Tackling the topic of sustainability is no easy task, especially for smaller and medium-sized companies and organizations. While sustainability experts handle this in large companies, SMEs have to tackle the complex issue alongside their day-to-day business. But Crowda, the platform from crowda Sustainability GmbH, makes it easy for SMEs to get more involved in sustainability and actively contribute to it. So how does it work?
Crowda: the partnering agency for sustainable companies
Why not offer in business something that’s long been working for individuals? As a type of partnering agency, Crowda brings together SMEs that want to be more sustainable with providers who can offer customized support in implementing their sustainability goals. We talk to Crowda founding member Ralf Richert about the new platform.
The right sustainability goals for each company
In a first step, Crowda uses an automated situation assessment to determine where the company currently is in terms of sustainability. In a second step, it determines where the company wants to be. Based on an online questionnaire and on the 17 sustainability goals set by the UN, company specific sustainability goals are established for each SME, and these are measurable.
Meet your match with Crowda
And then Crowda’s core know-how comes into play: its fully digital, automated and sophisticated matching algorithm brings together what belongs together in matters of sustainability. The algorithm calculates a score from 0 to 140. The higher the value, the better the two partners fit together – it works in a similar way to any other partnering or dating platform.
Seek and you will find: the perfect business partner for sustainability
In this way, the B2B platform finds suitable projects and services for SMEs to help them tackle their individual sustainability goals. In practice, it could look something like this: on the one side, an SME with two large production sites has set itself the target of making its energy consumption more sustainable. On the other side, there’s a company that offers the installation of solar panels. After partnering, the two sides make contact with each other directly.
Ralf Richert works as Head of Customer Relationship Management and Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility at PostFinance, and is also the ideas generator and one of the three founding members of Crowda. What inspired him to launch Crowda and where does he see the platform when he looks to the future?
How did you come up with the idea for Crowda?
At least two years ago now, a short article in a Sunday newspaper aroused my interest. It’s title was “How can I make the world a little more sustainable?” and it contained the usual tips like “travel less by car” and “eat less meat”. My thought was that of course every little helps, but it would be even better to use the power of the masses, the crowd, to have an effect. Only together can we save the world. The newspaper article was the initial trigger for today’s business idea, which has developed gradually.
In what way has it developed?
We transferred the idea from the private sphere to the business world. We still want to use the power of the masses but more in a B2B arena. Companies, organizations and municipalities hold the keys to sustainable business management and action in accordance with the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals. We’re taking a stand here – and are convinced that sustainability pays off – both for the environment and in terms of business.
What does PostFinance have to do with Crowda?
The collaboration between PostFinance and Crowda is a project partnership. In its sustainability strategy, one of the financial institution’s five goals is to support sustainable innovations in different ways – and Crowda is one of these. From VNTR, the innovation team at PostFinance, we received financial and HR support for the development of the platform. We are very grateful for that. Legally, Crowda is independent and belongs 100% to crowda Sustainability GmbH, which I founded with two other initiators.
What are your goals for Crowda?
My vision is that Crowda will become a movement where, in future, companies won’t even ask the question of whether they want to be a part of it or not. They’ll know that they benefit from the platform – because they’re looking for a business partner for their sustainability goals or because they themselves offer sustainable products and services.