Welcome back to another rundown of our latest ‘Igniting Change’ podcast! For episode #3 we were so excited to sit down and chat with Molly Webb! She has a heritage of climate action and lobbying and is the founder of Yoyu Tech.
Yoyu is an app for both iOS and Android that lets you log on and check the cleanest hours in the day to use energy, and also the “dirty” times to avoid using it. They have also JUST launched carbon tracking in the app so you can actually see how those actions of optimising your clean energy usage time add up in terms of how many grams of carbon are saved.
Whether it’s washing your dishes or doing your laundry, the app allows you to see the forecast of cleaner times in order to save carbon. This is a cool example of tech for good and giving people the tools and knowledge they need to make the most sustainable decisions. Molly says they have plans for CI and iterations for what the users want/need.
The Yoyu mission is for everyone to have the direct choice of whether they are going to be causing carbon emissions or not through the data that the app shares.
We were so excited to hear more from Molly that we jumped straight in!
(To hear the full episode, follow the links to listen on your preferred platform below:)
Where did the concept of Yoyu come from?
Since 2007, Molly has been working on everything to do with digital and climate change, mainly in advocacy, not for profit roles. She worked with The Climate Group, working with large businesses and sub-national governments on how they could be part of setting targets and taking voluntary actions around climate and also influence policy change. From there she realised the immense power of IT, telecommunications and digital solutions to solve climate change.
She soon realised there were a lot of start-ups within the energy space facing really steep barriers to entry. For example, it’s really expensive to enter these markets and very highly regulated. Because of that, Molly started Energy Unlocked to work with the newer companies coming in and trying to navigate that space for the first time. By helping startups with those barriers, they could then get to market and policy and decision-makers in different countries and governments can adopt digital transformation of energy to meet climate goals.
She has spent the lions share of her career in policymaking, but with Yoyu, she sees a lot more imagining to be done to apply technology to solve challenges and the platform is a wonderful step in doing just that!
You have spent your career championing climate change, in that span of time, does it look like we are moving in the right direction?!
A significant thing that I have seen change are the conversations we are having surrounding the climate crisis. We are allowed to say things today that would not fly 15 years ago. Another is that in the last few years have businesses really understood that there is a significant upside to transitioning, a commercial, economic and reputational upside that has only gone from strength to strength in the last few years.
We used to say there is no more business as usual, and that is FINALLY hitting people. Climate change is here. Every year we see more devastation with the wildfires and natural disasters so it’s obvious to all (or most) that if we don’t act, there is no such thing as business as usual. The tides are changing in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be affected by climate change and an understanding that what is happening right now, will not be viable in the next decade.
As it is no we have the “high carbon” or “low carbon” option with our usage, the norm will soon be that there are only the “low carbon” options to choose between. High carbon making has always just been the default and the population isn’t looking beyond the easiest and cheapest option – that mentality is changing and people are seeking out and expecting greener options.
For too long we have been left with nothing but the option to make the wrong choice. A plastic water bottle here, a fast-fashion item there is transitioning to choices easily available to live sustainably.
Why do the barriers exist in the intention action gap?
The biggest learning from me was to realise that the good I want to create in the world in the long term, has to be coupled with something shorter term that also brings me benefit. Otherwise, it’s hard to make that long term choice and ignore that shorter-term discomfort. So to be able to give something people want and a carbon and energy literate outcome happen, as a result, is the perfect storm of alignment. Of course, it is REALLY hard to get right!
There is a behavioural barrier where it is just finding a way to have sustainable decisions happening at scale. The most likely way of that happening is by having it be automatic. No barriers or sticking points, everyone is in the same pot and are able to minimise the action gap by not having to take many actions at all – it’s just the norm.
Behaviour change is more important than us just reducing our footprints. We need to change the diffuse problems.
There is also a technical barrier. Not every home is smart, nor does every home want to be. The pathway to getting it to be easier is a technical journey. Some of the technologies aren’t *quite* there yet and some of the interoperability isn’t there. Which all chalks up to just the ease at which we are all able to use these solutions. It needs to be so simple and straightforward that it doesn’t involve much thought and we just aren’t there yet.
Can the massive power of social media be used for good?!
The enormous number of people that use it so the capability for it to do good and facilitate change is there. It’s just harnessing it. People are searching for eco-friendly options, but looking for them via social media is hard. As the likes of Facebook aren’t set up to create outcomes. They are set up to improve the shareholder value of the business. Which unfortunately means getting us all to use it without thinking about that dopamine hit.
We are all on our phones way more than we should be, so the audience is there! The rules of the game are important, we could create digital platforms that don’t follow the status quo of what is available now and generate actual outcomes and change.
There is increased interest in creating a community outcome or other benefits if they can be measured. If you can measure it and you want that outcome to happen AND there’s value there for someone, it doesn’t have to be the traditional barriers and shareholder value.
What advice would you give to a person that wants to live more sustainably?
Of course, Yoyu is a great start!
But aside from that, there is a sweet spot between the thing that has the most carbon impact in your life and the thing that you can actually do. It could be your driving, heating, your consumption and just make that one change! That is empowering for us to know that we have that bit of control. And keep learning! This space is rapidly changing and it can feel exhausting to keep on top of it but stay curious. There is a lot to come.
It is overwhelming and easy to get disengaged, but find your focus! Something, anything you can do to make a change is excellent, and from there, more change will come. As mentioned earlier, TALK! Talk about it! Your voice is powerful and saying it will help keep you accountable, and also gets that message out there.
A favourite is the idea of “dirty hour”. This is all around getting people to do an action…or inaction, actually! The Yoyu app has all the data to forecast on any given date what time is the “dirtiest hour” to use energy is. So with that information users can see when usage is not clean, so use that hour to refrain from cooking, dishes and all the life admin that requires energy and kick back and enjoy that hour instead – all while waiting for a cleaner time to do those things.
Another great episode for the books! We loved chatting with Molly and if you are keen to be a part of our podcast, please do shout us a holla.
You can listen to the episode in its entirety here: