If you’re looking to step up your sustainability game beyond your day to day behaviors, I recommend looking into supporting a “climate tech” or “clean tech” start-up company. I have provided a summary description of a few of my personal favorites below. All five of these startups allow anyone to “put their money where their mouth is” and invest in a more sustainable future.
1. Ando– Ando is a San Diego-based startup company transforming mobile banking into a force for sustainability. While traditional banks leverage the money their customers deposit in order to finance loans, some of which fund fossil fuel projects, Ando leverages the money to help build out sustainable infrastructure. Even more exciting is the transparency measures the company has taken to show how your money is being used and the impact it has made. If your money is just going to sit there, why not have it help accelerate climate action?
2. Arcadia– Arcadia is a clean energy purchasing company which enables anyone to switch to renewable energy, even if you rent! While the electrons that make up electricity are indistinguishable once they are on the electrical grid, utilities generally use a concept called a Renewable Energy Certificate, or REC, to track who officially used the clean energy on the grid. Arcadia purchases the RECs on your behalf, matching your electricity usage to clean energy generation. Depending on where you live, Arcadia might even save you money! In Kentucky, one might pay around $5.00 a month extra for clean energy.
3. Aspiration– Aspiration is another mobile banking solution for those interested in sustainability. Not only do they not use your money to lend to fossil fuel companies, they give you the option to round up purchases to plant trees and even give you cash back on purchases of socially conscious products!
4. BlocPower– BlocPower is a Brooklyn-based startup solving/tackling many of the world’s problems all at once. This company helps retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient, and provides financing options to help disadvantaged communities share in these energy saving opportunities. Not only does BlocPower aim to lessen the degree of climate change and reduce racial disparities in energy equity, they also use technology in their retrofits which help avoid the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. If you’re interested in funding their work, they are currently raising money via crowdfunding investments. (As always, make sure to do your own homework before investing. Private securities are often difficult to liquidate, so please keep that in mind.)
5. Joro– Joro makes personal carbon tracking easier. By analyzing the purchases on a customer’s credit card and referencing a database of the emissions intensity of a wide range of products, Joro is able to estimate your carbon footprint for you. By knowing which purchases and habits have the largest ecological impact, customers can begin to find more sustainable alternatives. If you run into unavoidable emissions, Joro will also help you offset them!
These five startup companies all have relatively low barriers to entry, and are a great way to start supporting the social entrepreneurs working to tackle the climate crisis. You may have noticed, though, that none of the startups listed above are from the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, there are just not many “ClimateTech” or “CleanTech” startups in Kentucky that are as easy to get involved with as the five companies listed above.