College Carbon Challenge

Addressing the root cause of green tech energy deployment
The challenge where altruism is rewarded

The situation

Since the late 1970’s green tech science has continually offered the market environmentally friendly energy solutions to what very well could be one of the most serious issues that mankind may ever face. The determining factor that gauges adoption is nearly always based on Return on Investment. While this balance sheet approach works for conservation measures it does not work well for energy source replacement where there is no price placed on the cost of damaging future environmental resources.  However incorrect as it may be this balance sheet approach is the determining factor that continues to stall source replacement adoption, and therefore also stalls product development & enhancement. To those thinking with scientific logic it makes no sense to use this balance-sheet approach on an issue where the point of concern is not expendable. Approaching the adoption issue from this direction reveals that the true problem facing “going green” is not technology at all but rather economics. In a market driven by capitalism investors invest based on ROI not altruism; therefor if no one is buying then investors are not investing. And to make matters worse over time; the problem with wooing consumers toward the more costly green tech solutions gets more difficult as energy continues its ever constant drain on local, regional, and national economies driving up the price of all consumer goods and services and therefore pushing consumers to budget cut wherever possible.

As positioned, my case is that we do not have a technology dilemma but rather a business dilemma, so the solution will be found in the form a business plan and not tech-science.

The simple question is: given the strenuous economic climate, how do we entice consumers to start investing in Green Tech market development and expansion in the form of sustainable consumption so that the industry as a whole receives the funding required to continually move forward?

A business challenge:

The proper plan must initiate a sustainable flow of green tech revenue with an innate component allowing that flow of revenue to scale upward over time, and given the magnitude of the issue, and the speed at which we must build-out the infrastructure we must involve consumers from all socioeconomic walks and not just those that are both environmentally inclined and wealthy enough to do so.

For a plan such as this to be successful, and embraced by the average consumer, there are basic business requirements that must be met;

  1. The sale of the product must create a continuous sustainable flow of green tech revenue.
  2. The product must present a value proposition to all consumers, that is; it must be either better or offer a savings or both.
  3. In a capitalistic free market the distribution model must be built on profitability. It cannot be based on altruistic or compassionate Word-of-Mouth. Green Tech market scalability cannot be sustainable based on volunteerism.
  4. And lastly, to support the environmental cause case; The sale of the product must define and support levels of social responsibility – reduced carbon/toxic footprint for all products, support for the local community, create local jobs, support a local charity, parent company performing in a socially responsible manner.  

Clearly one or many of 1 – 4  could be removed however the stronger you make both the financial rewards and the socially responsibility the larger the consumer audience you will have access to.

The underling challenge here is to build a highly communicative set of well networked educated consumers who will react quickly to new information and adopt what’s best allowing it to grow and simultaneously squeeze out what is not good for the future. For example;  While it may sound intriguing at first, the consumption of a product as demanding as energy should not stress an associated market with increased demand driving prices up and therefore slowing adoption and economic growth. An industry example here would be the mass marketing of bio fuel which in turn places economic pressure on the price of food – here a well networked consumer based driven to make the right choices will squelch poor decisions such as this before rapid blind consumer adoption can occur.

Proposed solution: Educate, adopt, deploy, and reward

Even with the source company being available there is still a dilemma of consumer adoption. Consumers are creatures of habit and comfort, and change is frightening for most. Consumers must be exposed and educated before they will consider change. Additionally, education is more easily embraced when it comes from someone you already know and trust. Therefore, the only way to quickly change a habit is to deploy an army of educators that have an incentive to reach the masses.

The College Carbon Challenge: A competitive business challenge that allows young aggressive creatives to feed their passion(s) (business, sustainability, environmental & social justice, etc) while simultaneously competing for fame and fortune by building a personal social network and revenue stream around clean renewable energy solutions. Colleges and Universities will challenge each other to educate and switch consumers to a cleaner energy solution. Rankings between schools within the challenge will be based on (greened consumers/total student enrolment) so the size of the institution will neither help nor hinder success or failure. The final result being that all teams will be commended for their participation, each competitor within each team will be at the very least left with a network of newly educated green minded consumers where by their consumption will pay commissions monthly (this could be quite large based on their performance during or after the competition), and at the very most, deemed winners in a regional Carbon Challenge competition with all the press and media exposure that goes with the territory along with potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and charity rewards.


This challenge is focused on energy source replacement, rather than on conservation or reuse, channeling consumer dollars to flow in the direction of green energy. The competition is designed to:

A)  Build an incentive based challenge (rewarding from both a social and capitalist point of view) that fosters team support and takes full advantage of current green tech energy technologies to dramatically expand the adoption of green energy by way of fresh and creative marketing efforts.

B)  Create large socially connected trusted networks of incentivized consumers who will move rapidly to support the cleanest and least toxic forms of energy.

Started as a thesis
Turned into a game
Ended up as...(in progress)

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