Scenic view over Stockholm
Photo: Ola Ericson

The Stockholm company crowdsourcing climate solutions

Many people feel helpless in the face of the climate crisis. But collectively we can make a difference, and one Stockholm company is working to rally the global masses.

November 2016 was a historic month. It was the month Republican candidate Donald Trump won the US presidential election. Consequently, it was also the month that Ingmar Rentzhog turned his sights from finance to the climate crisis.

“It became clear that world leaders won’t solve the climate crisis. So we needed a platform where those people who are actually working on solutions can work together and influence the rest to change.”

What began as a Twitter account is today a climate review platform and social media community with 75,000 users in 150 countries. And counting.

Users on the We Don’t Have Time social media app can connect and collaborate to find solutions to the climate crisis. Moreover, they can express their approval or disapproval of an organisation’s climate efforts - the good, the bad and the things they’d rather sweep under the rug. When enough users agree with a review, We Don’t Have Time steps in and asks for a response.

“We’ve had responses from Mark Zuckerberg when he’s received criticism on the platform and also from the Brazilian government and a lot of other companies and public figures. Our platform is a way for people to reach leaders and have a dialogue with them.”

Things aren’t always as black and white as they seem, and dialogue is a tool, even if people don’t always see eye to eye. “We need that dialogue to influence people in power; otherwise, they will never change.”

A solution-based community

Holding wrongdoers to account is just one facet of the We Don’t Have Time mission. Rewarding well-performing organisations empowers them to continue their good work and hopefully inspires others to ramp up their efforts.

Ingmar explains that organisations aren’t labelled good or bad; it’s only their individual actions that are judged. “If you do something differently or in a new way, we want to reward you. In the process of doing new things, you will make mistakes. If you’re not willing to make mistakes, you’ll never change anything.”

Many users on the platform actively work within the environment space, whether as investors, analysts, sustainability officers, and everything in between. Connecting this solution-based community is an essential piece of the puzzle; however, just as vital, if not more so, is reaching audiences who aren’t as engaged with the issue.

Partnerships with larger social media networks enable We Don’t Have Time to project its efforts, reaching 100 million people monthly. The partnership with Twitter, in particular, has proved fruitful, presenting the opportunity to host live broadcasts and invite businesses, scientists, policymakers, and activists to openly discuss climate solutions. One such broadcast during Climate Week NYC drew in a staggering 10 million viewers.

“It’s very important; we can’t change things just by having this conversation within the sustainability bubble,” admits Ingmar.

Strength in numbers

Solving the climate crisis demands more than mobilising individuals. Companies are encouraged to join the platform and respond directly to reviews, as well as review other entities.

“If a company is going to succeed with their climate targets, they need everyone onboard,” says Ingmar. “If the suppliers are doing something wrong, it won’t just sabotage their climate efforts but the company buying their services.”

Over 300 companies, including Ericsson, British Telecom and Nestle, have partnered with the platform, pledging to respond to all reviews written to them. “They know they’re not perfect, but they want to know your opinion on what they are doing right and wrong so they can improve.”

Having their voices acknowledged renews people’s faith in their ability to create change, believes Ingmar. Focusing on the good, raising awareness of the solutions and embracing them will inspire people to keep fighting for a better future.

“I believe we can solve the climate crisis; it’s just a matter of the number of people engaged in this solution-based movement. When more people think this way, we can build the future we want.”