conscious actions with other people, be granted discounts and premium access to better products and services, our dilemmas would start to ease and conscious choices would become more appealing to everyone. Companies that took part could become the changemakers while attracting customers and strengthening their brands.
The greenApes platform makes this possible by allowing people to share eco-friendly actions that would otherwise pass unnoticed. Users earn points for purchasing an eco-branded product, using more efficient appliances, eating local and organic food, etc and for inspiring peers by sharing these actions via the sustainable networking platform. The common currency (called "nuts") allows users to build an online "sustainable profile" so they can share their conscious lifestyle choices with the world.
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The sustainable profile can aggregate actions of both individuals and organizations. For instance, in one month Sharon might share 20 bike rides, purchase 15 eco-branded products and inspire 800 people. On the other hand, your company’s customers and/or employees may accumulate 10,500 nuts through eating vegetarian food, using bio-fueled cars, saving energy at home, etc. These aggregated actions are then displayed on the greenApes website and Facebook app.
Organizations can use the platform to reward their customers or employees in several ways: Your company may reward Sharon’s sustainable lifestyle with a $5 discount for her next purchase or match customers’ collective achievement with a donation to a school or a reforestation project. Customers can become an active player in external CSR projects through social media, granting greater visibility to these activities.
greenApes can also help organizations strengthen their CSR management by rewarding individual conscious actions of employees as well as team achievements. Imagine, for instance, an energy-savings challenge between your London and Boston teams. These points can be combined with the sustainable lifestyle points employees earn at home. This can keep employees actively engaged and sustainability communication can now include their achievements, fostering further engagement and competition.
When companies had to report the environmental impacts of their production facilities, they began to account for their products’ entire life cycles. Now, in times of social media networking, reporting involves the lifestyle of people connected to the organization. Employees, customers and other stakeholders can make the difference in the quality of your next sustainability report. You may even call it "Corporate Sustainable Lifestyles."