One new Singapore-based startup is very much like ShopBack, but with a social mission.
It has created a rewards app called susGain that gives you cashback every time you make eco-friendly shopping and lifestyle decisions.
Every time you make an eco-conscious choice, you earn susGain points in-app.
That includes using water refill stations, recycling points and other utilities around town. The higher susGain points you accumulate, the higher your rewards tier and impacts.
Users also get to earn cashback every time they make a purchase at a green store featured on the app in-store or online. The app also matches your cashback cent-for-cent to a cause or charity of your choosing.
susGain is not about promoting consumption, as we all know far too well how to buy more. Yet, it’s also impossible not to consume … Our goal is to make green and social businesses the preferred choice.Carolin and Jeebar Barr, Co-Founders of susGain
susGain Makes Your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Easier
Launched in July 2020, Carolin and Jeebar says that susGain was created to close the “intention-action gap” in Singapore.
The couple shared that they faced difficulties in trying to adopt a greener lifestyle after moving back to Singapore four years ago, after a three-year stint abroad.
“I was (wondering) what would be the hawker’s reaction if I asked to da bao (my order) in a container that has a different shape than their regular takeaway boxes,” says Carolin.
“There were many times when we forgot to bring our water bottles or reusable shopping bags before this became a habit for us.”
While awareness about sustainability is growing in Singapore, people don’t know how to get started so susGain was created as a response.
“We are working towards making sustainable lifestyle options the best, cheapest, and most convenient (lifestyle) choices.”
The app incentivises average consumers to go green using a game theory: reward responsible practices with monetary reward. Reciprocal actions turn into sustainable lifestyles.
Entrepreneurship For The Family, And The Greater Good
“Founding our own company was a very deliberate decision which we didn’t take lightly,” says the duo.
Carolin and Jeebar, who are already busy working professionals with a daughter under their care, went for the idea anyway.
The two tapped into their savings, working on susGain on top of their day jobs to get it off the ground.
We had this strong urge to do something, and it came to a point where we felt that we would have truly regretted not trying to do our part.Carolin and Jeebar Barr, Co-Founders of susGain
Currently, Jeebar works in Audit at one of the Big Four, while Carolin resigned from her full time job in July after receiving a grant.
While some might think having your other half as a business partner might not work out, they are thankful that the partnership between them is working out.
“We always thought that for both our sanity, we would never work together but it turns out to be not too bad an experience after all.”
“Jokes aside, what helps is that we are aligned with our vision for susGain and come with complementary skillsets. Jeebar is definitely the numbers person and Carolin is more on the creative side driving operations.”
Partnering Businesses Committed To Sustainability
SusGain doesn’t just reward its users, but also the businesses and charities that it partners with.
Businesses reach audiences investing in an eco-conscious lifestyle, expanding their customer base.
Meanwhile, charities tap on to additional funding sources and attract corporate donors and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.
At present, susGain partners with over 60 entities including The Fashion Pulpit, The Green Collective, Mercy Relief and Zero Waste SG.
SusGain’s partners are also screened for their commitment towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
susGain has developed it’s own Sustainability Framework based on the UN SDGs. “We use this guideline in order to identify businesses that have a positive ecological and social impact,” says Carolin.
The framework consists of eight badge categories. Businesses adopt a list of concrete measures to contribute to sustainability goals. A business receives a sustainability badge only if it makes a verifiable contribution to at least one measure in any category.
To qualify for the platform, businesses must obtain at minimum one sustainability badge, and pledge to improve their sustainability practices within a two-year time frame.
Pandemic Or Not, Sustainability Is Still A Hot Button Issue
According to the couple, the response to susGain so far has been positive.
The app, which is free for download, has been experiencing daily transactions since its launch with a steady increase in sign-ups.
However, like any other business, susGain has had to adapt to Covid-19. A series of events, public sign-up drives and volunteering activities were put on hold and the launch date was pushed back to Phase 2.
The app has pivoted to digital marketing efforts to raise user adoption, focusing on social media, blog content, quizzes and more. More online, as opposed to physical stores, were onboarded.
However, susGain’s founders are looking forward to meet-and-greet events with its community.
Despite the pandemic, awareness over sustainable practices are more pertinent than ever.
Society has been abuzz over the need to find more sustainable options for food delivery, and ground-up initiatives like the East Coast Beach Clean Up abound despite the circuit breaker.
What is important to keep in mind is that every little green step counts. It’s okay to not do things perfectly each time as long as we keep trying. It will get easier with time.Carolin and Jeebar Barr, Co-Founders of susGain
Featured Image Credit: Susgain / Green is The New Black