Saving the planet through data – Environmental Data Accelerator

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Data is the new gold. Many have said it before.

Except it’s the opposite: gold is a scarce resource. And there’s plenty of data going around. We generate data out of nowhere, each of us, on a daily basis. The so-called gold is not just data, but actionable data. Data that you can use to make better decisions.

At Fairforce we care about environmental decisions. Decisions that companies and professionals can make, to maximize their carbon handprint.

I personally believe that people could do much more for the environment, but they don’t because of lack of data transparency. People do their best, they choose products that they think have a positive impact. From the options they have. And with the information they have. And making the trade-offs they know about.

But people need better data to make decisions

This applies to customers, who decide which product or service to buy. One product claims to be recyclable, another one to have lower consumption, another one was built in a factory that runs on renewable energy. They end up deciding based on fashionable preferences.

But it also applies to professionals, who decide what products to bring to the market. Or decide what actions to take. In the best case scenario they rely on Life Cycle Assessment, a number of assumptions, and pulling through their whole value chain.

It also applies to investors, who decide which resources or companies to invest in based on uneven information. And it also applies to public institutions who make policies to encourage behavior that is good for the environment.

This applies to all of us, in whichever role we are. There are plenty of incentives to analyze data, and we want to focus on those saving the planet through it.

We (humankind) can do better

Don’t get me wrong: the information that we have is a good start. But it’s not enough. All experts I’ve discussed with agree: data is the bottleneck. Getting good quality data that you can use to drive better decisions.

But environmental data is not the only thing we believe in. We also believe in the power of innovation through startups. And the power of startups working together.

Photo by Raquel Martínez on Unsplash

That’s why we’ve set ourselves on a quest to find the best startups dealing with environmental data. We have a vision of real-time transparent environmental data throughout the value chain. And we believe it requires a whole ecosystem to build that. It requires companies that:

  • gather high quality data (e.g. through sensors), who provide reliable information about emissions, consumption, or goods throughout the value chain;
  • make sense of the vast amounts of data that are currently available, aggregate the data and make it easy for consumers to access it, compile data, and/or share it;
  • turn data into insights, who translate the data into actionable items for consumers, who show data in a digestible way, who process it and transform chaos into meaning;
  • enable data for people to transact and invest based on it, trade, purchase, etc;
  • automate decisions based on that data, react to data in real time and enable decision-makers to focus on the bigger picture.

We want to see a world in which, when you buy a product, you know the footprint of the product you’re buying. Not of that type of products, but of that item in particular. And not through a gimmick, but through reliable sources. And we know our picture is incomplete: we’re looking for those green companies that will complement our vision in ways we don’t yet imagine!

I know that sounds ambitious. It is. That’s why we’re looking for great companies to go side by side with.

Are you one of those? Then you should check out our accelerator, and how our community of professionals can help you!

Green startups of the world, let’s work together

That’s why we’ve decided to organize an accelerator of sorts.

I say an accelerator because we want to give those companies a boost. We’ve set up a program in which we will help those companies in their business development, setting them up in meetings with parties that will take them to the next level.

And I say of sorts because it won’t be an accelerator as usual. Because it will be valuable for green startups of different sizes. With our model of work for equity, we make it trivial for the startups participating to work with the best professionals in exchange for equity. Anything from an advisory role to somebody providing legal services. Anything from a person running a social media campaign for you, to a country manager.

The program is structured as a compact 14-week accelerator program because we have seen the benefits of such a structure. Both Antti and myself have organized accelerators with companies such as Nordea, OTP Bank, Nokia or Microsoft among others. We have arranged hundreds of meetings for our startups in the past, and we are committed to continue doing that with green companies in Fairforce.

So, is this for you?

It certainly is if you share our vision of environmental data. Or if you want to have access to top talent without having to raise capital. Or if you want to be part of this new and fair way of growing companies, that has the benefits of crowdfunding and matchmaking.

If that’s the case, apply here!

And if you’re not sure, ping me and let’s jump on a call! ([email protected]). Be it through the accelerator or in other ways, we want to talk with you about saving the planet together!

Let’s recognize the greenest professionals

It’s no secret that we have an environmental crisis to address. However, the part that’s less noticed is how, as humankind, there are many initiatives that are going on.

Many professionals are taking steps in making the world better and greener through business. Therefore, it’s heartwarming and inspiring, to the mind and to the soul, to see what those people are doing. We do that every day, and we want to share it with the world.

We’ve decided to recognize those individuals. And we’ve decided to do that in the form of a group conversation around lists.

Our student ambassadors are making Fairforce lists of professionals who have had the greatest impact on the environment. Hence, they’ve researched the individuals and their digital presence and achievements, curated the list, and published it on our website.

Here’s where you come in

Those lists are just a start – draft of sorts. Therefore, we want you to tell us how to make those lists better. In fact, we want you to tell us:

  • who we’re missing
  • whether the criteria should be different
  • what other lists we should have
  • if we have somebody we shouldn’t
  • what we can make to have more impact with these lists
  • how else can we recognize these individuals
  • … anything else you come up with, related to the lists!

All lists have a form at the end, where you can engage with the authors of the list. Help them make the list better!

Let’s recognize the best professionals in that field together.

Professionals, for scale

In our lists our student ambassadors have had a clear bias: a bias towards impact at scale.

While we all have a part to play as consumers, it’s as professionals where we can have the greatest impact. By reducing the footprint of others – because they use your greener products or services because you’ve altered their behavior because you’ve given them greener options… – you increase your handprint. Moreover, by reducing the footprint of thousands, you have a handprint that’s thousands-fold!

We need to think in that scale if we expect to save the planet. Also, we need to think about those having the biggest impact on society, on consumers, on the behavior of many others. Lastly, we need to recognize those who have a multiplying effect.

It’s a bias. But one we want to have. Thus, we believe in saving the planet through business.

So, if you’re with us, help us make those lists amazing!

When you become aware, you become responsible

Picture of Elina Aaltolainen-HarjuojaI was born into an ordinary working-class family in the late 70s. My father was a local priest. My mother was a nurse who stayed home to take care of our family of six. Nature was part of our values and daily lives: we learned both to care for it and to enjoy it.

We filled the frost with all the superfood the Finnish forest provided us. We ate mostly vegetarian, recycled waste, mom made our clothes, and everything was repaired if skills allowed. Showers were quick, we kept the apartment cold, and we traveled abroad only once in my childhood. We did so because it was the right thing to do, and because we did not have a lot of money.

In 40 years, the world changed a lot. More money came into my life. I bought clothes from the store instead of my mother making them. Prices and quality dropped, so it was easier to throw them away than to fix them. We bought exotic fruits flown from abroad instead of picking blueberries. We flew south several times a year.

The increase in wealth changed my behavior gradually. It was not because I did not care.

I did not understand the big picture

Now, as a middle-aged family mother, I see more and more of my own mother’s behaviors in myself. I remind my children of turning off the lights and taking long showers. I push more and more vegetarian food into our everyday food. We grow salads in our backyard. We buy used clothes and our toddlers get recycled toys. Trips are to the local lakes, instead of abroad.

The reason is of course an understanding of the environmental threats we are facing. I am concerned about the future.

And at the same time, I am very aware of being lucky enough to choose. I have been trying to drop my family’s carbon footprint. And I have been wondering how to make my company greener.

But how do I know it is worth it?

I have sometimes felt like my efforts are a drop in the ocean. The same things that made my own behavior worse for the environment are going to do the same to many people.

In the upcoming decades more than a billion people will have more wealth, enough to wear cheap clothes, buy toys for their children, and trips abroad. And rightfully so, we are all entitled to comfort for us and our children! We cannot (and should not) deprive anybody of the dream of a financially better future).

The baseline is: people are going to consume. The best way to save the planet is to make sure that their consumption has a lower environmental impact. To make sure all consumption has a lower environmental impact.

We must influence where the money is spent

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a former colleague. He told me about FairForce. After the pitch, I knew this was something I believed in. And something I could help with. He invited me to join as an Ambassador to help companies that want to be greener or become green. To ensure an increase in green choices. To give every consumer the opportunity to choose a sustainable, more environmentally friendly option.

In addition, Fairforce is, as its name implies, fair. It is fair to nature, fair to people, fair to green organizations, fair to investors and fair to professionals who help the company succeed.

I was brought up with one concept about responsibility: when you become aware of a problem you become responsible for doing something about it. You are responsible for taking the first step toward the better. And even for those of us who understand the big challenge we are facing with sustainability, the right choices are not always easy to make.

That is another reason why I am happy to be part of FairForce. It is a network of competent professional people from different fields, bringing their knowledge and passion to solve something no one could do by themselves: a sustainable future for our children, our children’s children.

What will remain the same? My passion to build companies towards a healthier corporate culture. From now on, healthier will also mean greener. Do you share my passion?

Roles, processes and opportunities in Fairforce

So you’ve decided to maximize your carbon handprint. You’re convinced by our exchange of professional skills with needs at green companies. And you are with us in that people should get rewarded fairly, in shares, so that they’re part of the growth of that company. Fairforce is the right community for you. You’re in.

Now what?

I’ve been lately discussing with a number of ambassadors (current and soon-to-be), and some questions are consistent. So how does the process go? What do I do? What do I get? That’s why I’ve decided to put together this post… and to open the platform already for you to sign up early and be part of the movement.

The first step is to connect with the community

And the channel for that is signing up with the signup form you’ll find in our website (and below this post). That way we know more about you, have a way to contact you, and you get to see what we’re up to in real time!

I can proudly say we’re in the very early stages of building Fairforce. And that means that what you’ll find in there is barebones, for now. But once you’re in there, we can do the hand-holding for you. And for the moment, that will be crafty: we have student ambassadors discussing with our new community members, to make sure we get everything right.

Who are you?

The next step is picking your role. What do you want your role to be in Fairforce? We have 3 roles that you can take. You can take one or more of those roles.

Let’s go through each one of them, and your process if that’s you.

Role 1. You’re a professional looking for green companies

Woman working on a laptopThis is for you if you want to maximize your personal carbon handprint, and the best way you can do it is with what you do best: your professional skills.

And you want to be in it for more than just the pay, you want to be rewarded in shares (without the hassle).

The first step for you will be to fill in your profile and let us know what your superpowers are. Who are you? What are your skills? How can you help the companies grow or become greener?

You also need to let us know what tasks you’re interested in. Two core questions here are:

  • Are you interested in expert/specialist tasks (design, legal, technology, law…), or big picture (overall strategy, business or concept)?
  • Are you interested in working with companies in a role (long term basis, having a position for a year or more), or on doing gigs (they can be longer projects or shorter tasks, but with a clear time limit)?

Based on these, we will be able to match you with the right companies and tasks for your specific case. And when we do so, we will have a suggestion of the value of those tasks in shares, that you will need to agree to before we proceed.

And the matchmaking magic happens (see below).

Role 2. You have a company and you need to make it grow

This is for you if you need to get things done, and you need good competent vetted professionals. You may want them for projects, tasks or roles, that’s up to you. Oh, and you’re happy to reward them in shares. This tends to work well if you’re a startup, where you have little cash, but getting a competent professional can make your company several times more valuable.

The first step for you is to fill in your company profile, and let us know your needs. What is your company about? What makes it valuable? Where do you need help? Do they have a clear scope?

Young man staring at whiteboardIn your case, the process requires more information, because we need to make sure that the compensation in shares is fair for both sides. The Fairforce community will provide you with a valuation of your company in this point in time, and a measure of the market value of the task that you’re asking for. We use computer-enhanced crowd-sourcing (you could imagine it as an internet of cyborgs), of parties that stand nothing to win or loose with those assessment. The best way of making sure they are fair.

And yet to make sure both sides agree it’s fair, both the professional and the company need to confirm that they find those values fair. Otherwise the deal doesn’t take place. In practice, you confirm that you agree with the values, and Fairforce only matches you with professionals who also find that fair.

And the matchmaking magic happens (see below).

Role 3. You want to be an ambassador and co-founder of Fairforce

This is for you if you want to join our team. We’ve been saying loud and clear that we’re looking ambassadors to join us in starting and managing Fairforce. And we walk the talk, we want to reward those people with shares of Fairforce.

As our ambassador, the activities that you do include:

  • Promoting Fairforce, getting new professionals, companies and ambassadors.
  • Organizing Fairforce activities (events, accelerators, etc.).
  • Assessing the companies, so that the shares that they give away are fair.
  • Assessing the tasks, so that the professionals are rewarded fairly.
  • Validating that the correct implementation of tasks or roles, so that nobody takes advantage of Fairforce, its companies or its professionals.
  • Acting as referee in case of conflict.
  • Evaluating other ambassadors and potential ambassadors.

Of course, we want to be selective with this, and for that once again we use the knowledge of the crowds. To become an ambassador, you’ll have to fill in your professional profile – so that we know who you are – and then apply to be ambassador. We will get in contact with you to get more information, and existing ambassadors will decide if they accept you at the moment.

Keeping it all tidy

Feedback sheetThere’s some level of magic on the process above. How does the matchmaking happen in a way that is fair for all parties? How do you manage this process? And how do you make the equity process hassle-free?

We use a combination of knowledge of the crowds, enhanced with artificial intelligence. I already described how ambassadors assess the valuation of companies, and the value of work. And our technology helps coordinate their different points of view, in a way that the final assessments are more precise. And it also feeds them the right information, so that the tasks are easy.

But they do much more than that. They also make sure things stay on course. When you’re connecting people, there’s always the chance of disagreement, and in those disagreements you need a neutral third party to step in and resolve the conflict. Fairforce takes that role, with the help of ambassadors. Our ambassadors judge whether a task has been properly done, to the level that the professional had agreed with the company.

This combination of technology, competent individuals benefiting from their role in Fairforce, and the right processes, makes Fairforce a doomsday machine of sorts: everybody wins by making Fairforce stronger.

For this to work, the network has to be highly curated

Our ambassadors must be reliable and trustworthy. They must be committed to the end goal of growing Fairforce. Companies need to be valuable and reliable (and have the potential for growth). And professionals need to be vetted. All parts need are good to start with, and by being in Fairforce they become even better.

That’s why we’re growing Fairforce in a steady way. At the moment, we’re not looking to have the biggest numbers: we’re first onboarding the most competent ambassadors and professionals we know. And once we have a critical mass, we will start onboarding the most promising startups on our first accelerator. At each step we look carefully at who joins the Fairforce, because those people are co-founders to us.

Are you interested in being part of this journey? Sign up, apply to become an ambassador, and we’ll get in touch. To be co-founders, we need to know each other. Let’s get to know each other.

Technology and digitalization, making the world greener

Picture of Teemu KiviojaMother Earth is suffering. It’s important that both companies and individuals drive sustainability and reduce carbon footprint. And technology is key for this.

Digitalization and technology define our modern times. And many of the difficulties we have with the environment have come from the use of technology. But also some of the greatest things we’ve done for the environment. And technology can be also the key driver to make our word greener, and a better place to live. And in particular, digitalization can transform the way we do business, and make our behavior as humans more sustainable.

Technology comes from big and small

Examples of technology making our world greener are already part of our daily living: renewable power sources (like windmills and solar panels), sustainable food alternatives, electric cars and so on. These solutions are often developed by big global companies. Sometimes, an individual professional may think: but what can I do?

A lot! Even small companies and individual professionals can drive the change and make a huge impact. Seemingly simple and small innovations can greatly reduce carbon footprint, and support sustainability. Every professional, considering the environment in their decisions, has an impact. Every product or service that is efficient has an impact.

Go green in & off duty

But our potential of our actions goes beyond our day-to-day decisions at work. I consider myself very close to nature. Nature has a big role in my hobbies: hiking, fishing, biking etc. It’s a key part of my life. And this fuels my focus at work. I love to develop innovative and green solutions that make our world greener and reduce carbon footprint. It means that I do what I’m best at, and contribute to what makes me happy. I can say that I support green values during my free time and in my work.

I’m proud to be part of Fairforce: I believe we can make a huge impact together.

Planet. Business. Profit. People.

Picture of Kalle LainePeople’s ethical choices do make a huge difference. Still they alone are not enough to hardwire a sustainable economic system that could save our planet, or help people and communities living on it. To change the game, we need to make use of the huge power of market economy and capital allocation.  

Ethical alone is not enough

Only very few people on Earth can survive without getting a paid job. An ethically minded individual may want to allocate a part of her time and effort to charity, but the necessity of individual survival constrains these choices – most people need a paid job to live.

In market economies, most people make their living from what companies do, directly or indirectly through taxation. Companies can create jobs and pay salaries and taxes if they make money and grow. If they don’t, they go belly up. Ethically minded companies may do great choices with an impact. But still, to survive, they always are constrained by the necessity of making money and grow.

Companies need investors. May it be an entrepreneur or a manager of a huge pensions fund, she bets her own money and sweat, or other people’s savings, in a hope of return. An ethically minded investor may allocate part of her portfolio to no-financial-return-charity, but the necessity of survival constrains her choices.

In the great play of saving our planet, there is a number of protagonists. In fact, every human being, organization and society plays a role. Want it or not. And whatever the players choose to do on the scene, every one of them is inspired by opportunities and constrained by their need of individual survival and budget – never mind their good intentions. Changing this constraint may make the difference between tragedy and comedy.

To win, green alternatives must be made a good business and investment

We can do that, and here is the how: Make green business better than alternatives as a business and investment. Better for businesses and people means it does the job for them better than alternatives do. To hardwire a sustainable economic system that can save our planet, we need to make use of the huge power of market economy and capital allocation.

Fairforce.tech is set up for this job. It is set up to help companies become green. It is set up to enable competitive green companies to start, become better, raise capital, grow and prosper. It is set up to enable profitable investment to green businesses. It builds on the idea of co-entrepreneuring and fair pay for people. So why not do it, together.

Planet, Profit and I

Picture of Helena RauhalaFrom a very young age, I have been interested in environmental issues. Most of my life I have lived in Southern Finland, which has led me to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors and wildlife of our planet. My interest in climate change has only grown since I started my master’s studies last year. During different courses, I learned more about sustainability and fighting against climate change while doing business. 

I am also interested in doing business and understanding how the markets work. That is why I am majoring in my studies in International Marketing Management so that I would learn about strategic decision-making and marketing analytics. Moreover, in my future career, I want to do successful business with a sustainable approach.

I believe in the combination of People, Planet and Profit

The triple bottom line summarizes well the value every business should aim for. I want my future employer to share similar values as me and this will become a current matter next year when I will enter the job market.

Therefore, I need to acquire more knowledge about the topic. Joining Fairforce’s Student Ambassador internship program is a perfect fit as it is about growing green companies.

Why I joined the internship program 

I want to learn. I have gained theoretical knowledge about Marketing from my studies but during this internship, I will have a chance to take my knowledge into practice. This internship will help me gain real-life competencies and experience in online marketing and team leadership – the essential skills of today’s marketing managers.  

I want to be part of a community. I gain motivation by working in an innovative environment with like-minded people. Fairforce is a community of green hearted professionals working together. Moreover, we get to work in a creative and experimental environment, where we are encouraged to try different things every week.  

I want to make a difference in the world. I am enthusiastic about the topic of working for a greener tomorrow and I want to share this message with people all around the world. By being part of this green community and finding ways to reduce society’s carbon footprint, I can have a significant impact to make the world a better place.

Climate change affects all walks of life

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Picture of Christie ChongGrowing up in Hong Kong, I have experienced first hand the effects of this climate crisis: frequent tropical storms, warmer and shorter winters, and diminishing air quality. All this can be changed. Climate change is an issue intertwined with everyone, not just the activists and tree-huggers. It is true that donating to environmental groups and participating in that one beach clean-up can help solve this issue. However, I believe in taking more impactful actions to make a lasting impact.

There must be something better that we can do

Reading more about social entrepreneurship made me realize what role businesses can play in solving world issues such as climate change. Like how Tesla has revolutionized the automobile industry by making electric cars more accessible. The Fairforce student ambassador program showed me such a solution. It showed me how to take action on a larger scale: by bridging the practicalities of the commercial world with the desire to do good in the not-for-profit sector.

Having interned roughly a month at Fairforce, I can confidently say that my experience here was empowering. Fairforce’s experimental approach to learning and working allowed room for much growth and development. With the freedom to explore different approaches to tackling different aspects of running Fairforce, this helped me to build my confidence while gaining real-life experiences.

Hailing from a liberal arts college, I never had the opportunity to take courses like business management or marketing. Despite this, I still managed to thrive at Fairforce by applying the skills I have developed from an interdisciplinary background such as research and written communication skills. 

Awareness is key

At the same time, experimentation meant that I have to be more acutely aware of the decisions I made and how it would reflect not only on myself but on Fairforce as a whole.

Student ambassadors connect Fairforce with the wider community of green-hearted professionals and experts. This meant that I have to reflect on what sort of message I will be conveying as a student ambassador as I send out promotional material, emails, and blog posts while considering what climate change and sustainability meant to myself.

Watching Fairforce grow as a result of our work while knowing that Fairforce will serve a greater purpose is always a source of fulfillment. 

It’s is not just an internship, it is a community

Working remotely meant that I was able to meet and collaborate with people from different places. Armed with diverse experiences and knowledge, but united in the mission to create a greater carbon handprint, Fairforce’s student ambassador program is a community of green-hearted students committed to fighting climate change by taking action. Yes, climate change affects all walks of life, so all the more reason to take action. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

So much to do

Picture of Kalle PykäläComing from a family of entrepreneurs, I guess it was evident that one day I would become one as well. I spent 10 years with start-up’s and growth companies prior to co-founding the first private wind power company in Finland 10 years ago.

The decision was big for me in many ways. I didn’t only start a company. I moved back from Stockholm. And I started in an industry which we co-founders quite literally knew nothing about.

Humble beginnings can lead to big things

Our initial aim was to reach 300 MW of Finnish wind capacity, and we achieved that last year. Robust analysis and good old gut feeling led us on this path.

But haven’t stopped there. Quite the opposite. It makes me very proud that our company has combated climate change in so many measurable ways. One example is that we have enabled investments of some €1.5B into Finland (a good portion of that being Google’s data center).

If this isn’t a proof that humble beginnings can lead to big things, then I don’t know what is!

There is so much left to do

On my free time I spend a lot of time in nature — everyday with my working golden retriever and several times per year on my off-grid cottage in Finnish Lapland. Being an entrepreneur has also enabled me to realize my dream of buying a boat that I have always wanted to have.
And there I see how much we still have left to do. One clear example: I constantly get reminded that there is a lot that needs to be done to clean up the Baltic Sea.
I have experienced many twists and turns. I have experienced them with various companies. It would be a pity to stop here. It would be a pity not to share my knowledge with the community of Fairforce. Life is a journey, not a destination. And that journey is much more fun and rewarding together.
There is much left to do. And we can do it together in Fairforce.

I want them both

Picture of Timo SaraketoI live on a farm and experience living with nature every day. I installed solar panels on my farm. I don’t fly much. I just acquired an organic food company and I’m getting closer to nature every day. And I don’t think it’s enough. We should always be looking for ways of being a bit greener.

I’m also an investor and entrepreneur. I’m a board member of several companies, including a bank and a forest management company. I enjoy doing that. I think I add value to them. 

Both the environment and my business activities are close to my heart. And I want to be part of something that changes the way we live and do business.

Fairforce is the first serious initiative that starts to combine the two. I see this as an opportunity to participate in helping green companies or companies who are becoming greener. I can invest or work for green companies, or I can find the resources for my own companies. And I believe in paying work with shares. It’s fair. 

I like that. Fair. Fair for nature and for businesses that can operate without a need for big funding. It’s a way to have skin in the game, and that is fair for all parties involved.

Our skin is literally on the line anyway. And our grandchildren’s. And I want them to live and enjoy the same nature that I do. That’s why I take steps towards a greener world. That’s why I am a Fairforce Ambassador.