I often find myself wanting to be as sustainable as possible. However, in many instances, the information is not available on how my specific choices will impact the environment, or if it is, I feel alone in doing the environmentally friendly thing. With a new startup called Oroeco, founder Ian Monroe is looking to change the behavior of individuals to act sustainably. He is doing this by quantitatively showing the environmental impact with each decision made by a person.
The entire concept for the company arose when Monroe saw that the information needed to make ecologically sound decisions was being held by consulting firms and intellectuals rather than consumers. According to Monroe, Oroeco attempts to overcome this challenge by, “…Creating a personal sustainability tool that includes social games, competitions and rewards, in order to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle. The game will harness information with mobile devises and social networks and games and combine those into a tool that provides information and incentives for making sustainable choices on a daily basis.”
By tracking daily purchases, and quantitatively displaying the impact of that specific decision, each consumer will have the power to make a decision with much more information at hand than previously available. Going further into the mechanics of the operation, Monroe stated, “We automatically link up to all your spending and investment with a website called Mint.com. Through your using your credit or debit card we can calculate your climate change footprint according to what you purchase for groceries, your gas, airfare, health and education expenditures.”
In addition, by constructing the paradigm to be as a game amongst friends and communities, people will want to act sustainably, even for the wrong reasons. The structure taps into two ideas that promote global change and behavior: Incentives and competition. The social media aspect of the business utilizes these ideas by creating rewards for good behavior. As a result of these rewards, more individuals are likely to participate and try to outdo one another, thus creating, in this case, a competition amongst individuals and communities on who can live the most sustainably. The key to Oroeco’s success however will be the aforementioned participation element. In this case, let’s all try to do our part and live green and play green.