Startup Daily talks Greener for Business

Australian Retailers Association is partnering with green tech startup Greener to help retail and hospitality small businesses move towards net zero emissions.

9 minutes

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Startup Daily

The noise is real. The overwhelming majority of Australians care about climate change. We all want to make better choices for the planet, and we want businesses to help make it easy.

The good news, and what most people don’t know, is that we can actually help end climate change.

This is exactly what our co-founder, Tom Ferrier, spoke to our friends at Startup Daily about recently.

Startup Daily

Read the transcript

[Simon – Startup Daily]
Australian Retailers Association is partnering with green tech startup Greener to help retail and hospitality small businesses move towards net zero emissions. It will see them co-design a new digital solution called Greener Business to help small businesses and their owners understand and prioritise the steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

Tom Ferrier from Greener is here to share more details. Tom, great to have you in. This is a cool deal. When we talk partnerships, it doesn’t get much bigger than sort of the Retailers Association. Tell us about how it came about.

[Tom – Greener]
Look, Simon, we are just so excited about this partnership, purely because we know that with this scale that the, uh, Australian Retailers Association can help bring us, we will be able to achieve our vision of helping bring together a world first green economy.

Starting here in Australia and then going abroad. And it all started by understanding that 88% of consumers want businesses to help them live more sustainably, but the consumer doesn’t have the information they need to make better choices. So with this partnership and the great support working with the ARA members, we’ll be able to help do that and turbocharge our, uh, ambition for growth.

[Simon – Startup Daily]
So how do we do that as a small business? You know, they’ve got enough to do, they’ve got the BAS to deal with, the ATO’s on their case. There’s employment law, you know, push for wages. It’s just like one more thing to make your brain explode. How are you gonna make this simpler and easier?

[Tom – Greener]
Look, we do it in two ways. We’ve got two systems, uh, two solutions that really work together to bring people and businesses together to help in climate change. And the first one is Greener Business. And it’s a really simple platform that in under five minutes can guide businesses as to how to get greener, but then reward them with new customers for their efforts.

And that then showcases them in our consumer app, which is the Greener app, which gives people green businesses in the palm of the hand for everything they buy. Then automatically turns their purchase carbon neutral to helping climate change. So by using a carrot-based approach, not a stick, we think that we can really start to, to drive change.

[Simon – Startup Daily]
Okay, so you’ve got the carrot and stick ready to go. Small stick, big carrot. Um, where are you on the startup build at this point in time? Of course, you’re about to go out to tens of thousands of businesses around Australia.

[Tom – Greener]
uh, we’ve already got over 200 brands that have come on board as founding members of this green economy, and it’s starting to scale even more so.

And the great thing is we’ve got options for everything you buy. So I dunno about you Simon, but what about your morning coffee? You got one this morning I guess?

[Simon – Startup Daily]
Keep cup. Yep. Absolutely. Yep

[Tom – Greener]
Keep cup? Fantastic. We are partnering with Huskee. We also have cafes across the country, but also here in Sydney, like Pablo and Rusty’s.

You then go to get your groceries, Your Food Collective, a great sustainable solution. If you then wanna wash it down at the end of the day, we’ve just, uh, partnered with Brew Dog, who’s one of the, or it’s the world first carbon-negative beer who actually make their beer using leftover loaves of bread from Coles.

And then, I dunno about your weekends, if you spend time on the beach, I dunno how you’d look in a onesie, but ultimately we’ve just signed…

[Simon – Startup Daily]
It’s probably better than my budgie smugglers, I’ll tell you that.

[Tom – Greener]
I think it probably could be. But we’ve just signed a partnership with Bondi Born, who are a super sustainable swimwear brand, who therefore we can now talk about not just slip, slop, slap, but also sustainability in that piece.

So we’re looking after yourself. And the planet.

[Simon – Startup Daily]
Dale is a great founder and a great brand. That one. So what’s next for you guys? You’ve got all these amazing partnerships underway. It sounds like you are flat out, you’ve got the capital runway to achieve all of this, I assume? How have you bootstrapped so far? What’s the story been?

[Tom – Greener]
Look, it’s largely been bootstrapped in the first couple of years, and then the last year or so we’ve managed to get some great support from people that just believe in our vision and believe that we’ve got the team to execute on it.

But we’ve got some super exciting news, which isn’t public yet, and it’s both on the capital raising front, which we’d love to share shortly. But also we’ve got the announcement of the ARA and how we’ll help scale the business side of this green economy.

We’ve got a game changing development that’s coming up, which will help us scale the consumer side and really bring businesses and consumers together to helping climate change.

[Simon – Startup Daily]
You mentioned a little bit earlier that you know, 80% of people want to do the right thing, but there’s always that disconnect between I want to do the right thing and how much is it gonna cost me?

So, how do you provide that value so that it doesn’t hurt a business along the way and the consumers do say yes? Beyond knowing it’s the right thing, but it’s also good value for them?

[Tom – Greener]
With one of our pilots, we did demonstrate that we could bring greener brands upwards of 10% of customers from their competition, and that is through making sure that our solution is a real feel good solution for the consumer. And they don’t have to pay for it.

So it’s free for the consumer. It’s, it’s frictionless. But then the businesses fund the model at a super low margin so that they’re getting much better bang for their buck when it comes to marketing. And really we’re just telling their sustainability story for them. So everyone wins the consumer, the business, the planet, and ultimately we can drive some real impact.

[Simon – Startup Daily]
So you’re a massively optimistic bloke. So obviously you believe in this space and how it’s going. How are we tracking overall? I’ve seen a few startups a bit like yours, helping businesses small and large to address these particular issues. Do you think we are making progress at this point in time? We saw a change of government earlier this year, and the signals seem to be quite positive in terms of setting targets and everything else. Will we get there quickly enough?

[Tom – Greener]
We believe we can. And what a lot of people don’t understand is that we can actually stop this problem. Climate change. The challenge is we’ve all got our, get our carbon footprints down to zero. The average Australian has a footprint of around 20.

Now, while that sounds super daunting, and everyone loves to focus on the doom and gloom, we’ve seen through our pilots that we are driving change for consumers, for decarbonisation and for businesses, and it’s about a positive message of hope and celebrating people’s success.

You’re not gonna get people to switch to green energy or really put solar on your roof or switch to an EV day one, but it’s about taking them on the journey, making it so easy for them in a way that doesn’t cost them anything and then reward them when they start making bigger and bigger choices.

We’ve been working with Harvard’s behavioural science team who are embedding behaviorral economics into the DNA of our platform. And yes, while I’m, while I’m purely an optimist, we are also realists and we’ve been at this long enough to achieve so many wins, but also get so many uppercuts.

And it’s those things that really do keep us honest and the data so far is speaking for itself from our pilots.

[Simon – Thomsen]
Tom, I think you’ve answered this question in small moments along the way, but what have you learnt out of the build of Greener? What has been the big lesson and perhaps the the moment where you’ve gone, yeah, I hadn’t thought of that, but we’ll get on it now.

[Tom – Greener]
Uh the key thing, and this is what one of my mentors said to me, Tom, before you do anything, make sure that whether it’s a feature or a business, is it a good idea people will buy and use? Or just a good idea? So now we test and pilot everything before we properly put it into market to make sure it is a good idea people will use otherwise, we’ll just be burning so much capital and time.

So what’s really exciting for us is that through this, as I mentioned, we’ve got these 200 founding partners for the green economy. And that’s ultimately what’s next for us, really scale that up so we can give people green options for everything they buy.

And we’ve got an exclusive founding partner offer for those that do join pre-launch that we’ve been told from our partners it’s a no-brainer. So if you are interested or no businesses that are getting better for the planet, guide them over to and we’d love to speak to you.

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