“We strive to nudge people’s behaviour towards more sustainable living practices”, said one interviewee in our market research this spring. Spark's carbon calculator was found to provide a concrete tool for doing this.
Note: In a previous post findings relating to engaging employees in companies' climate work were presented.
During the Spring of 2022, Spark Sustainability has met with over 30 larger firms and municipalities to better understand their climate-related challenges. One of the goals has been to deepen the understanding of firms’ marketing strategies when it comes to highlighting the positive climate impact of their products and services. What’s interesting is to see that there has been a huge change in how companies talk about climate change during the past few years.
More than half of Finns want climate guidance and think the lack of information on emission- reducing solutions is an obstacle to taking climate action (Ilmastobarometri 2019).
As a solution, Spark Sustainability is building tools that help consumers identify truly climate-smart products and show them how different kinds of products can help them reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, truly climate-smart businesses get a chance to stand out from the crowd.
“When we first started developing our data model for emission calculations in 2018 there were yet no other Finnish actors providing an overview of where individuals’ emissions come from. Today, over 30 000 people have tried our website calculator or the calculator in the Carbon Donut app in order to find out their lifestyle emissions!” says Amanda Rejström, CEO of Spark Sustainability.
“We’re clearly on to something, and this is what sparked the idea of also letting other companies benefit from our model” Rejstöm continues.
Spark Sustainability is currently doing a pilot with ReFurn, a Swedish refurbishing and second hand furniture company. Here, Spark’s data model is used to calculate the carbon handprint, i.e. the positive climate impact of using ReFurn’s services.
Website visitors have shown curiosity towards these carbon handprints, and based on their feedback the next step is to make the numbers more tangible.
Findings from talking to over 30 companies during the Spring of 2022 suggest that especially firms that have sustainability at the very core of their business are highly interested in promoting sustainability beyond their own field and spreading awareness of sustainability in general. These companies strive to “nudge people’s behaviour towards more sustainable living practices”, as one interviewee put it.
In addition to carbon handprint calculations, Spark Sustainability offers customers licensing of a web-based carbon calculator. The calculator can be tailored to each customer company to match brand image in terms of visual appearance, language, and choice of words in the questions, and certain areas of interest, such as for instance diet or transport, can also be highlighted with the use of more questions – or left out completely, all depending on the customer’s needs and wishes.
“Licensing our web-based carbon calculator is brand building at its best — it’s a message indicating that your company values sustainability in a far more holistic way than simply looking after your own production line. It doesn’t matter whether sustainability is at the core of your business or just something that is important for your team and that you only recently have started planning to incorporate in your marketing. What counts is that the calculator offers an individualised and honest overview of each customer’s lifestyle emissions, and more importantly, a visualisation of how your product or service can help the customer reduce their emissions” Rejström explains.
A similar calculator, Sitra’s Lifestyle test has been completed almost 1,3 million times – which clearly shows that Finns are curious to know their lifestyle carbon emissions. Offering both the possibility to calculate one’s carbon emissions and a product or service that reduces them is something that intrigued the companies we’ve talked to
During our discussions, several companies brought up that communication around sustainability and emissions is not always easy. Hence we've decided to include support in communication around the calculator as part of the package.
Electricity firms in particular have shown a strong interest in highlighting the positive climate impact of their emission-free electricity with the help of Spark's carbon calculator.
“The energy sector is going through an especially critical phase now with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It now becomes more important than ever to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Showing the climate impact of this choice in a clear and visual way in just a few clicks is a great addition to the electricity contract sales funnel”, Rejström says.
Switching electricity contracts to emission-free electricity is one of the lowest hanging fruits when it comes to reducing your lifestyle carbon emissions. Even if living in a small apartment, individuals can reduce their overall lifestyle emissions around 4%.
“In a moment where electricity prices are high due to the geopolitical situation, highlighting the climate benefit can help move the needle on sales.” says Rejström.
Does your company have a truly climate-smart product whose benefits you’d like to show in comparison to other products? Or does one of your services help customer’s reduce emissions? Then licensing of our website calculator or our carbon impact plug-in might be of interest! Send us a message on email@example.com and let’s discuss how our products could help communicate the climate-benefit of your products or services.
Spark Sustainability leverages emission data to improve customer loyalty and employee engagement for our partners. We consult businesses in emission calculations and offer digital tools that highlight the climate benefits of low-carbon products.
Pauliina is a master’s student in development studies who has a soft spot for anything vintage and gets way too excited about cosy cafés.
Lapinlahdenkatu 16, 00180 Helsinki