What do you get when you cross two former tech executives with an eco-friendly vision for the future? While that’s not necessarily the most uncommon thing to ever happen in the modern day, the answer, in this case, was GetGreen. The app is from creators Brian Ringer and Jed Stafford and looks to change how we view individual carbon footprints.
Founded in 2020, the Seattle-based startup combines the sleek and intuitive user interface that we’ve all come to expect from modern phone apps with a bit of knowledge of human behaviors. According to the company, it delivers a product unparalleled in promoting climate-conscious lifestyles. Whether through an employer or individual basis, GetGreen is designed as a multi-faceted solution for those who are environmentalists at heart, if not yet in reality.
“We felt from the beginning that there are a lot of people, including leaders in business and community organizations, who want to do more for the environment but don’t know where to start,” Ringer says.
The app’s idea is simple. If we make environmentalism a competition, we can inspire each other to take the impact of our daily behaviors more seriously than we would have previously.
Living a climate-conscious life isn’t always about making an enormous personal sacrifice. Sometimes all one needs to do to beat the average is recycle more consistently or reduce their bi-weekly Amazon splurge to a monthly occurrence. GetGreen is a way to track these behaviors and reward oneself for keeping up the good work.
Much like MyFitnessPal or a similar app that allows you to record your macronutrient intake, GetGreen tracks the estimated carbon impact of a given activity. It then gives users a digital leaf for every 10 pounds of avoided emissions.
Although the base version has users building up their leaf reserves for nothing more than bragging rights, the company offers a premium version. Launched in August 2022, GetGreen+ provides users with the option to spend the digital currency as a USD equivalent on various ongoing climate projects.
At $4.99 per month, this format essentially works two-fold in terms of climate benefit. Users are emitting less than before while also helping fund large-scale environmental initiatives.
And this all comes together without the need for messy calculations, power grid considerations, or any of the other minutiae that tend to bog down a lot of climate discussions happening within one’s peer group.
“Climate change is overwhelming,” says Ringer. “Doing something about it doesn’t have to be.”
GetGreen is the latest venture from corporate America into the sphere of gamified sustainability. By priming our brains into thinking we are doing something for fun or as a competition against others, we can often dedicate a greater portion of our attention and effort to completing a given task.
That subtle bit of psychological positioning can then drive a host of cascading effects like increasing audience reach, driving engagement, and demonstrating activity in line with societal norms. These effects are essential for the sustainability trend to find a more permanent home in our day-to-day lives, much like Apple’s Health app did for millions of step-obsessed Americans in recent years.
Just how large Ringer and Stafford expect GetGreen to become is tough to tell. For now, the focus is just as much on growth as on standing out from several existing apps that gamify pro-planet behaviors.
Companies like SAP and Toyota have mechanisms in their software that track car emissions and encourage reductions, much like GetGreen. There is also WeSpire, which has worked with giants like McDonald’s and Sony to create their own workplace challenges. Whatever it may be, more climate involvement is never a bad thing.