One more post tied to SXSW and then I’ll shutup about it until next year (maybe.) One of the buzzed-about companies, and Webby award nominees, was MakeMeSustainable, a site focused on educating people about reducing their environmental impact. There are all manner of sites and companies looking to capitalize on the green movement but, as CEO Ben Brown puts it, many of them have the philosophy, “Here’s your carbon footprint. Now go buy an offset.” If you watch this space at all, you know there isn’t currently a site that views consumers’ environmental impact dynamically, tracking their daily actions over time. In fact, as Ben and COO Dave Delcourt point out, the majority of innovation in this space is largely focused on industrial and corporate technologies. All good to be sure, but I’m surprised there hasn’t been more effort put toward employing social tools to enable mass consumers.
MakeMeSustainable is answering all these concerns with its Web site and Facebook app, which both work, in part, to help users see the environmental impact of the daily actions of their larger network. Through the Carbon Tree, users view the cumulative effect of their, and their friends’, small steps in reducing carbon footprints. It’s a smart mashup of social networking tools, carbon calculators, and action tracking that results in a clear picture of green efforts.
A smart startup has a multi-tiered business focus and MakeMeSustainable isn’t stopping at its green portal. The company partners with events and festivals to engage attendees in reducing carbon impact, utilizing an event carbon tree, community timelines, and a leader board to highlight active participants. The recent SXSW group has reduced 230 tons of carbon at this writing and a partnership with Reverb and singer Jose Gonzalez has eliminated 234 tons of carbon. Throw in licensing of their basic tools to like-minded organizations and you have a company with multiple paths from which to grow.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s much ado about green tech these days, but very little that targets the mass consumer, especially when it comes to real-world action. The in-depth environmental knowledge of its founders combined with innovative tools plumbed from social networking make this company a strong contender to take the lead in a vitally important space.