Kickstarter May Play a Big Role in Making Products and Supply Chains More Eco-Friendly

A Kickstarter All Hands Meeting, Brookly, New York
Kickstarter all hands meeting, Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Fred Benenson.

Since the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter launched in April 28, 2009, independent backers have pledged a whopping $4.1 billion to tens of thousands of new projects, from a drone camera that will record an aerial video of your mountain biking excursions to an illustrated book about egrets and climate change.

Kickstarter Project: The White Heron Beneath the Reactor by Gary Budden
Kickstarter Project: The White Heron Beneath the Reactor by Gary Budden.

And now the platform is taking things both back a step and forward a step by asking creators to consider the environmental impacts of the entire life cycle of their creations.

Teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps, Kickstarter is developing an information hub for project creators, plus they’ll provide space on project profiles where creators can commit to environmental practices.

So, instead of creating products and then dealing with the environmental consequences later, project creators can build environmental commitments into their projects at the outset in key areas:

  • Long-lasting design
  • Reusability
  • Recyclability
  • Sustainable materials
  • Environmentally-friendly mass production
  • And sustainable fulfillment and distribution

The new profile features will enable potential backers of a project to consider a creator’s commitment to environmental sustainability before they decide to back them.

“Project creators check boxes to indicate their product will have a long-lasting design, consist of recycled products, will be manufactured in environmentally friendly factories, use sustainable distribution channels and so on,” said Daniel Hill, a project manager with EDF’s Climate Corps. “It’s all with the goal of reducing their project’s impact on the planet and to, in Kickstarter’s words, ‘stand out to potential backers.’”

“We think the rapidly growing platform is uniquely positioned to become a real and lasting force in the development of environmentally sustainable design and manufacturing processes worldwide – and that means it would also have an impact on far-flung supply chains,” Hill added.

Recycled Carbon Chair by LABEL/BREED.
Recycled Carbon Chair by LABEL/BREED.

The global retail market is a $31 trillion industry. So, the push by a well-known, global platform that’s a trailblazer for new product development promises to shed a needed spotlight on how products are designed, built, distributed, and disposed of.

Kickstarter is a public benefit corporation, which means it has corporate goals that extend beyond simply maximizing shareholders’ returns to benefitting the general public at large.

“These new features are our biggest step yet toward fulfilling that commitment,” said Perry Chen, Kickstarter’s chairman and CEO.


You can fund The White Heron Beneath the Reactor here.

You can fund the Recycled Carbon Chair here.


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