Denver startup wages a battle against waste
Remark app gives consumers a voice to demand sustainable action from businesses such as Chipotle, Starbucks, and Costco
We sit at a tipping point in the waste and climate crisis. Global waste is on pace to grow by 70 percent by 2050 and yet plastic production is still increasing, especially during a year-long pandemic where throwaway plastics in Colorado and beyond have become the norm.
Policy moves slowly and it’s hard to see how our personal actions to reduce waste add up. So what can we, as concerned individual consumers, do about these massive systemic issues?
WHAT WE CAN DO
One often-overlooked way to encourage change is to email business decision-makers directly with customer feedback around sustainability.
For example, every time I get frustrated when a local restaurant uses styrofoam or I receive an online order with an excessive amount of plastic packaging, I take a few minutes to email the CEO or business owner to let them know I’d like to see a change.
My Denver-based startup, Remark, is on a mission to make this type of activism easy for busy consumers. Our app allows consumers to search for a business and generate a thoughtful email in less than a minute. We then deliver your sustainability feedback to the business owner or the CEO and connect that business with free resources to make a switch in their operations.
Since launching the app on the App Store and Google Play in late January, Remark users from 40+ states have sent over 1,600 emails demanding sustainable action. Users have received personalized responses from executives at Costco, Starbucks, Walmart, Albertson’s, and Chipotle, as well as countless other business owners and CEOs.
Sending feedback as a paying customer can make a big difference. We’ve seen a grocery chain remove plastic from their produce, several restaurants switch away from styrofoam, a beauty brand pledge to go “Plastic-free by ‘23” and an online retailer switch away from plastic packaging materials – all as a direct result from customer feedback emails sent via Remark.
WHY IT WORKS
Unlike governments which can take years or decades to adjust, businesses can and do adapt quickly – as they must meet their consumer’s changing wants and needs to remain competitive. In a recent study, business leaders identified consumers as the most important group in guiding their action on sustainability.
But beyond a few landmark studies and general sustainability statistics – there are few granular, business, or industry-specific data to help businesses understand what their consumers want from brands in terms of sustainability.
Direct sustainability feedback can help build the case for action on the climate and waste crisis. We believe when consumers collectively use their voice to demand change, we can stop waste at the source. Join us. Because the system won’t change until we tell it to.
Jessica Lybeck is the CEO and co-founder of Remark, a Denver-based technology company on a mission to stop waste at the source. The Remark app allows users to search and send their sustainability feedback to business decision-makers in less than a minute. Before starting Remark, Lybeck founded an innovation lab for The Nature Conservancy and held an executive leadership position at Denver-based Artifact Uprising.