As a kid growing up in the UK in the 70′s, I used to help my Mom collect Green Shield Stamps. I earned one stamp for each 2.5 pence I spent on products in participating stores. I collected the stamps in specially designed books and exchanged them for rebates on everyday items. I still remember this commercial for the program
Well 30 years later the world has moved on and now there’s a new Green Rewards program that doesn’t require consumers to stick hundreds of stamps into silly little books. Earlier this week one of our portfolio companies, Recyclebank, announced the launch of the Recyclebank Ecosystem, a network of companies working together to motivate and reward people to take online and offline green actions. This 21st century version of Green Shield Stamps expands the use of the Recyclebank reward points that Recyclebank has been providing to millions of US and UK consumers since 2006 to reward and incentivize recycling.
Initial partners in the program include established retailers such as Barnes and Noble and Macys, as well as next generation service providers such as ThredUp and RentTheRunway. It is the inclusion of these new collaborative consumption companies in the Reyclebank Ecosystem that particularly excites me. As I discussed in a previous posting, we are seeing an explosion of startups adopting business models that are collectively described as Collaborative Consumption. These include Product Service Systems, such as RentTheRunway and Redistribution Markets, such as ThredUp. Recyclebank Reward Points have the flexibility and convenience to become the universal currency and reward program that powers this new generation of collaborative business models.
Recyclebank also announced this week that it is partnering with Transport for London to develop a program to reward people for cycling and walking in London. This is a great example of how broad this new Green Rewards Ecosystem can become. We anticipate partners working with Recyclebank to reward everyday green actions ranging from recycling, to clothes sharing, to reading ebooks, to taking public transportation and a host of other new business models yet to be thought of.