Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium Weinheim (2019)

Finalist for the region South-West

Winner of the YES! 2019


Homepage: https://green-pay.org/

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Currently, in the years of political disruption, humankind appears to be overwhelmed by the urgent task to tackle the issue(s) of climate change and to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Especially many private persons would like to live more ecologically, but just don’t have the knowledge on how to implement environmental friendliness in their daily lives. While many governments have already introduced environmental rules, subsidies and incentive systems (such as the European emissions trade) for the economy and companies, there is still a lack of consequences and transparency on the market for the consumers to grasp how their behaviour affects the climate.

Therefore, we want to set up “GreenPay”: a private incentive system that rewards people for consuming/behaving more ecologically and for choosing greener alternatives. Also, the system is supposed to serve as a general orientation for the consumer, so he or she can determine the ecological impact of certain products. If you buy regional vegetables, for instance, bring your own bag/boxes/mug to a shop instead of buying the disposable version or use public transport, you’ll receive “EcoPoints”. However, you can also collect points if you recycle or repair your products at a repair centre or if you buy clothes at a second-hand store. The EcoPoints will be uploaded to your account at the checkout with the aid of a “GreenPay-Card” (similar to the Payback-system) or the GreenPay-App. On our website, you can convert your points into a variety of rewards like vouchers for a free coffee, reusable bottles, etc. which you can redeem at one of our partnering stores/companies. These rewards are products with a rather small ecological footprint or products which will even help you to live more ecologically.

To assess for which products/behaviour you will get EcoPoints, we have created a list of criteria to rate every store and every product consistently. Over time, we will continue improving and adjusting this list (as well as all other data sets we have) as we consider our system not as fixed, but rather as flexible to improve and grow GreenPay in a changing world.

Our most important belief to understand GreenPay is that many – even small – personal steps and decisions heading towards an eco-friendlier future can have a game-changing impact when they sum up, especially over time and with an increasing amount of people taking part.

To enable as many citizens as possible to take part in reducing their emissions, we don’t attempt only to address the ones who already care a lot about the climate and act accordingly, but especially the whole social mainstreams and their typical day to day decisions. Thus, we want GreenPay to be implemented in every possible store (for instance, in the tiny, local fruit shop and in the major supermarket chain). Consequently, we wouldn’t distinguish between merely “good” and “bad” companies, but rather differentiate their product range in eco-friendly GreenPay-Products and the products with a worse emissions footprint to also incentivise ecological production within in the companies.

Furthermore, our self-imposed core requirements for GreenPay are supposed to be as convenient, transparent and straightforward as possible. This means our system should fit without a lot of effort the average lifestyle and routines, be easy to understand and provide information to the public about how to reduce their daily environmental impact. For us, transparency also means not to have any hidden business practises. Therefore, we want to communicate all our operations with our users.

Although GreenPay is thought as a Non-Profit-Organisation, we rely on some external sources to income to expand/maintain our point-system and the digital infrastructure, as well as to provide the rewards for our members. For this reason, we will establish the EcoPartner- and EcoProducer-Program.On the one hand, the sellers (EcoPartner) of GreenPay products, e.g. the supermarkets, provide the chosen rewards from their products range, so our customers can pick them up at a nearby store. All EcoPartner will bear the expenses for the rewards together as they would have to pay a percentage of the total costs (depending on their revenue) so that the companies can get the purchasing price for their own rewards back and everyone is treated equally.

Our EcoPartners will benefit from the partnership as they can attract other target groups thanks to the possibility to advertise on our website/app, profile them as an ecologically responsible company or also strengthen their customer loyalty.

On the other hand, producers of GreenPay-products have either the choice between not becoming a partner without any negative consequences (they still receive the regular EcoPoints on their items) or joining the EcoProducer-Program, which will give them access to our advertising channels, include them on the GreenMap, showing local partners, and allow them to use the official GreenPay-seal on their products/advertising channels. Moreover, they will be added to our online list of EcoPartner/Producers to enable companies and consumers to find eco-responsible partners more easily. Apart from the program, we also want to finance us through the selling of completely anonymised member data which will provide interested companies with information about the overall demand and purchasing behaviour regarding eco-friendly products. By this, they will be able to attract more people to their green offers and optimise their eco-friendly product range. Of course, we will openly communicate this with the GreenPay members as a part of our transparency goal.

Also, private persons, environmental organisations or companies can simply donate us one (or multiple) times or fund us regularly with the GreenPay-Sub. To thank our private supporters, the sub comes with GreenPay-Merch, the appreciation of single subscribers on social media and some extra features for the app and website.

As the team behind GreenPay, we would like to encourage everybody not only to demand (often rightfully) others to change, but also to start step by step to live a more ecological lifestyle because of every saved gram of emissions counts. Make a choice, make the difference.

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