PicoNext enables brands to engage their customers using the power of Web3. With integrated loyalty, community, and marketplace capabilities, PicoNext also helps businesses demonstrate their sustainability transparency, avoid greenwashing, and comply with new and upcoming laws. We spoke with PicoNext’s Founder & CEO, Dave Dickson, to learn more about the platform and how it works.
Can you provide an overview of PicoNext’s Sustainability Transparency software and how it helps organisations substantiate their “green” marketing claims?
A new way that some companies are showcasing their progress in sustainability and social responsibility is by using public ledger technology. In the spirit of the “sharing economy” that has revolutionised markets like ride- and home-sharing, brands are using these open, public ledgers as a tool to record and publicly share their actions around sustainability. Accessible to anyone, distributed globally, and traceable, public ledgers allow companies to document the specific steps they’re taking to be sustainable and demonstrate their progress towards goals.
The new Sustainability Transparency capabilities in PicoNext allow organisations to easily record the environmental actions they’re taking using public blockchain ledgers. These immutable public ledgers allow stakeholders to inspect and visualise environmental initiatives, and allow for coordination of complex, multi-step sustainability actions among diverse groups. When customers can actually see the step-by-step actions an organisation is taking – along with the progress a brand is making – it fosters transparency and builds trust.
How does PicoNext’s software specifically address the issue of greenwashing and help organisations avoid making misleading sustainability claims?
Sustainability initiatives are increasingly important to brands, not only because they’re the right thing to do, but because it helps them authentically connect with audiences who value environmental action. As companies engage in sustainability efforts, however, they must substantiate their “green” marketing claims in order to avoid reputational damage and litigation resulting from loosely communicated promises.
Campaigns that are merely “greenwashing” – or using sustainability initiatives to further a brand’s own purpose – fall flat with these forward-thinking customers. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, 88% of Gen Z consumers simply don’t trust companies’ environmental claims. Customers want brands’ actions to speak louder than their words.
The Sustainability Transparency capabilities in the PicoNext Web3 platform for brands enable companies to drive forward sustainability initiatives with increased trust and transparency. These capabilities allow companies to record their sustainability actions on a public ledger. They also enable consumers to easily view and visualise those environmental actions without the need to download or install a digital wallet.
This transparent engagement with stakeholders helps maintain customer confidence and drives legitimate sustainability action – the kind that’s a far cry from any semblance of greenwashing.
How does the software ensure accuracy and reliability in evaluating an organisation’s sustainability efforts?
Public ledgers allow parties to assert that they’ve completed a specific action, which cryptographically registers it on a public, distributed record. These ledgers are decentralised, meaning they’re replicated all over the world. Additionally, those who register events on a blockchain do so with a digital wallet, which gives them a unique originating “address” that allows them to interact with these ledgers.
Because actions on a public ledger are traceable, those who assert truthful sustainability actions accrue reputational integrity to their public ledger address, making others in the future more likely to trust the information they present. Conversely, those making false claims, or who lack reputational history make others less likely to trust them. In this way, those who view sustainability claims on the blockchain can assess the reputations of the actors (including auditors who register their audit opinions on blockchains), and can arrive at a more complete view of what is happening – versus relying on an annual sustainability report alone.
Can you share any insights into the positive impact PicoNext’s software has had on the perception and reputation of companies that have adopted it for their sustainability reporting?
We’re working with a variety of organisations to help them drive transparency around their sustainability initiatives and build trust with their stakeholders. Some of the most that we’re excited about use sovereign REDD+ credits to directly apply capital investment in natural assets – forests and land – that directly sequester carbon.
In the travel and leisure space, we’re also seeing companies with programs to simplify how they communicate their climate and sustainability activities with these technologies – in a way that is easily consumable by customers, and easily updatable by their sustainability staff. We’ll be sharing more details about these initiatives as they unfold.
In the age of increasing consumer awareness and scrutiny around sustainability, how do you enable companies to showcase their sustainability initiatives effectively?
As companies seek for greater transparency in their climate programs, they need to consider how to connect their audiences with this information. Climate transparency data on a public ledger is of little value unless it can be easily accessed by stakeholders, in a format that’s easy to consume.
With mobile-friendly climate transparency reports that display information from these public ledgers, organisations enable customers to stay up-to-date with a company’s sustainability programs. It’s also important for a company to take a proactive approach in its own sustainability reporting, pursuing updates on social media and other consumer-friendly channels. This transparency not only protects a company’s reputation, but also engages customers in the company’s sustainability story.
How does PicoNext’s software align with international sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, such as GRI, CDP, and SASB?
Many times, brands seek to bolster their sustainability credentials with different auditing, certification, and social impact programs – whether that be a “green” certification by a third-party, or by structurally forming a B-Corp. These efforts are an important way to have third-parties verify the efforts around social, environmental, and sustainability programs — as well as a way to demonstrate how a company is giving back to a community. Certainly, though, weaving the individual strands of these stories together is much more powerful than if the programs were to stand on their own.
Using a public ledger technology can help bring together the elements of a sustainability story and make it easier to understand. By recording the step-by-step actions a brand is taking on a blockchain, it can show progress towards sustainability goals.
Adding certifications, compliance with reporting standards/frameworks, and audit findings to the public ledger record completes the picture for customers. They can find all the information about sustainability initiatives in one place, presented in a simple format that allows them to see the impact of these programs at a glance.
Sustainability reporting can be complex, especially for smaller organisations. How does PicoNext cater to the needs of various business sizes and industries?
Organisations of all sizes – from large enterprises to small, family-run businesses – are looking to substantiate their “green” marketing claims and drive trust and transparency with their customers. One benefit of public blockchain ledgers is that, because they are globally distributed, they can enable scale for small and mid-sized organisations.
Additionally, no-code workflows within PicoNext enable organisations to transparently report on their efforts – even when they have limited staff and resources. Further, recording actions from individual vendors, auditors, and certification organisations enables these collaborating organisations to contribute to a culture of accountability when working with businesses of any size. When using distributed ledger technologies to demonstrate progress, companies can enable their sustainability programs to achieve scale – and maximum impact.
What differentiates PicoNext’s Sustainability Transparency software from other similar solutions available in the market?
Organisations can choose from a variety of approaches when they’re looking to drive transparency in their sustainability reporting. Approaches that use public ledger technology, including that of PicoNext, help surface sustainability actions on immutable, traceable systems that can be inspected by stakeholders.
PicoNext also enables no-code workflows to record sustainability actions; simple, mobile-friendly reports that allow companies to drive the narrative around their efforts; templates to accelerate frequent workflows; and a variety of other ways to drive not only collaboration with sustainability partners, but also engagement with customers and stakeholders.
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