Apr 30 - 4min readDriving Change Forward: How Conservation and Environmental Charity Organisations are Using TechBy Jennifer Green
Conservation and environmental charities have their profiles lifted through heightened media coverage on environmental issues that were brought to the surface over the years. While many are already on the radar for digital innovation, we should look are some of the most powerful conversations in social media and mobile, and how environmental charities have been using tech to supplement their calls for action.
Small-scale Charities are Keeping Green Shoppers on Point
Tech-focused, smaller charities are keeping shoppers closer to their green principles than ever with the explosion of shopping apps. The digital strategy is simple, being on mobile phones means that supporters can access information easily when, and wherever they are option.
A UPC scanner app called Buycott, helps those that are dedicated to making changes ensure that their purchases are fair and sustainable. The app works by compiling a global, extensive database of barcodes linked to manufacturers and shops. By scanning an items’ barcode, users of the app can decide based on research whether to continue with the purchase that they want to make. To help motivate specific causes, buycotts can be linked together to form campaigns on a global scale. These items are linked together on the platforms to pursue bans on GMO production, animal testing and unethical manufacturing practices. Other more focused shopping apps include Ethical Barcode, which assists in food shoppers taking charge of where their food is coming from.
Using Images in Your Digital Strategy
The environmental charity Friends of the Earth uses social media such as Instagram to support the climate action campaign. Their recent images included sea destruction in an outline of a person. This highlighted how eco-anxiety can be harnessed to action. Digital leaders have used these emotional video images to capture eco-anxiety and how we can work together to save the planet.
The use of footage and images of burning forests online have ratcheted up into a social media grassroots movement. Major environment and wildfire campaigns have resulted from the ground up. Through video content and social media campaigning, the WWF-UK Australia raised over £1 million in a week, showing the power that content and images have in corralling around causes.
Fast Fashion: Slowing it Down
Fast fashion has become a huge topic in the media over the past few years. Fast fashion has helped send over 235 million items to the landfill each year, according to the London Sustainability Exchange. Apps are coming together to help recycle, slow down and encourage better use. Good on You is a great example of this. Good on You is a sustainable shopping app which helps reduce food waste. They are endorsed by ethical fashion advocate Emma Watson. The app helps inform audiences on which brands are sustainable by rating in addition to an evaluation of the materials used in the clothing production process.
Working with conservation and environmental charities at the forefront is Google, showing how corporate charity partnerships can work. Perfect for charity digital leaders looking for a media and fundraising platform, One Today features a menu of conservation and environment charities. Each photo advertisement is crafted to suit each cause. The Nature Conservancy’s Restore Panda Habitat shows an endearing panda with its baby and includes a suggested donation amount for its habitat. For charities on the platform, transaction fees are waived by Google. For local charity leaders, Google also has an AI Impact Challenge which has a $ 25 million grant funding pool for charities looking to use AI to address local environmental and social issues.
Charity Apps Showcase Collaborations and Partnerships
From local to global charities, charity apps have helped address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. However, for charity digital leaders looking to build up local knowledge of the environment, exemplary apps have helped utilise users and volunteers mobilise.
Hozelock, Garden Organic, Coventry University, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society have come together under a private-public citizen science tech venture. The partners have launched the Blooms for Bees app, which includes a mobile phone app. The app encourages users to go outside, observe plants and take videos and photos of bees to be uploaded for verification. They also worked together to identify the bee species and connect with your local environment. Data is then collected and used by their scientists and digital experts to assist in conservation efforts.
Similar to the Blooms for Bees technology, the British Trust for Ornithology also has an app to engage supporters. Project developers include the RSPB, BirdWatch Ireland, BirdLife International, the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club, and the Welsh Ornithological Society. The project BirdTrack allows supporters to download an app to help manage individual bird sightings. For rare birds, records are sent to the partners for verification. Again, the big data is used to improve conservation efforts in targeted geographies.
Environmental and conservation charities have taken to tech and social media to heighten their call to action. Using digital products in growing organisations and amplifying their voice on environmental issues and making information easily accessible to the general public. Incorporating AI and digital products such as apps into environmental and charitable organisations will drive this sector forward and bring the attention that their causes needs that it greatly deserves.