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Tech for Good talks: How can businesses come back better, cleaner and greener, using technology?

The role technology has in the possibility of a green recovery, is paramount. We were keen to dive into these possibilities and examples of how tech can underpin a sustainable recovery at our latest virtual event.

Event

Green Recovery

2020 was set to be the year the world would unite to take action against climate change. The time had FINALLY come and humanity would work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, that didn’t quite go to plan as our attention has been laser focused on the global pandemic. 

At a cursory glance the massive goal of financial recovery could potentially be at odds with the ambition of recovering in a sustainable way. However, could there be a synergy that could create the opportunity for green recovery? Let’s find out!

World Resource Institute

The World Resource Institute, with their heritage of experience in restoration projects, collaborated with 3 Sided Cube, and their vast global network of project developers and serious funders to create “Terramatch”. A platform connecting serious funders to people growing trees and restoring land with proven experience. 

Think Tinder, but instead of matching people for an awkward date with cheap wine, it’s making matches for the betterment of the environment. Swipe right for sustainability!

It works by having project developers uploading their pitches to the web based platform outlining their goals for the project and providing a range of other details about the type of restoration they are working on.

Organisations can then browse the pitches and successfully identify those that meet their funding requirements. The beauty in all this is that all projects are equal, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the project is, the focus is on the impact, so we can really make sure small projects are given just as much exposure to funders as the large ones.

The platform launched in June this year, and has already seen huge success in support from the trillion trees movement, and Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition who have pledged to plant 100 million trees over the next 5 years through the platform. This is a great example of a genuine collaboration, with each partner playing to their strength and working in true partnership together for the right reasons.

Our survey says...

As part of our Ignite initiative – a moment to drive change in the management of UK waste – we recently completed a survey of 1,000 UK consumers to understand more about their shifting views on sustainability and home recycling during the Covid-19 period. 

But to make this more interesting, we decided to put Puff in the hot seat and get her to guess the results, donating 100 trees for every correct answer. Even though Puff didn’t manage to get all of the stats right, she managed to get enough answers correct to plant 700 trees!

During the Covid 19 timeframe:

  •  How many people felt the planet’s health had improved? Our survey said: 74%
  • How many people felt our progress on waste had deteriorated? Our survey said: 32%
  • How many people felt that air quality had improved? Our survey said 80%
  • How many people wanted to use renewable energy in their home? Our survey said: 68% 
  • How many people put waste food in the general bin? Our survey said: 31%

It was really interesting to get the results back from our survey and over the summer we will be releasing a full report of our findings. 

Hot air or hot shit?

We had a look at some current examples of businesses proposing green recovery strategies and examined if in our view they are sound initiatives, or clever marketing ploys…

SSE

The energy company, SSE is planning to spend around £7b over the next five years to aid a green recovery, focusing on funding projects such as offshore wind farms. It is great to see that with everything going on, the company hasn’t just thrown the responsibility of climate change out the window but has instead embraced it and looked at how they could do more. 

 

Electric cars

The UK transport department have confirmed that to aid a green economic recovery, all electric cars are going to get green number plates from the autumn. This has been put in place to encourage people to buy electric cars, but it does seem like a toothless initiative as there is little incentive for the purchase (unlike in other countries that allow electric cars right of way for example).

 

Air France

As we know, the travel industry has been ravaged by the pandemic. As part of a bail out, the French government has agreed to offer a loan to Air France, but there are green strings attached. As part of the agreement, the airline must contribute environmentally, by reducing the number of night flights as well as cutting their overall carbon emissions. This seems like a really great initiative, that would be extremely positive on the environment, however, as there isn’t any legislation in place, this does seem a little optimistic!

Can a green recovery have an impact?

So, do we think green recovery is just a marketing spin, or could it make a significant change? There is a definite influx of consumers holding companies and brands accountable. People are also becoming aware of their own personal actions, consumption and buying decisions. Consumers hold the power with their wallets.  So it is imperative that we all shop wisely and seek out the brands that are contributing to a green recovery. 

Overall, our second “Tech For Good Talk”, was a smash! It was fantastic for our lovely hosts to be able to dive into a topic that is close to their hearts and we hope that everyone that tuned in came out of it with a better understanding of what a green recovery could look like. From the talk we also managed to donate 700 trees to One Tree Planted, follow the link to donate too!

Drop us a message if you want to discuss any of the elements we covered in this session, or if you have an idea for future “Tech For Good” topics we could cover!

Published on June 24, 2020, last updated on June 24, 2020

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We dedicate 15% of our team's time to explore emerging technology and work on projects they're passionate about. So far we've developed a Jenga game in augmented reality, an app that mimics the human eyes and an interactive map that tacks natural disasters in real-time.

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