A platform that enables individuals to enjoy a pro-environmental lifestyle by providing useful information and corresponding actions
When it comes to climate change people have 3 big questions.
What the * is going on?
What can I do?
Does what i do matter?
The answers to these questions are YES!
Yes, something is going on.
Yes, you can do something.
Yes, what you do matter A LOT!
The incentive for people to come to our platform is to find answers to those questions.
Imvelo will empower individuals to take action by providing them with customised and reliable information on the topic of sustainability and climate change. It will turn ill-informed people into knowledgeable people and bystanders into action takers.
We have drawn inspiration from platforms like Pinterest, which is a website where you can find, upload, gather, organise and save content of your interest. The members of the platform are the creators of the content as it is up to them to upload or repin. In Imvelo you will be able to do exactly this, and more:
- Based on your interests and the content you gather, you will find ways to take actions. These can range from money donation, petition signing, Do It Yourself instructions to tips on behaviour change and sustainable alternatives. On the platform you will have your own profile where you can organize all your favourite content and see what actions you have taken.
- When signing up on the platform you will do a quiz like assessment that will determine your carbon footprint, your level of engagement and knowledge on the topic of sustainability and climate change. The test will provide our users with a 'score' that gives them insight into their behaviour and what kind of lifestyle they lead. The score can be improved by taking the suggested actions.
- Since the amount of information on climate change can be very overwhelming we will create a rating system where users can rate the content that is uploaded to the platform. In that way you can easily browse for the information that is most relevant to you.
What actions do you propose?
The main challenge to reverse climate change is to motivate people to take action. Unfortunately the way environmental issues are addressed today falls short in achieving this. Instead of feeling like they are part of a solution, people end up feeling powerless.
In developed countries individuals are ‘environmentally tired’. Their governments have tried to encourage recycling or taking shorter showers, but climate change still remains as a lingering threat. Many might feel that they have done their part and even if it isn’t enough, people are not looking further to improve their unsustainable behaviour. In developing countries people have little access to information and don’t feel empowered to do something themselves, although they feel climate change has a direct negative impact on them.
Imvelo is built on these observations as we recognize that people will not change unless they know about their environmental impact, and they will not act unless they know how and why it matters.
In our own search for trying to live more sustainably we have experienced difficulties in finding good sources that take into consideration our current realities. The information on how to take action is unorganised and scattered between many different websites. It is hard to find actions that are engaging and have the right balance between the level of challenge and feasibility. There is an opportunity to provide personalized information on how to act.
After reading about the psychology of changing behaviours in climate change*2 we came across 5 problems that we will address in our platform.
- The information on climate change often feels very analytical and it rarely engages the reader to change their behavior. Most articles that are written for the general public lack information on how to act upon the problem. In the few articles where actions are included, they are not specific or don’t capture the reality of the reader - this keeps people away from acting. The solution to this problem is to make information more experiential. We will do this in two ways. Firstly, by making sure that the content on Imvelo is useful and reliable. Secondly, by connecting this informational content to actions. Actions that are personalized for the user’s interest and need. Because useful means different things to different people we will provide “customized” information based on the level of knowledge and interests of the individual. After a user has read or watched a piece of information, like an article or video, it can be rated based on its usefulness and knowledge level. In that way you can filter what is most important and relevant to you, and you avoid having to dig through a jungle of information. Making sure that the most useful content is easily accessible and directly connected to realistic actions.
- The way that media paints up the picture about climate change is generally very sad and horrifying. For some, this is a trigger for behavior change, but for the majority it just feel like they’re losing the environmental game. To make people feel like they have a chance and are “winning” we will use a quiz like assessment to determine their level of knowledge and co2 footprint by providing a ‘score’. They can continually improve this score by increasing their knowledge & behaviour through the different actions. As you become more and more engaged on the platform, and take more actions on climate change you will see your score getting higher. This methodology will encourage the users to always act more environmentally friendly and keep the “game” going. Our goal is to turn the platform into an infinite game, and show how there is always is room for improvement. By doing this, we will create an environment where people gain something and feel like winners, instead of feeling like they have to give up things that they like. (These assessments also allow us to continually monitor & evaluate our users, thus facilitating measuring the impact of the platform)
- People generally feel like their individual actions don’t matter when it comes to climate change. We break this mindset by making them understand their collective power. The platform will create a community, where every single individual plays an important role. On the platform you will find an interactive map that will illustrate where the members are, how many there are and what actions they are taking. You will also be able to share content from the platform to other types of social media in order to encourage friends and family to join in on the fun.
- Another problem is that environmental issues feel very distant, something that will happen in the future and far away. To get people to pay attention and act we need to make them understand that it is happening here and now. When browsing for information on the platform you will therefore be able to search for content based on location. Imvelo links big overwhelming themes to local initiatives close to you, in that way climate change feels more real.
- We have also found that encouraging people to take action on climate change for external benefits (like switching from grey to green energy because it would save them money) is not enough. People like knowing that their actions are making the world a better place and so this is how we will communicate and reward our users for participating.
These are 3 profiles of users and how they interact with the platform:
Rose, 16y, South Africa
User Profile: A high school student that heard about plastic soup in biology class.
Incentive to come to Imvelo: Wants to know more about this topic.
Interaction: Searches on google and finds Imvelo with video’s and easy to understand graphics about plastic soup. When browsing on the platform she comes across actions that list tips on how to reduce plastic use.
Impact: She understands her role in creating the plastic soup and immediately wants to do something about it. Rose decides that from now on, she will say no to plastic bags whenever she shops.
Robyn, 34y, New Zeeland
User Profile: Robyn is the owner of a small independent coffee shop. She recently went from normal coffee to organic and fair trade coffee.
Incentive to come to Imvelo: Reading about organic and fair trade coffee made her question other aspects of her life in terms of sustainability. She knows this is important but is not sure how to take action.
Interaction: Robyn sees an advertisement from Imvelo on Facebook and becomes curious of what it is. When she enters the platform she takes the test and based on her result the platform suggests her to change from conventional energy to green energy. She reads more about household energy consumption and its effects on the climate. Robyn decides to look for a local green energy supplier for both her household and her coffee shop.
Impact: By switching to green energy she reduces her carbon footprint to 12.400 kg co2 eq. per year.
Jens, 28y, Sweden
User Profile: A world traveler that is knowledgeable, passionate about living sustainably and wants to inspire others to adopt the same lifestyle.
Incentive to come to Imvelo: Jens loves sharing his knowledge by uploading articles and videos. He wants to interact and find people who have the same level of knowledge and interest.
Interaction: Jens discovers Imvelo in a newsletter from its partner organization. By uploading content Imvelo provides the space for him to interact with a bigger and more interested audience than mainstream social networks would do. Simultaneously he can find valuable research that inspires him to improve his sustainable lifestyle even more. Jens continually checks his carbon footprint score on his member board, and makes a sport out of getting better and sharing his achievements with the world.
Impact: Even though his lifestyle is already relatively sustainable, he still finds new ways and alternatives to reduce his carbon footprint. Besides from this, he also takes on an activist role by signing petitions and starts volunteering for a local NGO through Imvelo.
Who will take these actions?
As both of us are very passionate and burn for this topic, we are the key actors when it comes to the development and realisation Imvelo. We are working together with individuals from different backgrounds that all share our passion and belief that information on climate change should be useful and provided to everyone.
We will develop Imvelo in 4 steps:
1. Set up expert panel to advise on development and content
2. Create assessment and link with existing actions (so that we can get people to act from the start)
3. Connect the actions with articles monitored by the experts.
4. Engage users to upload content (articles and actions). For us it’s a way to start the flow of uploading content, for them it is an opportunity to share their work and reach more people.
We know that people who have a slight interest in climate change and sustainability have a bigger tendency to improve their overall sustainable behaviour *3, as a result, most of the users will come from this group. Our user could be an individual that knows very little about their own environmental behaviour, or a person who is already taking a lot of action to improve it. What they have in common is their willingness to increase their knowledge and impact.
Anyone can browse for information on Imvelo, but if you want to discover your personal environmental impact, save content you like, upload something you would like to share, have a profile and rate, then you need to become a member.
Initially Imvelo will be developed in English. However, this does not exclude the chances of uploading content in any language. Based on our personal experience here in Brazil, we have witnessed what the lack of information in a native language can do to a society. It is important to us to reach the bigger public, therefore we plan to make the platform available in more languages, a powerful way to scale our actions.
Where will these actions be taken?
Initially, we will develop Imvelo in English, consequently it will only reach English speaking people. But since it is one of the world’s most spoken languages, people across the globe will be able to take advantaged and benefit from this platform. Their actions can be taken on both local and global levels.
Depending on where these actions are taken, they will have a varied impact. For example, if you switch from conventional energy to green energy (household) in Australia you will save 733 kg co2 eq per 1000 kWh. However, would you do this in Norway, you would not save anywhere near as much since the conventional energy there is already very green. In contrast with conventional media, our platform provides a customized approach where we will be able to show the contrasting impacts due to political and geographical differences between countries.
Our headquarter is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil but since the roots of our management team lay in Sweden and the Netherlands, there is a lot of connection with Europe.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
Our aim is to attract 5000 members to Imvelo during the first year. From those 5000 first users our goal is to get 30%*6 of them to change diet, switch to green energy or use more public transport.
If a Brazilian would substitute all meat products (1,6 kg per week) with vegetarian products for a full year they would save about 1800 kg co2 eq. (x 500 people = 900 000 kg co2 eq.) *4
If an Australian household would switch from conventional electricity to green electricity they would save about 4200 kg co2 eq./year (x 500 people = 2 100 000 kg co2 eq./year) *7
If a Dutch person would stop commuting by car and change to public transport, traveling an average distance of 25 km, 5 times per working week, would require 520 kg co2 eq. less emissions (x 500 people = 250 000 kg co2 eq./ year) *5
In total, Imvelo could generate a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of about 3.25 kilotonnes of co2 equivalent during the first year, if 1500 people would change the suggested behaviors.
What are other key benefits?
A benefit of Imvelo is that making changes to fight climate change is not only a question of saving the planet, it’s also a question of living happier and more fulfilling lives. Adopting a simpler lifestyle with less excess and worries will also have positive impacts on our personal lives. People who have adopted more sustainable lifestyle bear witness to enjoying life in a new way. It has given them the opportunity to pursue their deepest passions and find calm in this very hectic consumerist world.
As creators, we are developing Imvelo with a focus on climate change and sustainable living. But we live in complex world and the global problems that challenge us today are interconnected. For example, on the platform this might result in content addressing the polluting fashion industry and how this affects garment workers. Consequently, a clear benefit of Imvelo is that it can reach impact on multiple fronts as the information is multidimensional.
What are the proposal’s costs?
> Project development
> Developing the platform
------------ USD 120.000
> Hosting (greenhost.net)
------------ USD 20.000
Development costs ongoing
------------ USD 50.000
A negative side effect could be that our platform causes certain companies to get negative attention because of their impact on the climate. Although this might be a bad scenario for them, for us it’s a reason to celebrate the efforts of our members. We are aware that sticking our head out can have consequences.
We are taking our first steps to develop Imvelo online with the help from a highly skilled team. New partnerships are formed and we have made our platform available for download as an app on most popular devices. Features on Imvelo continuously improve with the help from user feedback. After a few years when the platform has grown, we will organise a week of seminars and workshops where our most engaged users can meet up and exchange thoughts and ideas. During this time period we make major cutbacks in carbon emissions.
Imvelo is well developed. We are fully working in 5 different languages: English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Arab. We went from 5000 users in the first year to 1.000.000 users after 5 years. Thanks to partnerships with petition websites like Avaaz, we have been able to win many environmental battles in favor of citizens instead of companies. People feel more empowered to take action on climate change.
Imvelo is now functioning in 15 different languages and politicians start to listen and together they hold big corporations accountable for the damage that has been done in the past. Due to global development individual income is now more equally divided. This does not mean that people have a negative impact on the environment as they are aware of the mistakes that people made in the past. As many people have adopted a pro-environmental lifestyle, they tend to be less active on the platform.
Sustainable behaviour is something completely incorporated in every individual on earth. It took 2 well informed generations to raise children that don’t consider living environmentally friendly a choice, but the norm. Eating unconsciously every day is as weird as smoking in airplanes and hospitals. As people don’t use more than they need, resources on earth are more equally distributed, leaving no one hungry. Imvelo is a relic from the past.
2. Bauer, F. & Smith J., 2015, The Climate Knowledge Brokers Manifesto - Informed decision making for a climate resilience future, available at <http://www.climateknowledgebrokers.net/manifesto/>
3. Greendex Highlight Report, 2014, Consumer Choice and the Environment – A Worldwide Tracking Survey, National Geographic, available at: <http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/file/NGS_2014_Greendex_Highlights_FINAL-cb1411689730.pdf>
4. Head et al., 2013, Life cycle impacts of protein-rich foods: creating robust yet extensive life cycle models for use in a consumer app, Journal of Cleaner Production 73: 165 -174
5. Otten et al., 2014, STREAM Personenvervoer, available at <http://www.ce.nl/publicatie/stream_personenvervoer_2014/1478>
6. Saleh, K. Social Media Engagement - Statistics and Trends, available at <http://www.invespcro.com/blog/social-media-engagement/>
7. Turconi et al., 2013, Life cycle assessment (LCA) of electricity generation technologies: Overview, comparability and limitations, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 28:555-565
8. Van der Linden et al., 2015, Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change: Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science
(Please note that we calculate co2 reductions from a life cycle perspective)