Sustainable living made fun – greenApes shows its worth as a change agent in Florence city
October 4, 2016
The GoApes for Sustainable Cities project, or GoApes, is at the forefront of promoting sustainable lifestyle through its greenApes social networking platform (www.greenapes.com) and GoApes features. The platform offers real rewards in a fun and interactive way to app users pursuing a more sustainable way of life, while generating open and engaging means for local communities, businesses and cities to go green.
“greenApes leverages social media dynamics, gamification techniques and real life rewarding”, comments GreenApes CEO and Cofounder Gregory Eve – “citizens can share stories around their real life eco-friendly behaviours, can suggest tips and be inspired by others while collecting BankoNuts (points), which can then be spent to access special eco-friendly rewards offered by partner organizations. Through the EC-funded frontierCities programme, we were able to strengthen significantly the GreenApes service offer by developing and launching the goApes functionalities, making it possible to reward users for sustainable mobility choices automatically validated via smartphone integrations (also with external apps) and real-life interactions with local partners, such as public transport companies”.
But the platform’s strengths don’t end there. Not only is it accessible via native Android, iOS and web apps, but it can cater for different needs and different contexts. While greenApes overall mission and raison d’etre is global, the greenApes experience can be customised to serve context-based needs”, explains Eve, - “different cities can have specific expectations and priorities and we can support and cater for these individual needs”.
"The development of goApes functionalities has taken place leveraging on FIWARE technology (Orion and Mongo Generic Enablers) and this enabled exciting advancements, which allowed us not only to certify sustainable mobility actions, but also to connect to third party apps. This is a great opportunity to support and cooperate with local initiatives and solutions " adds Eve.
Building on earlier work through another EU-supported initiative, greenApes has been trialling in Italy (Florence) and Germany (Essen), and the results to-date have been highly promising. “During our trialling in Florence we’ve already developed relationships with more than 40 eco-venues and commercial partners”, comments Eve, “including restaurants, bars, stores, organisations supporting sports and cultural events, farm-houses and even e-commerce businesses. And in Essen, we’re co-designing a citizen engagement plan looking forward to 2017, year in which Essen will be European Green Capital”.
The Florence trial has been a valuable source of learning for greenApes, not to mention providing a significant boost in the platform’s visibility. The Florence pilot has involved developing user reward partnerships with the local transport and waste management companies, as well as integrating with the lCar2go car-sharing scheme. Not only has GreenApes built up a considerable user base of citizens but it also looks like it might be a real change agent in supporting cities achieve their sustainable development agendas. “More than 4,000 citizens downloaded greenApes in less than one year”, reflects Eve, “but more importantly almost 3 out of every 4 (72%) declared that they had adopted more sustainable behaviours and practices while using the platform. And almost 2 out of every 3 users (65%) reported that greenApes had made them discover new green initiatives and venues in Florence”.
greenApes is by now a well-known initiative in Florence and is regularly invited on local media, while local medium- and large-scale businesses have approached greenApes to request consumer engagement projects in the realm of sustainable living. The platform also offers tailored services to engage employees and customers in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and circular economy programmes (https://www.greenapes.com/business/en).
Today, the greenApes platform has an expanding user base with community users registering over 60,000 sustainable activities across the world. Increasing national and international visibility and market recognition has followed, with GreenApes being one of the 5 finalists for Best Consumer Engagement at the Italian Gamification Awards, as well as being invited as a guest speaker later this month at the Climate Alliance conference in Krems in Austria.
“We see greenApes gaining real traction in the market among people who care about living in a manner that is compatible with sustainable development concerns”, says Eve, “for example in November we will be launching a large national TV-advertising campaign in Italy, co-branded with a leading renewable energy provider, and during the coming weeks we also plan to launch a fund-raising round in the coming weeks to further finance the development and market uptake of the platform”.