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Australian cleantech Greener has notched up a win in its quest to deliver a new green economy where every dollar spent is carbon neutral, which its founders say will let businesses and consumers better track and reduce their carbon footprint.
Greener, a certified B Corp, has picked up $4 million in new funding led by NAB Ventures, as it gets ready to roll out a tech solution that it says will drive customers to retailers who commit to green practices, and offset the carbon for purchases consumers make from those retailers via an app. A B Corp company is for-profit organisation that has had its social and environmental performance certified as high standard.
Greener founder Tom Ferrier said there was no reason why every dollar spent by consumers couldn’t be carbon-neutral, with apps and software platforms making it easier for businesses to navigate a path to net-zero.
“In under five minutes, Greener provides businesses with their own personalised road map and guides them to net-zero emissions and waste. But the best bit for the business is that we bring them new customers for their efforts,” Ferrier said.
“As for the app, it gives people greener brands in the palm of their hand for everything they buy, then automatically turns their purchase carbon-neutral.”
Greener plans to partner with companies that have established environmental credentials, and feature their products and services on its platform. Consumers will use the app to link their bank accounts, and find products that suit their needs. If they make a purchase from a participating retailer, that retailer pays Greener to neutralise the carbon from the sale.
If it hits its adoption goals, Greener says it could reduce emissions equivalent to taking 58 million cars off the roads each year, which is three times the number of cars on the roads in Australia, Ferrier said.
“From the raw materials, or from the farm, all the way to your point of purchase; that whole supply chain and the carbon associated with it is covered. In scientific terms they call it scope one, two and three.”
The platform has been joined by more than 250 brands to date, including Microsoft, Afends, Scoop Wholefoods, Brew Dog and Huskee, with the company hoping to have more than 500 brands before it launches for consumers early next year.
Greener has also partnered with the City of Sydney, and the Australian Retailers Association.
The latest funding will enable Greener to iterate on both its business and consumer side platforms with further tests before a broad launch next year, with NAB Ventures managing director Todd Forest saying the platform has clear potential.
“We all have a part to play in climate action and NAB certainly recognises our role,” he said.
“We’re continuously looking at ways we can support our customers and colleagues to take action to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Ferrier said Greener was highly focused on customers who want to feel good about helping the environment, but still wanted convenience. It also plans to offer a rewards system to entice shoppers who may not be environmentally minded at all.
“We look at a number of independent third-party verification methods, look at what businesses are doing across reducing emissions, reducing waste, using better materials or being a more responsible business,” Ferrier said.
“And we then shine a light on those to the consumers through the app, with a simple badge mechanism.”
Not all businesses highlighted by Greener will be the pinnacle of environmentalism, with Ferrier saying the point was to encourage businesses to make progress while offsetting their emissions. But the platform does have a “red line” that disqualifies companies from participating if they engage in certain practices. This includes things like extracting fossil fuels, testing on animals or not paying fair wages.
On emissions, Ferrier said Greener only used high integrity carbon offsets, and had worked with the University of Sydney to come up with the most comprehensive carbon database for the Australian economy.
“But it is really important to note we’re not just an offset engine,” he said.
“We really are focused on helping consumers and businesses reduce their emissions to start with, then when they do need to buy something, buy things that are better for the planet, and then we carbon offset the remaining emissions, if anything.”