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An app aimed at making every dollar we spend carbon-neutral has raised $4 million towards its mission, which has so far attracted partners ranging from Microsoft to Doorstep Organics, Zero Co to Single Use Ain’t Sexy and more.
Co-founded in 2019 by Tom Ferrier and Neil McVeigh, Greener has sought to tackle a pervading sense of powerlessness amongst consumers when they want to buy from genuinely sustainable brands and sift through the greenwashing noise.
The solution was a digital platform that allows consumers to “vote with their wallets” in response to climate change, utilising banking technology so they can track the impact of their spend and find personalised greener alternatives for everything they buy.
Whilst such a business model will always imply some degree of subjectivity around what constitutes ‘green’ coupled with the agency problems of who signs up and who doesn’t, the founders of Greener are giving it their best shot with their certified B Corp that helps reduce and offset carbon emissions for both sides of retail.
“Sustainability can be complicated, and the more you learn the more difficult it gets. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’re focused on simple solutions that are underpinned by a positive message of hope,” says Ferrier, who was a finalist in the 2021 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Awards alongside co-founder McVeigh.
“By rewarding greener businesses with new customers, and helping consumers take action at no cost, we can drive unprecedented impact.
“If everyone got behind the Green Economy just here in Australia, we could help take the equivalent of 58 million cars off the road each year.”
The company has also partnered with such brands as T2 Tea, Afends, Scoop Wholefoods, Brew Dog, Huskee and Who Gives a Crap. When users shop at these partners and others, Greener collects a merchant fee to fund the planting of biodiverse forests across Australia, carbon neutralising their purchase.
Greener reports its partners saw upwards of 10 per cent customer growth with shoppers choosing to switch to Greener businesses from non-green competition, also supporting shoppers to reduce the emissions of their purchases by 23 per cent.
The $4 million seed round was led by NAB Ventures with participation from RealVC, adding to a $1 million-plus seed round in 2021.
With growing demand from the public for more options and transparency around sustainability, it is clear why a major bank such as NAB (ASX: NAB) would want to align itself with this startup and its vision. In a similar way but for a different market segment, its competitor Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) has invested in green energy retailer Amber so that consumers can lift and track their usage of renewables.
NAB Ventures managing director Todd Forest says everyone has a part to play in climate action and NAB recognises its role.
“We’re continuously looking at ways we can support our customers and colleagues to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and we think Greener’s product has great potential,” Forest says.
“Greener is an excellent fit for NAB Ventures and we look forward to working with them and exploring further opportunities together.”
RealVC investment partner Paul Saunders says his group invests in startups led by purpose, particularly those that are driving sustainability.
“Greener’s simple yet innovative business model presents an opportunity to drive real change by putting people and businesses at the centre of the climate solution and making greener choices tangible,” Saunders says.
“We look forward to supporting Greener as they roll out their game-changing offering and turbocharge the Green Economy.”
NAB Ventures and RealVC join existing Greener backers including former Australian Ethical (ASX: AEF) CEO Phil Vernon. Greener has also partnered with the City of Sydney and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) to help their members accelerate their net zero journeys.