There are more than 500 action items one can do to become more sustainable. Susan Hunt Stevens, founder and CEO of Practically Green, says she’s mastered about 138 of them. And now she and her green compadres are making it even easier to do the little things to become more sustainable with the June 6 launch of their new app, “One Small Act” in conjunction with Green is Universal.
I had the honor of sitting down with Susan virtually on Twitter earlier this week in a Q&A session that covered the exciting growth of Practically Green, gamification for sustainability, and other growing trends in sustainability. Here’s the session, which is also found at #SusStory on Twitter.
Q1. Getting started here…can you talk a bit about how LEED influenced your path into green living?
Sure! The LEED system for green building gave builders a framework to track their choices and the impact–along with recognition.
But I looked at it as a person struggling and saw a helpful format for PEOPLE.
Yet once I figured out–it wasn’t as hard as I thought. But I knew people needed help.Tthat was my motivation—how can I take the best of interactive technology & use it to make green living easier, faster & smarter.
Q2. We love the
#onesmallact mantra. How does this help drive behavior change?
By breaking it into small, impactful steps, we make getting started easier and that encourages a 2nd step and a 3rd .
Q3 What is the
#OneSmallAct Twitter event June 6, at 9pmET?
It’s going to be an extravanga to launch the
#onesmallact iPhone app. I can’t wait!
#Onesmallact app lets you create and check off goals, see celeb tips & info, and contribute to this gorgeous virtual garden.
@ParkHowell: We found that worked well with water conservation. People sad, “Don’t tell me to save water. Show me how.”
Yes, we hear “Just tell me what to do” a lot!
The combination of seeing your own impact and the collective impact of the group, brought to life, is very powerful.
You can also share your choices on Twitter and Facebook to recruit your friends to join you.
We are on the Gamifying Sustainability panel to discuss sustainabilty, social and gamification into the workplace .
We are really excited about the impact our platform is having in helping employees engage in health and sustainability.
Q4B I was introduced to gamifying sustainability at last year’s conf. http://bit.ly/mDvmhb. Is it a big driver for you?
Its funny—because we modeled ourselves after LEED. We were “gamified” before I knew that was the official term.
I just knew that in a world with no metrics (personal sustainability), we needed a framework to measure & compare progress.
And in behavior change where you might not actually “see” the benefits, recognition for accomplishments would be important.
@ParkHowell Gamification is one of those concepts that sneaks up on you because we all like to have fun in our pursuits.
Q5 I understand Practically Green has pivoted its focus from just green consumers to corporate engagement. Fill us in?
As our consumer solution got better known, The phone just started ringing with ompanies asking if we had something for them.
After digging in, we realized that the core tenets of Practically Green: social, gamification and great content, would hold.
In fact, it’s arguably even MORE relevant and helpful because workplaces are natural social networks.
And our clients have great actions for people to take in the workplace that are specific to their corporate strategy and culture.
So we keep Practically Green free for individuals and their friends, but offer a “powered by” solution to companies for stakeholders.
Most stakeholders are employees, but some are customers too.
Q6: Do you find it difficult to keep employees engaged re: they run out of green things to do around the office?
We have over 500 actions b/c most companies include personal actions-just like a wellness program. No running out of things to do.
I do this for a living and think I’ve only tackled 138 out of 500 actions!
@ParkHowell Remember, I’m “fairly” green according to you survey http://bit.ly/MNvZyi, so I’m shamefully negligent. : – (
Every journey has it’s own pace–celebrate where you are, not where you aren’t. Then find a new step to take
@ParkHowell I’ve installed two Blink EV charging stations at our agency http://bit.ly/qnxcp4, but don’t have an EV. Yet!
OHHH–we need an action for that! I’ll have to check with our scientist on your points, but yours when we add the action!
Q7: What are the 2 or 3 primary behavior drivers to get people to interact w/your site and be more sustainable?
Generally friends and colleagues (invites, challenges, comments) but also goal reminder emails, relevant product reviews, etc.
Q8: How has your considerable bkgrd in digital media help bring velocity to Practically Green?
People believe you can build an app and people will just use it. I have no such illusions. Great user experience is hard work.
@ParkHowell ALL clients seem to think “Build it and they will come.” Glad you’re driving it. A couple last questions…
Q8: What is the easiest action to get people to begin greening: Water conservation., recycling, turning lights off…
I find the easiest to be enviro-health related, particularly food. Most people can get their heads around avoiding chemicals.
I’m also a big fan of encouraging meatless mondays. Easy, fun and relatively high impact!
Q9: How many companies do you have on the Practically Green platform and what is your goal?
My goal is for everyone to have a personal sustainability plan that they are actively creating, updating and adding steps to.
How many companies now? We are in the mid-teens. Goal: everyone with access to technology?
Q10. What have you found the general public/ consumers have cared most about when it comes to sustainability?
Kids. In general, I think people are waking up to the fact that our enviro practices are hurting the next generation.
I heard that the cost of kids enviro health issues is over $81BB alone.
@ParkHowell Great point. It’s not all about the eco-action, but it’s first about the people: Kids.
Add in that our kids will be the ones dealing with major resource scarcity and the effects of climate change.
We owe it to them to reevaluate how we live, how we do business and make changes .
I would like to thank Susan Hunt Stevens for her time on Twitter, and I’m looking forward to Pratically Green’s gamification presentation at the Sustainable Brands Conference starting this Monday.
See you in San Diego.