What the heck am I supposed do about polar bears and rising sea levels?

What the heck am I supposed do about polar bears and rising sea levels?

Every conversation I’ve ever had with my friends about climate change usually comes down to that question in some form and, you know what, they’re right. What can possibly do about something so wickedly complex?

It’s not that we don’t want to it turns out. 91% of millennials believe humans are responsible for climate change, and 78% are willing to make lifestyle changes to do something about it, according to the World Economic Forum. This is a $1.6 trillion under-exploited market opportunity if you live in the US: millennials spend $26,000 a year on everyday things like bills and entertainment, and have bypassed baby boomers as the largest generation in US history, with 80 million 18 to 35 year olds moving into their prime spending years.

So if the demand is clearly there, then why are we so bad at acting on climate change? With our Leadership Vanguard partners DNV GL, EDP and TCS, we went straight to the source to find out. It came down to three simple truths: (1) every piece of (relatable) climate change news is about big global systems – there’s no way I can make a difference; (2) there’s so much information that’s confusing and contradictory (#fakenews) that I quickly lose interest; and (3) low-carbon living just seems inconvenient and expensive (even though the payback usually makes sense).

Even if every country were to fully meet its intended commitments to the Paris Agreement, we’ll still overshoot the 2°C target. This is where businesses need to better engage consumers to make lifestyle changes. But until there’s persistent, genuine demand for low carbon goods, there’s no material reason for businesses to pivot. A vicious cycle.

Hence we’ve come up with smallfoot – a lifestyle app to decode climate change while rewarding the everyday things you do to lower your footprint. Climate change is confusing, so let’s simplify and personalise what it is to you. We’ve designed a world’s first hassle-free footprint calculator that converts dollars spent into carbon data. We’ve also created Kaya, your personal assistant to intuitively figure out what you need to do and how you’ll get rewarded for it. Together with this is a rewards market that pre-emptively tracks your progress and rewards, so you don’t have to.

Smallfoot was designed to drive up genuine demand for low carbon goods. The prototype was our first step and now we’re looking to firm up a small group of partners to bring smallfoot to the US market. If you’re interested, come found out how you can #stepupyourgame with smallfoot.

@Rayson Ho, Principal at Xynteo

Photo credit: @Jacquelinegodany 

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