Steve Cohen - Planet Protector - Certification Scheme and Motivation Platform for Circular Living
Turning off the tap of plastic waste and other litter entering our marine environment from land requires a comprehensive range of interventions. A critical but neglected intervention area is waste prevention, encompassing behaviour change communication and advocacy for the transformation of the consumer economy. This intervention area has historically performed poorly in South Africa.
In this context we proudly introduce the PLANET PROTECTOR social enterprise, which comprises:
1. A public rating and certification scheme that showcases the waste prevention efforts and responsible production achievements of organisations
2. Social media-based platform that facilitates crowd-reporting and related conversations around the transformation of packaging products and business models to steer us towards a circular economy.
The founder of the platform is local environmental activist Steve Cohen, who also runs the campaign Durbanites Against Plastic Pollution. Steve has been driving a petition to eradicate polystyrene from Durban’s beaches, which has over 50 000 signatures to date.
Planet Protector wants to showcase what pioneering South African people and organisations are doing to move us towards a low waste, circular economy.
We want to crowd-source information from the public to help us evaluate the waste footprint of organisations including supermarkets, restaurants, retailers and sports events.
We also want to empower, motivate and support a community of activists that act locally to drive waste reduction activities and practices in their neighbourhoods and towns.
The Planet Protector platform offers a suite of tools to drive behaviours and practices towards a circular economy, namely:
1. An informal waste footprint evaluation system with digital scorecards and data visualisation dashboards
2. App for self-assessments and crowd-sourced assessments of restaurants, retailers, schools, conference venues, sports events and offices
3. An innovative website that allow reviews and conversations around the good, the bad and the ugly in our consumer economy
4. Customised certificates and letters of commendation
5. Useful listings, including zero waste stores, green restaurants and recycling collection points
6. Waste minimisation guides for schools and businesses
7. Facebook and Instagram communication channels
Current status of the campaign:
PLANET PROTECTOR has made significant progress in the operationalisation of the certification scheme, by developing draft scorecards and developing our brand identity and social marketing collateral.
The website is in beta version and a number of pilot certifications have been completed.
Our next steps include further development and testing of the evaluation/ certification system and accompanying App and website, and seeking official endorsement from international environmental organisations.
We will continue to pilot and evaluate the implementation of least 5 additional organisation certifications in year 1, subject to the receipt of catalytic funding or in-kind support from partners. We expect the enterprise to become financially sustainable in year 2, once revenue streams for certifications and services are established and social investors are secured.
The pilot phase in 2020 will include the introduction of our school category, which involves schools competing and showcasing their innovative waste reduction and advocacy activities.
Planet Protector invites your support and collaboration. Please join us.