Nature of Business radio, created and hosted by Chrissy Coughlin, is a weekly show on business and environment.
I had been really looking forward to my conversation this week with Recyclebank's CEO, Jonathan Hsu. The last time we spoke, we were at the GreenBiz Innovation Forum at the time they were set to announce their game-changing partnership with Waste Management.
When we talked, Jonathan was brimming with delight. Just as Recyclebank is no nowhere close to slowing down, neither is Jonathan's belief in the mission of his organization: Engaging and motivating people to take everyday green actions and reward them for doing it (with over 3,000 deals and discounts from local and national businesses). We talked about the latest partnerships, their rapid growth, the average member profile, gaming for good, our future generations, and much more.
With 3.2 million members and growing, Recyclebank is the world's largest consumer-facing sustainability platform and one that positions them well to clear the path for a world where nothing is wasted. And they make it fun and engaging. This is key. In a world where people are feeling increasingly isolated despite all of the technology out there, people want to learn but also be connected - part of a larger cause related community. Fortunately for Recyclebank this is baked in its value prop.
These everyday green actions include increased recycling, reduced energy and water use, smart transportation decisions, food purchasing decisions. Things that a lot of us want to do everyday but just need a little nudge and peer pressure/support.
Rewards don't hurt either. And businesses see the value in this. For them it builds brand loyalty, associates their companies with green causes, and, yes, increases market share. Win-win.
Jonathan sums it up:
We get individual member and consumer involved and provide opportunities to make a difference and to be rewarded and recognized for it. We have a number of very strong partners that all want to get involved. And I think that the reason for this is that the concept of sustainability in its broadest thought is that we are all interconnected as individuals and as corporations, government entities, communities. I think we have all gotten the joke now that we ought to take responsibility in a good way for everything that we do both upstream and downstream. Recyclebank is by far the value prop that all of these big companies want to work with because everyone wants to make a difference -- even big corporations.
And I would be remiss if I left out Jonathan's commitment on a personal level. He has two daughters and wants to see a better world for them. He is very hopeful about this prospect if his daughter's green actions are any indication. They take him to the mat on a daily basis (yes, even the two year old) and is a hopeful reminder that responsibility and stewardship are becoming increasingly imbedded in the DNA of our younger generations.
In three-plus years from now, Jonathan is hopeful that we will see up to 10 million members and that Recyclebank will be part and parcel of everyday life. Their challenge is also an opportunity: to make sure that every decision they make is for the benefit of the member. When everyone likes you and wants to be aligned with you, it takes discipline and ferocity to say no. Pretty great position to be in!
George Papoulias edited this podcast
Jonathan Hsu photo courtesy of Recyclebank.