Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter PBC is encouraging creators to build their design and technology products with environmental responsibility in mind with the launch of its new information hub, the Environmental Resource Center. The hub offers features that help creators embed environmental considerations into their creations.
Kickstarter has also launched a space where project creators are asked to publicly commit to environmental practices.
As a public-benefit corporation, Kickstarter is “obligated to consider the impact of its decisions on society, not just on shareholders,” says chairman and CEO Perry Chen. Kickstarter worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to conceptualize and develop the new features.
The public is showing increased interest in knowing how products are made and how they’ll impact the planet, according to EDF president Fred Krupp. The new Kickstarter features will help scale sustainability throughout the entire Kickstarter network and beyond, he says.
The Environmental Resource Center presents case studies and best practices from industry experts on how to assess, adopt, and communicate sustainability efforts. It also includes links to information around the web, serving as a “starting point for research,” the organization says.
Some of the best practices the hub suggests include:
- Considering how a product can be repaired if it breaks;
- Designing a product with recycling in mind (for example: “black plastics aren’t usually seen by optical recycling sorting systems, causing them to end up in landfills”);
- Thinking carefully about packaging (for example: “use sustainable filling materials like organic starch cushioning, instead of styrofoam”).
Asking for a Commitment to the Environment
Kickstarter is calling its other new feature an “important change to its core service.” When creators are getting ready to launch design and technology projects, the website will ask them to commit to reducing their environmental impact in five key areas: long-lasting design, reusability and recyclability, sustainable materials, environmentally friendly factories, and sustainable distribution.
Their responses will appear in a new “Environmental Commitments” section of their project pages.
These features will reach thousands of people who are on the path to making a product, as well as the people who choose to support them.
Over the past year, 9,500 design and technology projects were launched on Kickstarter, attracting more than a million supporters.
“We’ve seen an increased interest from the public in knowing how products are made and how they’ll impact our planet. Creators who are thinking innovatively about ways to produce sustainable products will gain an advantage,” said EDF president Fred Krupp. “The Environmental Resource Center is an important new tool for scaling sustainability throughout the entire Kickstarter network — and beyond.”