Global warming, climate change… we hear devastating, apocalyptic news almost every hour of every day. Scientists try to warn us with numbers we don’t understand, and politicians don’t seem to agree on how serious the “issue” is. As a result, most of us, including myself, –
don’t give a shi t, are not sure how to react. If politicians can’t even agree on how to proceed on climate change, how bad could another plastic bottle in the ocean be?
Gilad Regev, CEO and Co-Founder of Kora, realized climate change was an issue that needed a realistic solution while growing up surrounded by beaches, and the tons of plastic covering them. He came to the conclusion that only by taking responsibility can we start seeing change, but the question was how? If scientific data and horrifying photographs are not enough to drive people to take action, what type of incentive is?
Money, money, money…
Gilad quickly understood the need to create an effective financial instrument to incentivize people to fight climate change. Sadly, we live in a world fueled by return on investment, and evidence shows that the only thing that really changes people’s behavior is shifting economics. Imagine if you could be rewarded for every time you chose to take public transportation that reduces gas emissions, or for using renewable energy, such as solar panels. Wouldn’t that push you to pursue more and more environmentally friendly activities? Wouldn’t that inspire your friends and family to do the same? With this in mind, Gilad envisioned Kora, a company creating a new type of economy that incentivizes people to lead sustainable lives. Using Kora’s platform, people will be able to track and measure their ecological footprint, and receive positive financial incentives each time they perform an environmentally-friendly action.
The goal of Kora is to help people understand that climate change is a direct result of our actions, and we are the only ones who can fight it. “We need to understand that with each of our actions and consumer habits, there’s an environmental impact and cost embedded. Likewise, our individual actions and choices can also pave the road for sustainability,” said Gilad. “Kora aims to use positive financial incentives, instead of punishment, to open consumers eyes and hopefully show them how their daily activities can create a positive, meaningful impact on the environment.”
A dream come true
You might be wondering how Gilad turned his dream of creating a cleaner world into a real company, and the answer is Israeli entrepreneurship attitude. Gilad’s first environmental company failed, but failure is exactly what makes Israeli startups so successful. As Forbes explains, failure is not a bad thing in Israel. On the contrary, you will surely have a higher chance of getting an investment if you had failed and tried again, because it means you’ve learned from your mistakes.
Last May, Kora launched a pilot in Berlin. The company’s proof of concept phase is now focusing on mobility and energy. It means that users are able to generate Koras by producing solar power, storing it in the grid, or simply by walking or biking.
Starting in Berlin, the goal of Kora is to be accepted by large economies, such as cities and corporations. For this reason, Kora created an asset-backed coin, pegged to the SDR (a basket of main currencies of the world monetized by the IMF), and designed for low volatility. It can be used for everyday purchases, such as coffee or lunch.
Last October, the UN warned that we only have 12 years to stop climate change– yes, it was in the news everywhere! Will Kora be around that long to remind us to remain environmentally active? I hope so, but the responsibility is not on them, is on us. If anything, companies like Kora, that are focussed on the greater good, are starting to realize that our pockets need to be part of the equation for statements, such as the UN’s, to have any impact on society at all.