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GreenMoney

End of the month. Pay date. This month you not only collect your salary; you also collect GreenMoney. A global currency for social good. You can use it to buy your locally produced organic carrots and wind-powered electricity.

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Introducing GreenMoney. A global currency for social good.

It trades like any other currency except it has its limitations. It can only be used for identified causes that are certified sustainable/good.

Imagine going to the supermarket to buy carrots. You have the option between the $5 or $8 carrots. The producer of the expensive ones is identified as an organic sustainable business, which means you can use your GreenMoney to either buy this product or offset part of the price thus making the organic choice, the more affordable one.

Now expand this to all purchasing decisions we make. Cars, vacations, furniture etc. 

Business will also report on the amount of GreenMoney they earn thus giving them an opportunity to maximise not only 'normal' profit, but also social/green profit.

Essentially the concept is very simple. One world, one currency. The mind map illustrates some of the many possibilities that they currency could explore. The world is the limit.

How does your concept celebrate, identify or inspire for-profit businesses that act as agents of world benefit?

It makes purchasing 'green' more affordable and it gives companies a financial incentive to focus on it.

How will your concept help us create or leverage stories of world benefit that are sticky and shareable?

Startups with a green/social focus would be able to take GreenMoney loans at attractive interest rates again making the green/social choice the financially attractive one.

What will it take to scale your concept so that its reach is global and widespread?

This is the first true global currency not limited by geographical boundaries. For everyone to use. A non-profit will govern the currency. Either government, company or consumer-run.

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Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Thanks for all the input. I will have a look at reshaping the concept to fit the Singapore challenge.

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Team

DeletedUser

Your idea is great, but I think even that is an organic carrots still shouldn't charge such more than reguler one. So that more people can involve to purchase the sustainable products. But its a great idea for companies to shift to sustainable business, because they realize more profits through this way. However for the customers its not a great thing.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Hao,

Thank you for the feedback. Can you elaborate on why it wouldn't be good for the customers and what could be done to make it good?

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Team

DeletedUser

I think there is several government funds for Green products innovations. So maybe we can use those funds to decrease the price distance between "green goods" and regular goods. Also I think the "sustainable" is not only mean the products sustainable, but also a sustainable management. We could control the produce processes to further reduce the costs, and the price. So that our price become more acceptable. People would like to pay the organic products, because its very healthy, and customers would like to pay more it have more values than the regular one. But I think we also have to consider what's the price that can make more people purchase our products. Just my simple thoughts! Thanks for your reply!

Spam
Photo of Karl Mak
Team

Simon, you might want to check out how Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) system works. Every month 11 - 36% of your monthly salary (depending on your age) is credited into a CPF account. The money in this account can only be used for certain purposes like buying your first house, paying for medical bills..

Perhaps greenmoney could work in a similar manner. Employers could credit an extra % of greenmoney to their employees into a green account that can be used for paying off a hybrid vehicle, paying for other green products etc. Could potentially serve as a win win situation for everyone involved.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Kari,

Thanks and great feedback. I was contemplating putting the concept into the Singapore community challenge once concepting opens. This could be a way to make it happen.

Thanks!

Spam
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Team

DeletedUser

The example of $5 and $8 is a little bit bothering me. People may not buy the $8 carrot only because it is green or sustainable. Well, here I assume the green money and dollars are not exchangeable. And the way to make greenmoney to be attractive is that it has higher buying power. Or maybe it is the exclusive currency to buy some kind of green product.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Yupei,

Thank you for the feedback. Any ideas for how to improve the concept?

My idea was to make GreenMoney and other currencies exchangeable.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

I added an initial MindMap capturing the last week's brainstorm. The raw mindmap is also attached. Feel free to download and play around with it.

I am planning a GreenMoney v. 2.0 before concepting ends in a few days.

Any additional input, angles, feedback etc?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Updated.

The concept remains very much the same. The brainstorm from a few weeks ago serves as inspiration for what the currency could be used for.

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Simon and I are starting a brainstorm on Twitter now. Anybody care to join? Follow #OpenSTORM or #greenmoney hash tags!

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Thank you Arjan for a great brainstorming session on twitter OpenSTORM style.

You can see the raw material (to be edited later) here:

http://sfy.co/jAxx

Enjoy, comment, take it apart and iterate (please).

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Our HMW was as follows:

#OpenSTORM How might a ‘do-good’ currency help innovate for world benefit and inspire others to do the same?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Cleaned up the OpenSTORM session from yesterday:

http://storify.com/ximenfeixue/greenmoney-brainstorm

Check it out and help iterate.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

I am considering how to further develop the concept.

I would love to run a kind of virtual brainstorm with whomever might be interested.

Any ideas for how to do this?

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Sounds like a good idea. Maybe through the Google+ hangouts?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Good idea. I have just signed up for Google+. Do you know if we can do an online brainstorming on Google+ as well or would you recommend a different tool for that.

Who else is up for joining a virtual brainstorming session?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Arjan,

Looks like it is just the two of us. Are you up for a Skype or Google+ session the next couple of days.

I am based in Shanghai, so 6 hours ahead of Germany (where I am guessing you are based).

How about Thursday at 9pm my time / 3pm Germany time?

Both my skype and Google+ id's are ximenfeixue.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Sorry I missed this! Been swamped with emails already. How was the concepting? My two cents' worth is that we can look at models from local currencies? Like the money that's spent within specific towns and given by towns themselves. It keeps the money within a vicinity and rewards people for shopping locally. Though green money is probably more than that, it can borrow some of the same concepts/frameworks?

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Simon, I'd love to, but today is a bit full. How about tomorrow, same time?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Sure. Let's do that. Let me have either your google+ or skype id?

Spam
Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

I'm liking where you're headed with this Simon! Here's a question: it sounds like you're envisioning a governing body like the IMF would 'own' this currency, right? What if it was initially piloted by a company instead?

For example, say a business like Target implemented this Green Money system for its employees. Employees who opt in to receiving part of their pay check in Green Money could then use that currency to purchase certified sustainable products at a discount at any Target store. From there, to help spread the Green Money currency throughout the local economy, perhaps Target could also help facilitate this system being used at other local retailers like auto repair shops, restaurants, etc. What do you think?

I guess the one issue I see with the business implementing this currency is that there may not be the same kind of incentives for that business to *innovate* with world benefit in mind – the currency might change employees' green purchase behaviors, but not necessarily innovate. Anyway, just thought I'd share what I was thinking – maybe it sparks something for you or others?

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for the comments. I agree; it could absolutely be piloted by a company. I was going about it the other way around thinking that someone ought to govern the currency. The worst thing that could happen is that it becomes a target for short term speculation.

I like the example you give with Target. They could in turn also introduce it to its suppliers pushing the green money back up the value chain. Along the way promoting and supporting green choices. Perhaps you could also introduce a way of 'tagging' the money, so that consumers can see how their purchases help drive Target to become more green (using green here for a common denominator for sustainable, innovative, organic etc. choices).

I am picturing a tree in spring slowly turning green as you see the impact of the GreenMoney spreading along its trunk and branches (I will attempt to draw it later..)

Regarding innovation for world benefit I absolutely think it could support this. Take again the Target example. They buy the vast majority of their products in China (I know because I used to deal with them a little..). If they start introducing GreenMoney to their suppliers thus favouring green suppliers, the suppliers will have a hard cash incentive to innovative in becoming greener suppliers, which in turn will have a positive impact in China where they employ people, source product etc.

Wow. Great conversation already. That's what I love about this place.

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Interesting concept. And I agree that this green money can be used to encourage innovation. A lot rides now on the premise that 'green' or 'socially responsible' products are actually more expensive to produce, and therefore have a higher consumer price. But with this green money, producers have an incentive to find ways of producing green and responsible products at a lower price, taking more profit from the green money spendings. I've heard of an energy innovation that actually made it possible to produce renewable energy at an equal or even lower price per KWh than coal (I believe that is the cheapest now). Imagine that: green money spurring innovations that make 'good' products more cost efficient than 'bad' products! In Umair Haques book, or the TED talk by Ray Anderson I shared in the inspiration phase, there are more examples of this principle to be found.

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Thanks for the feedback.

Ideally GreenMoney would inspire a virtuous cycle as you are indicating.

I will have a look at the TED talk.

Spam
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Team

DeletedUser

I love how this puts an actual value on doing good. Having something like this to monitor one's own "good" progress is great. I'd love to actually see something like this incorporated into bank systems, so when people view their account balances, they also see their GreenMoney balance. That way, they get a sense of how much they're able to make a difference.

Spam
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Team

Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!

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DeletedUser

Fascinating idea, Simon! To Ashley's point of encouraging innovation, I wonder if there's some potential here to reward impact investing. When investors invest in social ventures, sometimes they accept below market rate returns because of the social value of what they invest in. But if the investors can receive dividends in green currency (or accumulate equity in green currency) related to the amount of positive social impact the venture is creating, this could make investing in social ventures more attractive. Additionally, if the venture itself is able to accumulate green currency, it could use it as capital to grow (for instance, they could use green currency to buy clean energy to support operations).

(In some cases, social ventures have market rate, or even better than market rate returns, but this idea could work there, too.)

Spam
Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Jane,

Yes, yes, yes. I completely agree. Very good point.

It makes me think of the flip side. Who would decide what is considered 'green' and what isn't. I would hate for the idea to come with a whole lot of red tape because each and every business would have to be certified once a year opening up for all sorts of possibilities to corrupt the system.

Thoughts anyone?