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    Date submitted
  • 08-May-2016

Timber

Abstract

Timber will allow people to facilitate simple carbon calculation based on their consumption, and offset that amount with investment into forestry.

Photos

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Our customers will be people who are motivated to contribute to a global decrease of carbon in the atmosphere, and additionally incentivised to increase their personal wealth. Our target market consists of small-time investors looking to establish flexible investments without large dollar commitments. Ideally, they will be young (under the age of 45), and wishing to secure long term financial stability through passive and ethical investments. While many people will likely fit the bill of being a young, small-time investor, we see Timber as a service which can be used by a multitude of different persons, for different uses, even ‘non-investors’. The everyday New Zealander would use Timber to invest ethically, and offset their day-to-day carbon consumption (either for themselves or in a fund for their children); but we also see Timber working with businesses and large online corporations too. Businesses who partner with Timber will improve corporate responsibility by allowing their customers to offset the carbon footprint produced by their purchases and the freight required to send them. These partnerships will enable the option of offsetting the carbon generated by online purchases, through the purchase of trees via a Timber app plugin. This option will widen our potential market considerably and help establish a global brand. Timber will enable the option to offset carbon to thousands, if not millions, of online customers. We believe that as pioneers for the offsetting of day-to-day carbon usage, Timber will be able to dominate the market. This market is growing rapidly, with more and more people concerned about offsetting their carbon, as our earth reaches critical carbon levels. The universality of this concern creates a global market, where the scope for impact and reach is huge.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Atmospheric carbon levels are at 408 parts per million, the highest in recorded history, and the numbers are trending sharply upwards. This is a global-scale problem which will have major implications for the health of our planet and all of humankind. In response to this threat, consumer habits are beginning to show consideration for sustainable practices. So-called ‘conscious consumers’ are contemplating more than just price and quality. They are increasingly concerned with their carbon footprint and the harm any product may cause past its use. Habits such as recycling, reducing plastic waste, and the rising use of electric vehicles are promising, but are currently just indicators of a changing mindset. The entrenched use of harmful products in the daily lives of the modern consumer is undeniable, and there’s no simple solution. Palm oil for example, accounting for much of the world’s deforestation, exists in half the products in our supermarkets. Plastic lines our clothing and is often the only option that people can afford. We believe that the solution to carbon emissions has to directly address the issue and be as convenient to people as the problem products are. Sustainable forestry is the only solution that directly removes carbon from the atmosphere. However, it is inconvenient and inaccessible to most. Barriers to entry in the forestry industry are too high and the industry as a whole is under-advertised. Investments are inflexible, requiring long-term deposits of at least 25 years. Additionally, results from a recent Colmar Brunton study on the topic of investing found that only 35% of those questioned understood investing as a concept. Many people also believed that they required significant wealth before they could even start investing. With a scarcity of ethical investment opportunities for the everyday New Zealander, people tended to feel negative about their investment options. We feel this problem serves as an opportunity for our timber venture.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Timber provides a solution to both environmental and economic problems, through investment in trees. There is currently no simple way for people to offset their carbon footprint. Through our app, Timber will allow people to facilitate simple carbon calculation based on their consumption, and offset that amount with investment into forestry. Timber will also meet the gap in the market for ethical and environmental investment options. By enabling investment into forestry, our app will directly combat the effects of global warming. Furthermore, we recognise that barriers for entering the forestry industry are currently too high. The Timber app enables flexible investments in forestry from as little as $5. There is currently no app in existence which allows people to easily - and with long-term benefit to their own wallets - pay off their carbon consumption. Environmental movements have, until now, focussed instead on reduction of single-use plastics and use of fossil fuels. Timber is the best solution for reducing greenhouse gases, because it seeks to directly negate carbon levels in the atmosphere, rather than merely mitigate them. Furthermore, it incentivises eco-friendly behaviours, because investments into a Timber account also benefits an individual’s own finances. With the ability to invest in trees, people really will be able to see both their money and their trees grow. Timber is unique, and the key to its success is that the industries it utilises are already viable and successful. The Timber industry in New Zealand produces $5.5 billion in export revenue per year (2018). App plugins - including apps for banking and share trading - are used by almost everyone with a smartphone. The environmental movement is growing, with more people concerned about the health of our planet. Timber aims to tie these industries together, presenting a unique way to tackle some of the biggest issues of our time. Timber will be defined by its accessibility, sustainability, flexibility, and availability.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Our team is motivated and passionate about our product and keen to see it succeed. We have the advantage of being the first to enter this market as a business selling the opportunity to pay off carbon emissions. We also have the advantage of a product which is highly accessible, easy to use, and has scope for a very wide market.