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Author: Krissie & Rich

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This is not your average podcast. This podcast is for mindful e-commerce entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the world.

We discuss the role of e-commerce and how it can be improved to better protect our natural world. We will chat openly and honestly to leaders in e-commerce: brands, merchants, tech solutions, web agencies and freelancers who are on a journey to make change.

With the global increase in demand in e-commerce: with billions of online stores selling and shipping products around the globe, this shift to online sales is a big contributor to climate change. We have one common goal - to build awareness of the social and environmental issues in e-commerce but most importantly to discuss the ways in which we can improve this and be better - together.

We have an opportunity, through education and awareness to influence shoppers, merchants, tech developers and associated industries to be mindful of our environment, social impact and reduce demand on natural resources.

So, here we are! Welcome to the MindfulCommerce podcast.
12 Episodes
Today we are talking to Adam the CEO and Co-founder of Blend Commerce - a Shopify agency specialising in turning ideas into reality. Blend are driven by success, with a mission to help Shopify entrepreneurs achieve significant and sustainable growth. Blend Commerce’s Motto is Clarify. Create. Convert. Which we will go into more detail on in the show! We also touch upon finding your why with Simon Sinek's approach, the 4 hour work week with Tim Ferris' method and whether it's really possible or if we even want that! All of this plus some chat about mental health and ensuring we protect ourselves when we start to experience business growth.
Krissie chats to Katie Boothby-Kung from Shopify's Social Impact Team. Katie is doing lots of incredible work at Shopify and we wanted to chat about it here on the podcast to inspire others to follow in Shopify's footsteps. I'm a huge fan of Shopify and what they're doing so I'm extremely excited to share this chat with you.
Find us:  Head to to register & join the MindfulCommerce community as an expert, brand or merchant Instagram: @mindfulcommerce Facebook @MindfulCommerce Contact Us - Where to find MoreTrees:MoreTrees - WebsiteMoreTrees - TwitterMoreTrees - InstagramMoreTrees - FacebookLinks Mentioned in Episode:ShopifyWooCommerceExpandlyZapierIFTTT (If This Then That)Wilkinson SwordMy Green ChristmasZoomShownotes:Krissie Leyland  0:00 Hello, and welcome to the mindful commerce podcast, a place where we talk to ecommerce brands, service providers and developers who care about protecting our planet. I'm KrissieRich Bunker  0:11& I'm Rich, and we're your hosts. This podcast is an extension of the MindfulCommerce community.Krissie Leyland  0:18The MindfulCommerce community is a safe place for ecommerce brands and experts to connect, collaborate and explore opportunities to work together to unleash the power of ecommerce as a force for good.Rich Bunker  0:30You can join by going to and clicking on 'Community'. See you there!Krissie Leyland  0:36Today, we're talking to Niki and Alan from MoreTrees. You probably know that carbon dioxide is one of the biggest drivers of climate change and we know we should be playing our part in reducing and negating carbon emissions. So MoreTrees are a tree planting app. MoreTrees not only helps offsets your emissions, but it comes with tons of other benefits too. Every tree planted helps the planet & it reduces extreme poverty and combat deforestation. We're going to be talking about what inspired Niki and Alan to start MoreTrees, how that makes it super easy to offset your carbon for e commerce businesses of all sizes, but also we want to know exactly how offsetting with MoreTrees can help with those four benefits I just mentioned. So, hello to both! How are you?Niki Tibble  1:33We're good, thank you. How are you?Alan Wilson  1:35Great, thank you.Krissie Leyland  1:38Could you start by introducing yourselves and tell us a little bit more about MoreTrees?Niki Tibble  1:44Yep, definitely! I'll let Alan go first.Alan Wilson  1:57Okay, so background-wise, I'm a "techie"... so about boatloads of software and startups for years. My last startup was called Expandly, and that's an ecommerce platform used by "one man bands" up to global companies like Wilkinson Sword. So it's a multi channel ecommerce system and so that's where my background is: building tech for  ecommerce and other industries.Niki Tibble  2:30Yes, and I am Niki. My background is copywriting. I have a copywriting business, writing for all sorts of different sectors. I think the most obscure thing I've written about was calculating your construction overheads. But predominantly, I work with ecommerce platforms, tech, and sellers with their content. So that's my background and I've worked with Alan, on previous projects before. Alan came up with the initial idea.Alan Wilson  3:03So originally, I went to a meeting and they were planting trees for every person that attended the meeting. So I thought "That's just a great idea! There's actually companies that plant trees and it's good for the environment." For a meeting, just think of the people that come there for traffic and stuff... I thought actually, that could be a good thing in the future! So then, I told Niki, "I'll get this fantastic idea and get this button in every meeting room around the world. People just come in, press a button, then it all connects to my API, they plant a tree, and it's all gonna be great! And then Nikki said that it's a crap idea.Niki Tibble  3:47I did, I'm not going to lie. I thought all I could envision was this big red X Factor style button, where people are just hitting it in meeting rooms... horror stories of disgruntled employees, hitting it 1000s of times. Which you know, would be fantastic for the planet but then these businesses are planting millions of trees unknowingly. But I really, really liked Alan's thinking behind it and I knew as a business owner that I wanted to do more to help the planet. You see things on Netflix, you read the papers, you see in the news all about climate change and you want to do more. But actually knowing what to do, having the time to do it, understanding the different parts was just difficult for a business owner. You know Krissie, it's a hot topic in ecommerce–people are talking about what you can do all the time, but actually, the options aren't always that obvious. So we definitely felt that there was a gap in the market for a tech lead solution to just make it easy for businesses to plant trees and to do something positive for the planet without it costing a lot of money & without it taking up time. But also to open it up so that ecommerce in particular, involve the customer so that when you plant a tree for them, they're actually being told about that tree. Then they get an email telling them about it so that there's no concern that someone saying they're doing something they're not actually doing.Krissie Leyland  5:18Yeah, that's really nice. Something you said there made me think... There are lots of different offsetting apps out there now. So when you first had your initial idea was that not the case?Alan Wilson  5:35I think that some apps out there offset but I think overall–there's some neat apps as well, there's some really neat carbon calculation apps–but I think it's still a very early fragmented marketplace that is very confusing for a lot of companies and organizations. Wales, within the very small industry as at the moment, is starting to see more of them emerging. I think it's actually quite a very, very early marketplace currently.Niki Tibble  6:07The amount of people we speak to say,"Oh I didn't realize something like that existed." So I mean, there are fantastic apps and ways to do it out there but a lot of people don't actually realize that they are out there, which is a problem.Krissie Leyland  6:21I agree. Maybe it's because we're involved in it, and so it can pop up. But the thing that I noticed about MoreTrees was like, you work with different projects. So it's obvious where your money is going, if you offset with more trees. But do you want to talk a bit more about the projects that you work with?Niki Tibble  6:47To us, it was important that we work with the right tree planting partners. So unfortunately, it's not me and Alan putting on our wellies and grabbing our spades and going and digging in the garden... our garden's not that big. It was important to us that the people that we were partnering with would be the people that our customers would want to partner with. It also meant that, planting trees and offsetting carbonare the primary focu. But actually, there's a lot more that these projects can do to extend the benefits so we make sure that anyone that we're working with on the projects are actually planting trees that are going to be making a difference. They're helping with reforestation, or they're providing agroforestry trees to provide food and sources of income, but also that they're benefiting the local communities. A lot of our projects are in impoverished areas where actually the trees are providing an income, they're teaching these people a skill that they can use, and they're protecting the local area. For example, some of the projects they've got problems with flooding, they're planting the right trees to deal with that. Areas that have suffered deforestation need reforestation to give wildlife places to come back to. So for us, it was a lot more about just picking projects that weren't "just trees": It was actually making a wider impact. It's trees and more.Krissie Leyland  8:17Nice. Perfect. It's really interesting to think that planting a tree can help combat poverty. How exactly does it? What are the links? Someone clicks on "offset with more trees" and then what happens?Niki Tibble  8:40Yes. You click & you buy your trees. Then at the end of each month, we we pull them all together, and we tell our different partners and projects how many trees. When you go into the platform, it defaults to the most needed tree and the most needed project, but you can also pick a specific project and tree type. So at the end of the month, we collect those together & instruct our tree planting partners. They work with local villagers, educate them and provide them with the tools, the equipment & the knowledge to plant these trees. They also fund forest guards to actually protect the areas and they're there for a while so it's not just a quick plant and run. They're helping them grow these forests and and they don't leave them until they're in the position to want to be able to carry that on themselves. You read the stories & get the feedback from the fields and it makes you feel lucky inside knowing that you're doing so much with just a seed, effectively. Krissie Leyland  9:43I love that. It's so nice.Rich Bunker  9:45It's so much more than planting trees than you can imagine, to be honest which is great... lovely projects at work. What stands out is your favorite project.Alan Wilson  9:57I like Madagascar because of the film... Nikki, you have a favorite, don't you? I think I actually like them all. There is Madagascar and stuff but the ones that do more than the poverty alleviation as well as environment, really strike a chord with me as much. You can buy offsets and as you'll know, those just prevent people from cutting down trees and stuff. They're just not as good as planting a tree and given the income to the farmers as well.Krissie Leyland  10:42So something that just has more meaning behind it than just planting a tree.Alan Wilson  10:47More meaning and also as I say, the offsets that you can juust pay someone not to cut down a tree can be a verified project... it's great that the trees not being cut down, but it's actually developing more the whole concept. The ethos is getting the more trees out there and actually creating more of these great carbon capture species out there.Rich Bunker  11:13Yeah, there's funds out there that support people not knocking down trees and educate them of why it's a good idea not just to cut trees down, as you see fit, willy nilly, yeah. Alan Wilson  11:28Yes, it's great. Exactly but also, I do believe more in getting more trees planted. But anything that helps us is the way forward.Rich Bunker  11:38Amazing. So how does it work? What's the app? How does does the money get sent to the project and what's the tech involved in in the background? Alan Wilson  11:51We've built a platform. So it's not like a sort of front end website or a Shopify store, it's a whole entire platform. We've got a whole process: when we add projects, we add them in our back end, system adds it to the platform and then as a user, you come onto the platform. You can either just quite quickly plant a tree within minutes. If you haven't got any credits in your account, you can pay straight away for that tree–that's one pound a tree–or you can preload credits. You can preload, say 100, and then you can plan them all automatically as well. You can either plan for yourself or other people. If you buy a plan for your customers, you can see right away the plan. You put the name, email, and quantity and then that emails will send the user the certificate. So you can either do that, just manually typing them or you can upload them via CSV or via the API, which we have.Krissie Leyland  12:52So for MindfulCommerce–obviously, we already use MoreTrees, but I'm doing it manually at the moment–eventually, we're going to connect it with our payment system.Rich Bunker  13:10Yeah, the automation takes the decision out of it. It's done.Krissie Leyland  13:14No manual work. So easy.Niki Tibble  13:19There's no reason to not plant trees, because it's just done for you. So why wouldn't you do it?Alan Wilson  13:28We used to have an API and we have some larger companies already using the API and doing it that way. So that takes a bit of development. We're also developing an app for the app store's at the moment. So we have multiple of them in the pipeline, which won't be that long. We also use a great tool called Zapier and Zapier is fantastic. It's an easy integration tool that connects straight to Shopify, eBay and Zoom as well. So basically you can connect your Shopify store and connect your MoreTree account in minutes. You could prefund your MoreTrees account and then for every order plant a tree or you can see for every order over 50 pounds plant a tree. The scope of it is huge so literally, for every street payment, make a "plant a tree for every invoice" and it just goes on. We have customers who are setting themselves up in minutes. It's incredible. Currently, I get an email every time someone plants. So I wake up in the morning and see all these people planting through the night. They haven't actually planted obviously, it's just the automation of their systems where the process are coming through. So we just got it made quite easy and that Zapier is really, really useful.Krissie Leyland  14:51Definitely. I love Zapier.Alan Wilson  14:55Nikki, you have one don't you? We have them for people doing mortgage companies and stuff. Do you have a good example of that?Niki Tibble  15:04Yeah, we've got this great company and they've just love it. I messaged them the other day and just said, "Oh, how are you getting on? How are you finding it?" And he was like, "We absolutely love it! We've drawn a massive tree in our office (I presume it's on a whiteboard wall) and every time we plant a tree, we go up and write it on it. It's like attending this massive competition in the office. We love it, we just can visually see all these trees. Everyone's running up and writing that they've planted another one." I think it's fantastic.Krissie Leyland  15:40What was that? It's if somebody signs up to a mortgage deal, then?Alan Wilson  15:45That's what they do. So automatically in their system, someone signs up for a mortgage deal and it automatically plant them a tree. Then the customer gets the emails with the certificate that the tree has been planted as well. It sounds like from what Nikki says, that their senior sales team also flags it on a whiteboard as well.Krissie Leyland  16:09I think they can just look at it every day and be like, "look what we've done!" I love it because–obviously me and Niki work together in other means–I received an invoice from Niki and was like "Ooh! I feel good about paying this invoice and planting!"Niki Tibble  16:27Every time anyone pays an invoice there, I plant my little tree. It's just little things and it's so much fun because everyone's thinking of different ways that they can plant trees. It's almost become a bit of a competition where people are like "what innovative way can I think that someone planted trees?" Pop quiz winners the other week, for example. There will be different things people come up with, it's like, wow.Alan Wilson  16:49I planted 11 trees when Scotland beat England that weekend.Niki Tibble  16:52Alan set a Zapier to plant a tree every time it rains, didn't you? And I said, I said good that you're not still in Scotland.Krissie Leyland  17:09So what are some of the kind of businesses that you've worked with so far?Niki Tibble  17:18With our backgrounds, we have built the platform with ecommerce in mind. So we have lots of online sellers who are either selling by their Shopify, WooCommerce, or any other platform. We've got a lot the typical businesses that we expected when we first set up MoreTrees. I might speak for myself Alan, but I've been amazed at the variety of people that are using it. We've got window cleaners, personal trainers. accounts and what else?Alan Wilson  17:52Clothing brands. Ecommerce brands in sustainable clothing. There seems to be so much of them coming up, which is great.Niki Tibble  18:01Yeah. People building the fancy garden shed. All sorts. It's just been amazing that so many different people want to get involved for so many different reasons.Krissie Leyland  18:13Fancy garden sheds? (laughter)Rich Bunker  18:23What will it become when people go back to working in offices? Hmm...Alan Wilson  18:32I think one of my first case study business was a company called My Green Christmas. They do Christmas cards and stuff. We didn't know them at all and it was really good. All of a sudden, they were integrated and then we saw these trees going out for every order over 30 pounds. So they effectively help drive their sales so that people pay not that much, but they're really good company and good people. So that was a really good daily sort of case study.Krissie Leyland  19:09Yeah. And a big boost I guess during Christmas.Alan Wilson  19:13Exactly. They're a young team as well, and they've done fantastically well.Krissie Leyland  19:19And I bet Niki, that you're writing case studies.Niki Tibble  19:22Yes, which is nice because there's so much to talk about. People want to get involved. You know, people really love using it, and they want to talk about it. They want to share that they're doing it, which is lovely. And then you really do see this viral effect, where you know, we've had a customer who's come to us saying, "Oh, one of your existing customers planted my friend a tree, and they told me about it when we went for coffee, and now I'm planting a tree." So there's an really nice knock-on effect and also then businesses and ecommerce sellers have this amazing platform to encourage their audience to live a more sustainable life. I was speaking to someone on Friday, and their setup setup was a bit a bit complicated. The people they were sending the tree confirmation email to wasn't actually the personnel planting the tree for. So we were batting things backwards or forwards about how they could do it. I said to them all, "Possibly, we could see if we could set it up so that when you planted a tree for someone, they didn't get the email from us saying that they planted the tree." And this person said, "No. I want to tell my customers and show them how easy it is to plant a tree. I want to send them your way, because I want them to find their own trees." I think it's so great that we've got so many brands that actually want to plant trees themselves and they actually want to encourage other people to get on board and do it as well, so that we can all make a bigger impact. Yeah, that's been really nice as well.Krissie Leyland  20:58A network of tree planters. A community.Alan Wilson  21:04I think it's a network of good people as well. That's been the best part about MoreTrees. We meet so many good, good people, instead of a lot of the harsh realities of what's going on in the world. It's a lot of good people.Krissie Leyland  21:19Yeah, it must be really refreshing. We find that, don't we?Rich Bunker  21:24A lot of really positive people recently.Krissie Leyland  21:28Positive and inspiring, just like you two.Niki Tibble  21:33That's the great thing about MindfulCommerce: you have a community of people who are doing something pretty much off their own back, because you know, at the end of the day, currently people don't have to do anything. But there's always people that want to do something for the better good.Rich Bunker  21:50I guess there's a social shift for people as well. David Attenborough has been a champion of bringing that to people, especially in the UK's forefront, and wider globally. So hopefully, that is a social shiftand a movement that will stay. People will look after their environment a bit more.Krissie Leyland  22:15What a legend. Quick, get him on the podcast.Niki Tibble  22:21During a Zoom quiz yesterday, I found out that he's the reason that tennis balls are bright yellow? Something about making them visible on TV. It was either true or false: David Attenborough is the reason those tennis balls are bright, luminous orange or yellow. He is just wonderful in all different ways.Krissie Leyland  22:50Every time I see a tennis ball...Rich Bunker  22:55Touching on the integrations, you mentioned Zoom, Shopify, WooCommerce... What are the other integrations you've got and is there anything coming up in the pipeline?Alan Wilson  23:07The Zoom one. I mean, that's that's a really neat one where people say "for every person who joins the zoom–every attendee for the meeting–will automatically plant a tree." We're finding that more and more popular.Niki Tibble  23:19That's the original idea, Alan, your original meeting idea... (laughter)Alan Wilson  23:22Exactly. Just virtually, it saves me from having to visit every office in the UK. So I realized my mistake, now Niki. But yeah, this week we've got a new subscription and "auto top up" will be liv. By the end of the month, we will have WooCommerce up live. Shopify and other carts that we're working on will very quickly follow after but, we're going to launch on one foss, which is WooCommerce. Then we have If This Then That (IFTTT) which is another sort of Zapier type API platform, which is great, which we're working on. I mean, ultimately, being a techie, I love that part of it: just making it easy. I love integration and all the amazing ideas you can do with it. So eventually, "every Uber ride, plant a tree", and "everything you spend on your card, plant a tree", etc. They're coming very soon.Rich Bunker  23:23Integrating some of the challenging bank tasks. "Deal with your savings, you can plant a tree". There you go.Alan Wilson  24:40We need to give you a commission now, for that idea.Rich Bunker  24:44It's helping more people.Alan Wilson  24:46Exactly, no, it's a good idea.Rich Bunker  24:52Is it just you Alan, tapping on your keyboard, coding away or have you got a teamAlan Wilson  24:59My last app, I built the whole platform initially, and then had raised a couple of million pounds, built a big team and done it that way. So this time, I built an MVP myself to learn how it works–so all the lessons from last time–but then I've got a development team that I use, and I've known for 10 years. I basically paid them to build it. I just architected, designed and worked out how it would work. They've been fantastic. They do the development, Nikki tests it, and then makes it live.Rich Bunker  25:40The collective mind is always more efficient.Alan Wilson  25:43I mean, the development-wise, it's hard to build a business and develop. That's what I learned from the past. You spend so much time. There's so many talented developers out there. If you can just harness them the right way, then it gets easier. I think what you mentioned about a lot of products out there, competitors are just front end shops and stuff and some of them are even just Shopify stores. So, what we actually have is a platform that is scalable, and can plant hundreds of 1000s of trees a second. Not right now, but we've got the technology there to scale it so that it can plant massive amounts of trees and grow in scale... to large enterprise customers.Krissie Leyland  26:33I had one question for Niki, actually. It is probably going back a little bit about the project: Are you looking for more local projects? At the moment I see Madagascar, and other areas, but as we're in the UK... I just wondered.Niki Tibble  26:54Yeah, so that's a high, high high on my to do list. We are actively looking for a UK project. The biggest challenge for us is getting that at a price point that people will want to pay for. Currently on MoreTrees, you can plant trees for a pound but obviously, in the UK cost of labor and things like that, it just costs more. So we're just trying to find a project where we can get that price to where, though it will be more than planting a tree in Madagascar, it's still a price that's reasonable and that businesses will actually say "Actually, I'm willing to pay that bit extra to have a UK project" rather than being the difference between 1 pound and 20 pounds. Most people just can't afford to make that that purchase for their customers. So if anyone listening knows of any UK projects that could be a good fit, then please do let us know. Hopefully we could help.Alan Wilson  27:52We're very close with a couple.Niki Tibble  27:55Yeah, they should be shortly announced, but we're always welcome to more. Alan Wilson  27:58That will be up to the customer, then. It'll be up to the individual or business that's using MoreTrees. If you want 20 trees planted, but they're not in the UK, that's fine.... Or if you want one in the UK, and it's a 20 pounds We're trying to get it a lot cheaper than that as wel but it's an understandable labor cost in the UK. So the idea is to give everyone the choice and transparency of what you want to do.Rich Bunker  28:24I suppose, yeah. I mean, the idea is to plant more trees and that could be more that you support the project by your donation rather than planting a tree. But it's nice to get that "Oh yeah, I've planted a tree today by buying some item" or "I just want to plant a tree today and given some money to find the tree."Alan Wilson  28:44Exactly, I think there is a large scope for different people out there as individuals, small businesses or enterprise businesses. That's what we will provide: the choice of what you want to do, and here are the options for you.Niki Tibble  29:00A lot of people have different motivations. So I 've spoken to people who like the fact that it's good for the planet and is offsetting carbon, but actually, they said that they're much more motivated by the poverty alleviation or the wildlife side and things like that. So yeah, it's having a range of projects that suit different people's motivators.Rich Bunker  29:28You just mentioned carbon there, and that's something I wanted to ask: Is it obvious how much carbon planting a tree somewhere is offsetting, for like a business if their goal is carbon offsetting? Can they use your platform to basically offset carbon as well as do good planting trees?Alan Wilson  29:49We've got some verified carbon credits coming. The tree planting is expensive. Currently it is voluntary, so you can still pass your ISO and everything using MoreTrees. If you're a large company and using it for your scrn... again, it's still voluntary but there's a carbon tax coming out in future as well, so that that could affect that. So we do offer additional carbon credits and in different variety. It's the Woodland Carbon code ones in the UK, so you can buy WCUs, but they start at like 12 pound a credit. So the way we estimate the carbon is by what the partners said they estimate: 300 grams per tree over the life cycle of it. The difference with that: UK WCU has to be verified over the years. Ultimately again, you're paying for scientists. That difference between one pound and 12 pound for a scientist to validate and ensure it has already happened in the past. If you buy it in the UK, and then you have to wait for the five years or so that it is completely validated that the carbon has been sequestered. As opposed to say, planting 12 trees. It is an estimate based on the planting partners. Do they have audited and validation for it but it's not the same as the WCU one.Krissie Leyland  31:33I'm just thinking: if I'm an ecommerce business, and I know that my carbon footprint is 'x, y, z'. And then I've started to offset trees with more trees. Is there a way of kind of seeing you know how far you've got to be carbon neutral? or carbon positive?Alan Wilson  31:58We have a small calculator. There's obviously some great tools out there and some great tools developing. I'm developing one myself as well. Again, it's that scenario of you've bought a product, and you maybe have brought in Turkey, then you've imported it from Turkey. But also even if you manufacture in Turkey, you've then got the person who's created the cotton... where did that cotton come from and who's the liability of the ownership of that carbon that was used to deliver the cotton there? So I think it's a very early industry as well. Currently, there really isn't a good full carbon calculator tool that is easy to use, and really does understand it because it goes to the massive level.Krissie Leyland  32:56What it could do is just estimate what your carbon footprint is and just maybe offset more than you think you need to. Then hopefully, you're at a higher level.Niki Tibble  33:11On the platform, when you sign up, there's a dashboard that tells you all your stats. It tells you your estimate of how many trees you planted or gifted and it gives you an estimate of what that is in carbon, according to what our projects have been audited at.Krissie Leyland  33:30So based on that, then, what are some milestones that you've reached that you're really proud of?Niki Tibble  33:39As you know, when you start a business and you're like, "Oh, god, no one's gonna use it1" then you get your first customer that you don't know... So that was a big milestone, when it wasn't my mom planting a tree. I mean, it happened really quickly. I think it was the next day, wasn't it Alan.Alan Wilson  33:58Yeah. I mean, we kept saying, "how long is it gonna be before someone tells someone to tell someone who wants a tree?" Yeah, Nikki's mum's our first customer. So Nikki's mum, when she she planted the first one: it was five o'clock in the 14th of October... then we did a soft, soft launch, wasn't it Niki? Niki's mum posted on Facebook and then 24 and a half hours later, the first person who had no connection with us started planting trees, which is great. So a lot quicker than we thought.Niki Tibble  34:37Yeah, that was a nice milestone. And I think the first person that automated a tree without any input from us–we didn't talk them through the setting up, they just went they did it–that was, for me, that was a big milestone to think we've actually created this system where you can just plant trees automatically. And it works and people are doing it without us having to build the tech for them.Alan Wilson  35:01That you didn't have to deal with tech? (laughter)Niki Tibble  35:10Yeah it was because I didn't have to do any of the tech. That was the actual milestone for me. (laughter)Krissie Leyland  35:10Do you get notified when someone does that on their phone?Niki Tibble  35:17Yes, we have it popping out whenever trees are planted. And it's getting to the stage where it's like, "I can't cope."Krissie Leyland  35:26Really? That's amazing. I'd be like up first.Rich Bunker  35:38Yeah, amazing.Krissie Leyland  35:44People–what, sorry, were you going to say something?Alan Wilson  35:47No, no, no. Just other milestones. I mean, we've planted tons of thousands of thousands of trees. It's just really been, I think, overall it's just a milestone in terms of doing that business that is good. My previous business is great business and ecommerce, but it's about growth, customers and making customers good. But this is just about everything. I think its customers, partners, end customers, our customers... Just everything has just been so great. I think so. I think pushing towards environment has been good, it's just been brilliant.Niki Tibble  36:23And it must be like what you two feel with MindfulCommerce, where you've taken something where you're making an actual impact, you know, genuine difference. As opposed to, before obviously copywriting I love and I can bring joy to people at work... but to actually make a positive impact on the planet is just heartwarming.Alan Wilson  36:45Actually... just as we've talked, someone just planted 100 trees.Niki Tibble  36:48Woo!Krissie Leyland  36:48Yay!Rich Bunker  36:49Well done on that!Alan Wilson  36:55We do have a bad news story... On our early days with some test customers. So my Auntie Barbara...Niki Tibble  37:03Oh, yeah...Alan Wilson  37:04...we asked some people to test that out and then my auntie dedicatedly bought five trees, and then she gives a four star review.Krissie Leyland  37:21but Five stars!Niki Tibble  37:23She says she doesn't get five stars.Alan Wilson  37:26Yes, I replied. So I thought she must have done a mistake. "What are you doing? Why'd you give us four stars?" She was like "I never give a five star son"Rich Bunker  37:37She's clearly one of those poeple that's a bit like myself, "there's always room for improvement!"Alan Wilson  37:43She's only gonna get a four star Christmas present this year. (laughter) Everyone else's gave us five stars.... But yeah.Krissie Leyland  38:03I think we've asked quite a lot. Anything else that you'd like to cover?Niki Tibble  38:10No, I don't think so. Alan?Alan Wilson  38:12No, no.Krissie Leyland  38:13Where can people find you if they have any questions about planting trees with MoreTrees?Niki Tibble  38:18So our website is and there's loads of tons of information on there. And we're always hanging around in live chat, as well.Krissie Leyland  38:29Do you have an email? And are you on social media?Niki Tibble  38:33Yeah, so the email is and all our social media handles are moretreeshq.Krissie Leyland  38:41Perfect. Thank you! There's a question there about how can people get started but I think we've kind of covered that to be honest.Alan Wilson  38:54 It's just easy. I mean, that's the beauty of it. You can if you want the pre top up credits, you can. You can automate if you just want to buy it there straight, and then it is really, really quick. And Niki has done some nice little User Guide videos and stuff.Niki Tibble  39:08Yeah, what we haven't covered is that the process, the sign up is free. Then you can plant trees for yourself. You can either plant the most needy tree and most needy project or you can select the specific tree and project type. Then if you're planting for your customers, you can either do it manually, which is just typing in their name and email address by a spreadsheet. So just Bulk Upload, which is the same details (name and email address) or you can use Alan's wonderful API's and Zapier integrations to do it all automatically. It really is that simple. In fact, we actually have to add in a step to make it harder to plant trees because people were saying, "well, I wasn't ready to plant trees. I didn't know I was going to plant a tree!". Because when you do it for someone else, they get a customized message, which you can tailor in the email settings. People were like "I didn't realize. It was too easy. I hadn't set up my message and I wasn't ready." We had to add another little step saying, "Are you sure?" because people found it too easy. You have to make it harder to plant trees...Krissie Leyland  40:20But it's good because it made me personalize the email and I thought, "Oh yeah, this is better." (laughter) Thank you very much. This has been great.Niki Tibble  40:29No, thank you.Alan Wilson  40:29Thank you, appreciate it.Niki Tibble  40:32I mean, I think MindfulCommerce is such a brilliant idea and a great community.Krissie Leyland  40:37Thank you! We could we could maybe do an event or something together soon.Rich Bunker  40:44We hope you enjoyed the episode today. If you did, you're probably like being in our community. There's a whole host of exciting things going on.Krissie Leyland  40:51So don't forget to join by going to Click on 'Community' and register from there.Rich Bunker  40:57If you liked this episode, please share, leave a review and remember to subscribe.
This is a very raw and real conversation and self reflection - I really hope this helps even just one person. I explore the connection with experiencing bullying at a young age and the journey to becoming a business owner and entrepreneur. I also talk a bit about my upbringing, my parents, my boyfriend and how surfing saved my life and how this led to where I am today.
Today, we are talking to Gavin from Discolabs who make things possible on Shopify plus through custom development. They're a team with deep platform knowledge and world class expertise on Shopify plus, and have a list of happy clients. We got them on the show to talk about their carbon report - diving into the inspiration behind it and how you can do the same.
Today, we're talking to Tom from Noughts and Ones: a Shopify agency working with purpose-driven ecommerce brands who want to make a meaningful impact online. We love their advocacy for a better world, their passion for Shopify and sustainable commerce.
Today we're talking to Jessica and Naomi from Twelve, a sustainability consultancy firm, helping businesses respond to the climate and ecological emergency and embed sustainability in the way they work. We talk to Jessica and Naomi about our sustainability framework, which we built with them last year. It was a very interesting project. And we think it is going to be very beneficial for the ecommerce industry, and also for the planet.
This week we are SO happy to share our conversation with the extremely wonderful Lucy Roberts, of Reverie The Boutique and Shopify Plus Agency, Brave The Skies. In this episode, we explore the intersection of e-commerce, sustainability and the luxe market. And yes - the three are totally compatible!
Find us:  Head to to register & join the MindfulCommerce community as an expert, brand or merchant Instagram: @mindfulcommerce Facebook @MindfulCommerce Contact Us - Where to find Gerry McGovern:Gerry McGovern's websiteGerry McGovern's Books - Including World Wide WasteContact Gerry - gerry@gerrymcgovern.comSponsor:This podcast is sponsored by Kollectify, a content marketing agency working specifically with Shopify solutions to successfully position and promote the app or agency Show notes:Krissie  0:00  Hello, and welcome to episode three of the Mindful Commerce podcast. I'm Krissie, and I'm your host for this episode. In this episode, I talk to a very inspiring man who knows all about sustainability on the web and his name is Gerry McGovern. Gerry has written a book called Worldwide Waste, which is all about how digital is killing our planet, and what we can do about it. In this episode, we talk about how the digital world is killing our planet and what Gerry thinks e-commerce brands and tech companies can do to combat the problem. Amongst many other topics, we discussed the ideal synergy of going back to localisation and community with a dash of innovative technology and less data collection. I hope you enjoy this episode. It's really fascinating. If you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to email us at and all the details will be in the show notes. Enjoy. Hi, Gerry, welcome to the MindfulCommerce podcast. Thank you for joining us today. Would you like to kick things off by just telling us your story and how you ended up where you are today?Gerry McGovern  1:22  Okay, Krissie, and Thanks for the invite to be here. I used to many years ago, I was a freelance journalist back in there in the 90s, in the early 90s, and doing all sorts of different work for music and some, a little bit technology as well. And I came across the internet very early, maybe about '93 or so '94, sometime around then. And I thought wow, this is gonna, it's gonna change the world. And basically, from then on one way or another, either true, you know, for a while, I got commissioned to do a report for the Irish government around '94, about the future of the internet and society. And so that kept me busy for a while and then started some companies and you know, some of those companies went bust and had the whole, had the whole dot com bust experience. And then, you know, started writing books, this is my last book, worldwide waste is my eight. And traveling and doing workshops and working with clients and developed a methodology called top task, which is a kind of a prioritization system for, you know, really focusing on what matters, and that's been my main kind of work for the last 10 or 15 years is helping organisations implement top tasks projects.Krissie  2:56  Okay, interesting, then, so when was it that you kind of realised that digital is not so great for our planet? So, obviously, if used in the right way, it's, it's great, but yeah, tell me a little bit about that.Gerry McGovern  3:12  Yeah, really, only maybe two or three years ago, you know, because I always changed my computer every two years, changed my phone every two years. And, you know, I really had the impression that, that I was lucky to be working a digital like, I was, you know, watching, you know, the movements out there, and, you know, Greta Thunberg, and all those other wonderful young people, you know, really being passionate and idealistic and trying to make changes, and I kinda, I thought that's, that's nice to see. And, you know, isn't it great that, you know, where I'm, what I'm doing is, is helping them and, you know, but I taught in the back of my head, then I realised I was taking back over my careers since the 90s. And just, it kind of struck me that so many times in so many organisations, what we needed to do, specifically, say I did a lot of work for Internet's for a number of years. And that internets were just dumps and that to make them work, we nearly always had to delete 80 or 90% of the data and then systems, going into organisations and finding five or six or seven systems for training and, you know, all these duplications of systems that just got the sense of "Wow this is an incredible amount of waste in here", and nearly all the projects I've worked on where, you know, huge dumps that either the public websites, I remember, you know dealing with the US Department of Health and in one area there 200,000 pages, and they deleted 150,000 of them and nobody noticed. They didn't get a single inquiry. And I kept just seeing that. So that kinda was in the back of my head. And I thought, wow, you know, maybe digital listeners, as green as I, you know, Todd was and then when I started doing research and looking at e-waste, you know, recognising e-waste in particular, because, you know, I, I never really saw where these old computers went or cables or stuff like that. So it was really digging into the dark e-waste story that, you know, began to open up some talks that maybe digital is, is not nearly as green as I had been thinking as was over most of my career.Krissie  6:01  Yeah, so e-waste in terms of like, you know, your laptops, your phones. And then like, do you know where they end up? Do they end up in landfill as well? Gerry McGovern  6:12  They do most of them. See, what we have, you know, us in the rich countries, we've created a really nice system where our air is clean, and, you know, our environments are very clean. But we've essentially outsourced waste. So we go to poor countries, and we get them to manufacture the products very, very cheaply. And whatever waste is accrued there. And, you know, in the manufacturing process, or getting the raw materials, it's rarely, like a lot of these raw materials are for, they're called rare, rare materials, because they are rare. And they're difficult to find. And often they're found in virgin habitats, or, you know, in Western Africa, where the great apes, you know, there's certain type of rare, rare that's only found there. And, you know, in unusual places, that humans had not really been in insignificant numbers. So that's how we, you know, we suck all those raw materials out of certain countries then we give those materials to people in other more poor developing countries. And then we get our nice shiny products. And then two years later, we dumped them. But what happens is, they often get back to the very set back to the very same countries that the raw materials were dug up in. So we recycle less than 20%. And even recycling is incredibly crude, like a lot of like, somebody was telling me that in data centres, they just shred, they shred the servers that are working perfectly well, you know, every three or four years, they just shred them for either security or privacy, or they're worried that data might be accessed on them. So there's these perfectly working servers, because they've got this commitment to uptime, you know, they, they have to meet 99.9% uptime. So they don't want to take that statistical chance that the server will break. So even recycling is most recycling does not actually recycle in any real sense. And then the other 80% are put on big containers and, and are sent back to poor countries where they often end up in landfills, and they end up being burned, you know, with toxic fumes, so as to get out some gold or wood. So they're in open pits. So this, we never see these pictures when we see the Apple iPhone or the or the Samsung, we see the most beautiful things. But behind the scenes is a very ugly, very ugly world that we've created. But our world looks great, you know, because we outsource. We outsource all the nasty stuff to places that consumers won't see.Krissie  9:18  That's crazy. That's really crazy. So would you say, so someone like me? Oh, what can I do? Can I just you know, don't upgrade my phone every year or two?Gerry McGovern  9:32  Yeah, that's the single biggest thing. Like somebody did a study recently at a UK entity and they said that "If you kept your phone for five years versus two years, you essentially have the water issue in making devices" so they're making less phones, right. So you, you cut in half the amount of water required and the amount of co2. So keeping it between two and five years, has a huge makes a huge difference. Because, see, the problem with electronics is that electronics are very manufacturing intensive. So, the piece of electronics requires much more energy to create than a screwdriver or a knife, you know, or, you know, some other physical object. So there's a much higher intensity of energy. And as with energy is waste and often material. So these rare earth materials to get one tonne of Iridium or whatever it is, I can't remember they did, there's about 16 or 17 rare materials, well, you probably need to do 100 tonnes of mining. And often that mining is a kind of a pollutant, they add a kind of chemicals to actually filter out these materials. So, so the the very act of mining is very toxic in the environments that it actually happens in. And it creates these huge large kind of lakes because they use a lot of water and chemicals, that kind of have got to be dammed up in in the area. So, if we hold on to, and I think I think what we need to do, as well as somehow is to agitate for repairability and fixability, because many of these phones are deliberately designed to break. Krissie  11:43  YesGerry McGovern  11:44  So they deliberately designed them so the designers sit around, deliberately specking out how do we make this not work after 2, 3, 4 years? And often it's with software updates, you know, so there's a deliberate strategy to actually break our phones. So that sort of, we have to buy more stuff. So, you know, there's the right to repair. There's movements beginning in the European Union are looking at, so holding on and if your phone breaks, trying to get it fixed, and going into it, why can't it be fit? Because they know if enough of us are getting in touch with the local politicians are saying this, I should be able to fix this? So fixing it when it breaks, like, so I've committed now, you know, there's my computer I've got, I'm gonna stick with it. And if and when it breaks, I'm going to try and fix it like, and I'm going to go and say, Well, how do you replace to hard disk? I want to replace to hard disk. You know? And how do I replace the screen? And why can't you replace this? You know, because if enough of us started saying that, basically we accept this world that we've been given. So hold on to it as long as you possibly can, and demand the right to repair and repair it and get it, you know, repaired and ask about those issues when you're buying. I never asked, I never considered warranty or stuff like that, or issues or you know, and get a five year often longer warranties, you know, are better. You know because they make a commitment to the organisation that they will repair it, you know, for X number of years. So, so holding on and thinking about repairability it's stuff that you know, I've already started thinking of in the last two or three years like I can't, I don't know, it's just invisible to us in so many ways. Krissie  13:55  Yeah and then I think if they can't repair it, they can't fix it. Well, then can they recycle it? And then are they actually recycling it properly?Gerry McGovern  14:05  exactly, exactly ask questions, ask. Because if thousands of us, like, somebody told me this story about a lady, I don't know if it's in Ireland or the UK or whatever. And every week she goes to the local supermarket to do her shopping. Then she buys her shopping and then she just goes beyond the tail and she takes everything out of the plastic that you know, she tries to avoid plastic if she can, but anything that has plastic, she unwraps and puts it into a bag she has carried with her and then she she just gives the plastic. Here you go. I don't want it. You know? And if only we could scale that woman. You know by a 10,000 or a million. Then we'd see change. Yeah, I think we have got to have change. at a national level, there's not this idea of blaming the consumer. Yeah, that's what the plastics industry did for 50. That was great PR, you know, we got this better recycling. We know that 90%, well, a huge percentage of plastic is not recycled. You know, that's stuff I learned. Most plastic is not recycled. It's does all we think we're doing good in the green bin, but actually, most of the time we're not. And even being aware of that, you know, that, really demanding that if you make it, you take care of it, you know. And that making the manufacturers responsible, I think, until we make the manufacturers responsible, we will never solve this problem. But I think it's up to the consumers to make the manufacturers responsible, because unfortunately, politicians, yeah, many good many bad, but are often more controlled by the hidden powers behind the scenes than we would want them to be and will nearly always defend those powers over ordinary citizen, and certainly over planet rights.Krissie  16:18  Yeah, definitely. I think if so, because it is to do with consumerism and overconsumption and, you know, mostly, it's the big businesses that need to change. But what do you think the small to medium size like I don't know, any e-commerce brand doesn't matter if they're, they've got sustainability at their core or not, but what can they do to make a difference?Gerry McGovern  16:43  Well, I think what you just said they're genuine sustainability at your core, because I was reading an article there at the weekend about luxury brands and luxury thinking now. And I don't know if that's true or not, but the writer was saying that there's a real shift in what is luxury? You know, that, that it's a movement away from, you know, this, whatever that Kardashian logo, you know, that visual bling, or whatever, or variants of that gold, to days, how it's made, how much water it use, you know, that there's a shift in thinking about what is luxury, and, and what is quality and what is things I want to buy? So, I think, if we are genuinely sustainable and sustainable at the core, I don't know how much of a business that's, that's out there. But certainly, I think there's a feeling or a mode to buy local, you know, because the closer you are from the thing you consume, the less waste. So if you've got onions out in your garden, there's less waste in consuming those onions than if you buy the onions in the supermarket. So distance, so there's ideas, you know, around, you know, being local, and being nearby and, you know, calculate, and people genuinely, because a lot of times you look at it, here's a T shirt that costs, you know, 40 euros, but here's why it costs 40 euros, and we give three euros to the person who made it. Whereas she typically only gets 50 cents, you know, and there's some very good e-commerce entities, I think ask it is one of the console, where they're calculating the entire lifecycle of the product. And they're saying, and we make 10 euros on that, you know, and that's okay. Yeah, be honest and transparent and tell their story. And, you know, and yes, it costs a bit more, but here's why it costs a bit more. And actually, this will last you 5 years or 10 years, and you know that and I think I've been thinking as well like my old jeans and things like that, and then committed to where and I think, wouldn't it be great if we had a whole network of designers, you know, local design within an area, and that you say, Hey, here's, these jeans, they're beginning to shred now in places I don't want them to shred and to do something and, you know, be willing to pay the price of a new pair of jeans for the design of that pair. I would be. I don't know how many other, you know, and so they've used 70% of the materials of the jeans that I gave them, but they added 30% new material, and they put a nice design, you know, and then you're going around, and then you're genuinely unique. You've got a custom pair of jeans. But um, you paid 30 euros or 40 euros, or whatever you paid for it. And that is going to be good for the planet. And it's good for local business, and it's good. So I'm quite hopeful in many ways of, you know, genuine sustainable business is not, there's so much unfortunately, in marketing that has been a con you know, over the years, but genuine stories of genuine people, like I see, you know, I cracked my wedding ring, there a couple of months gone. I got it fixed in, in this, you know, workshop that just specialises in this sort of stuff. And it was just, it was just lovely to, obviously, the mask on and everything on the screen. But I could see the people working behind. And I could see that it was just lovely to see these people who you could just know that have 30 or 40 years of experience and, and you know, all at all cost me I think was 30 euros. I was I was thinking to myself, why would I get from a writer or a developer or a programmer for 30 euros? Like, here, I got the ring back and it closed. It is like new, polished. And there's no way you could see the crack, the old crack. This was just, just beautiful work. And it cost me 30 euros. So it's not that expensive to give craftspeople work, and you get beautiful stuff back. You know, so I think there's models and this is how the web can be used that to connect up with Google and then to connect up with Coca Cola, or, whoever wants to manipulate the next election that we we can connect up with, you know, John, the goldsmith, you know, or Susan, who's a great at designing, you know, clothes and, you know, she just lives 20 miles away, or that you can somehow get it to people it who are more distant, but it's sent by a really economical energy conserving transport mechanism, and they'll do it. And I think there are ways and means that whether it's genuine sustainability, whether it's making cheese, or, you know, like, I think there's a mode for that.Krissie  22:53  So basically, going back to the old times where there was no online shops, there was no, you know, it's all local and lovely, and community of makers and craft, crafty, men. Gerry McGovern  23:07  Yeah, but with technology, like with, like that, that you get a notification that says, oh, your friend Marius is in the coffee shop now, you know, I mean, obviously, all of this has to be careful in privacy and but with the, because often we don't know what's local, that's the funny thing. You know, we don't know what's near us, in many ways where we're more aware of what's 10,000 miles away, you know. We don't know that there's a craft cheese maker down the road, most of us don't. So the technology can connect that, can be a connective local tissue. So it's not, I don't want, I grew up on a small farm, you know, where we didn't even have machinery, I don't want to go back to that work. As nice as some people might think it was, I thought was absolutely horrible. Like, I like having a phone. I love checking up stuff. You know, online, I like connecting up with interesting people. And so I don't, I want the benefits of both. And I think we can, we can have both. So I'm not, I'm not anti technology. I'm just anti waste. And a kind of us being owned by Facebook and Google and Amazon and just making another trillion for Jeff Bezos. I have no interest in that.Krissie  24:32  Absolutely not. I think there needs to be a really nice happy medium. But I think, so the biggest thing of technology is data. And big data is a solution to many problems, but only used in the right way. And I just think, I'd like to ask you if you think there's a happy medium between the amount of data that we need and the data that we don't need, so for example, Facebook, Google, like, what do you think is the happy medium there?Gerry McGovern  25:09  I think most data is not useful and is not used. And there's a very crude way that we work in that we try and collect everything with the expectation that we are, at least we have it, and we might find a use for it later. So I think we need a much more mindful understanding of what we need to collect and what we need to use, like, i've had an email newsletter since 1996, just a simple 500 words every week. And then, you know, over the years or recently I was trying to say, How do I get it? Because I don't want or I don't care who opened it or didn't open it? It's no, I don't want to track people. Like I don't I don't want to do any of that. It's almost impossible to find a company that doesn't track that you know, tracking is just inherent what you mean, you don't want tracking? You have to have it. Like No, I don't want it does, it has no benefit to me. It is zero benefit and have zero interest in it and in tracking. So I don't want it, no, but you have to have, like we collect, whether people want it or not. Whether it's used or not. It's collected. And, you know, for years as well, like I just wanted a text newsletter. And the systems I choose, I set it up as text, and then six months later it be HTML will become an asset. How is this happening? Like, it's like, the system is demanding that you go to that ultimate level, like we've designed systems and structures that they always seek to max out either on features or collection of data. And I think, really thinking do we need this because when my core has been this the research, the top tasks. And then with the top task list, there's a number of segmentation questions. And, you know, really trying to get, I always say no more than 5 to 8 maximum or whatever. But often keeping people within the maximum is a real challenge in many situations. And then even with that, often, they don't even look at the detailed data Even then, to 5 to 8, the look at it once, they'll take the top level data and maybe use it but you know, we don't, it's like we're buying tomatoes, and we buy, you know, 10 kilos of potatoes every week. And we only use one kilo or a half a kilo. And nine and a half kilos is just get stored in the cloud. And,  it's nine and a half kilos or gigabytes every week. And we only use half a kilo. Why don't we collect the half a kilo that we use? Then, you know, the impact on the data centres on our servers on our computers on our processing. All these stats that say 90% of data is never used three months after it's created. If we could, if we could only deal with 50% of that. Think of how many less computers, less meetings, the amount of meetings I've sat in over the years of teams on a Monday morning or whatever, talking about the The Google Analytics and trying to seem intelligent about bounce rates and time on pages. Most analytics is bullshit. It's analytics theatre. It's, it has no meaning. And people go and they do things that oh, we should. Oh, that page was really looked at a lot. Yeah, well, yeah. What are you gonna do? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, we're really popular now. Yeah, you're the WHO, It's a pandemic.Krissie  29:14  Yeah!Gerry McGovern  29:16  You know, most of these metrics can mean, horrible are good. You know, lots of people visiting the page. Yeah, maybe your product is crummy. Like, your pricing is confusing. Like so, so much of this stuff. And when I talk to people, they really don't know what they're doing. I think there's an awful lot of people and an awful lot of companies that actually don't know what they're doing.Krissie  29:45  Yeah, especially with data.Gerry McGovern  29:47  They're about a month ago, we were looking at the blackberries out on the, you know, the roadsides or the hedges and, and I was thinking now if this was a big data problem, Look, what would what would Big Data people do? They'd hire a huge digger, and a trailer. And they'd go out and they take off all the hedges, you know, for a five or 10 mile radius. And then they'd bring them back to a huge yard, and they dumped them in that yard. And then they'd start looking for the berries. Yeah, that's the way we approach big data, we collect, you know, all of this stuff. And most of it is, is absolute crap. It's totally, it's totally never, it would never be used. Because when you look at it, at a level of data, you get down to a certain level, there is data, that is totally, absolutely without question, useless. You know, it's like you saved, for some reason the system is outputting Excel files, and CSV files, you know, there's these sorts of it, and you only need Excel files or you only need CSV files. Yeah. Or there's a duplication happening here, or there's a, you know, there's this happening, or there's, like, there's things happening in data, that anybody any sort of analysis would look at it, we don't need that that's a, that's not used, there's no way we'll ever use that. You know, I don't care whether we bring in 50 Einsteins, that's just not usable. And that can be 20, 30, 40, 50% of the data being being collected, and not alone is it not useful if you're training the AI on crap. Krissie  31:35  Yeah for sure. And then their technology isn't right, then, if they're learning.Gerry McGovern  31:42  It's getting these strange biases, or these strange, you know, behavior patterns. Because, you know, if AI was a human, you know, we bring it into McDonald's every day and force it to eat everything, you know, 15 Big Macs, and eat and then go to the West Bend and eat that as well. You know, that's, that's the way we're training our AI. Our AI is will be strange beasts.Krissie  32:09  Oh weird, what a strange thought. So in your opinion, then. So say if you're building an app, what are the most important considerations that they should think about? For example, like, I don't know, a customer review app, which integrates on Shopify stores. Like how can they decide which data they collect, and which they don't?Gerry McGovern  32:40  Yeah, so number one, do you even need the app? Or do you know like, I downloaded the government app for COVID-19? I don't know if it works any more, you know, or is it really useful? Or, you know, is it practical? You know, we don't ask those hard questions like, Oh, you know, this really requires Bluetooth, to work effectively. Like, is that, you know, is Bluetooth stable? Will it really collect? You know, so really asking, is this one, you know, kind of, can we collect this properly and efficiently and  really digging into, you know, we're coming out at the cult of move fast and break things and we've seen, they've broken a lot, you know, Facebook, et al, they've, they've really managed to break America kinda to break the USA. They've move fast, and they broke the USA, in,  their cult of speed and stuff like that, and a little bit of thoughtfulness and about, what are we trying to achieve? And can we achieve it through the website? Why do we need an app? You know, why can it not be, can it not work, true to you, what does it actually need to really do? And then, you know, even if we're unsure of our data, well say, well, well, let's collect for six months or three months, or, like, why do we need to track like, and what can we achieve by not tracking? Like, what if we say to, you know, what's the cost of tracking? You know, what can we say, to, you know, the customer, like, we don't track you. What's that world? You know, what sidewalk as a branding statement, you know, no tracking here. You know, we we'll chat with you, but we don't track you. We don't collect information on you, you know, other than if you buy something from us, but here's exactly what we collect. And otherwise, you know, we don't and how much faster will our page with things be if we don't track and you know, and If we don't do this not enough people ask, what's the benefits of not doing this?Krissie  35:05  Exactly! And also, I was going to ask you, if I was trying to persuade a tech company, like don't store this data, because it damages the planet, because dot dot dot? What would those... how would you fill in those dots?Gerry McGovern  35:21  Well, speed will be well, privacy and, you know, definitely, you know, and I think there's a big moment. I think there's a building tsunami of privacy coming of people, you know, wanting to be protected and wanting to be more anonymous, and, you know, much more skeptical about people collecting their data, I really get a sense that a movement gathering momentum, so I think the organisations that are positioned in the future, that actually are the least intrusive, you know, in people's lives will, you know, have a real positioning statement of, you know, sustainability will probably be a key element of that will be, you know, minimum collection of data, because the less data, the less waste. You know, there's every piece of data requires energy to create and to store. Yeah. So, you know, and of course, the less data created, or the less tracking, the faster, the better the experience on the page downloading. I see. Yeah. New York Times have announced they're, they're stopping cookies, you know, they're, moving. And see, most of this doesn't even work. You know, I've seen in studies that you get just as good an advertising return from contextual advertising than from all this. But most of it is, most of it is trickery. And it's, it's, it doesn't actually work. Like it actually, it's just phantasmagoria stuff. It's magic. You know, Google said years ago, they got rid of the magic in advertising. No, they didn't, they just, they brought back the magic micro targeting God, called Google. Most of the times, it doesn't actually work, putting an ad for sports shoes, or whatever, in the sport section is just as effective as trying to target me, you know, and understand that now I need sports shoes, like so. So no, this stuff actually doesn't work. So find out what actually works. And, you know, at least if you're going to destroy the planet, have a purpose to destroy. You know, if you if you're going to create waste and use energy, at least use it for a purpose, but to create waste just to fill a dump. Yeah. You know, so purposeful. And knowing that, you know, there is a there is an argument to go out there to consumers and say, well, we are, you know, we're in the lowest tier of tracking, we collect the minimal amount of information on you. Certainly, that's the type of company I'd be interested in doing business with.Krissie  38:24  Yeah, for sure. I think at the moment, the struggle is that, you know, personalisation in e commerce is a really big trend. And it has been for a while. And so you know, you get personalised emails, where the recommended products based on what you've previously purchased. And so if your company is based on that, and like, that's what your USP is, we're a personalisation app.Gerry McGovern  38:51  Yeah, and if it's working, it's what, you know, but a lot of these are not working, you know, they're actually not work. I saw studies that you know, something 80 90% of these personalisation projects did not show return on investment. A lot of this stuff is magic. You know, it's, it's snake oil sales, it's actually not as effective as it's been made out to be. You know, so is it actually working? You know? Like, is it actually all these personal emails? You know, or is it just annoying the hell out to your customers? You know, for every for every one that you convert, have you have you pissed off 20 more?Krissie  39:36  Yeah. Because I think, you know, yeah, like you said, you're gonna piss people off, and if they're more switched on to it now, it's like, oh, that's just a personalised ad.Gerry McGovern  39:49  I don't know about you, Krissie. But every time I get an email from anybody, you know, and like that, the first thing I got is straight unsubscribe. I said I didn't give them permission, you know, everybody  seems to think they can bombard you? You know, and and I go straight unsubscribe or, you know, they're going into junk or whatever. So I think then, because everyone is doing, everyone's trying to be personal with you, and, you know, think of how creepy that is.Krissie Leyland  40:29Yeah, yeah. So I guess, then the three things that you would recommend is to think, is this actually going to be, Is this going to work? Do I need this data? And if not, then don't store it. Gerry McGovern  40:49Yeah, don't. And maybe there's an angle, you know, that you could test even if you've got numerous companies, or you're an open start and you say, you know, you come out, you're young, you're a start, and you say, we're not creepy. We don't personalise, we don't collect. Well, you won't be getting tons of emails from us, I promise, you know, you, we will not be bombarding you. You know, that's our commitment. Could that work? Or we will only send you six emails a year maximum. Krissie Leyland  41:25You know, only if we really need to email you. Gerry McGovern  41:28Yeah. You know, so we're not going to annoy you. That's part of our commitment. That's part of our total calculation, you know, of, the total cost of this T shirt. You know, because the 15 customised emails are part of the T shirt as well, cost as well. You know, and, the data it sucked up. So, you know, I think there's a conscious consumer out, or more conscious consumers. I mean, I hope there is because if we, if there isn't, we have no chance. Krissie Leyland  42:03There is. That's what the MindfulCommerce community is. So, but then a brand might argue, right, so if I'm not going to send any emails, I'm probably not going to be on social media that much. So how do I get my message out there? How do I tell people about this new product that we've got that is sustainable and it is ethical? Gerry McGovern  42:26Well, maybe maybe, you are on, you are calculating you know, are you saying, we will just send you six emails a year, you know, we will just say, you know, and our emails are, X number of K, you know, and actually two of those will be text only, you know, for those who read, and we will, we use social media, but we don't, we only use video, every 50 post and we really think about video. And we tend to use text. And, you know, we use SMS messages in a clever way, because an SMS message creates 295 times less pollution than an email. You know, so there's different scales up from, from a text message to an email, to an audio to a video, like 30 seconds of video is like 60,000 or 100,000 or 200,000 text messages, you know, one 30 second, you know, so, you know, we're careful. And we compress well, and we do all these sorts of things. But if I thought, you know, somebody was consciously, you know, connecting with me, like, I'll open, if they do send me an email, then, you know, from, you know, that ring, they fixed the ring. Yeah, but we're bombarded you know, we just bomb everybody's telling us how much they care about us during COVID-19 whether they're airlines, you know, like, whatever. Krissie Leyland  44:08I delete those ones now. Gerry McGovern  44:10Yeah, well, it's all a blur, isn't it? Like, it's all you just, you just thought you want to live your life a bit like, you know, so? I think that there's a space as you say, for, for mindful commerce. Krissie Leyland  44:26Yeah, definitely. And and I think, you know, when we are back to normal, because we will get back to normal, or the new normal. Instead of emailing and you know, social media, maybe we'll be able to do more events and like, you know, community events. And then they can promote their brand that way. But yeah, I like the idea of just having just saying, right, we're not collecting your data, we're not going to target you. And here's all the reasons why. Gerry McGovern  44:57Yeah, or here's all the data, here's what we collect on you. And it's typically only 20% of what others will collect. And you can go out and check that, you know. So we say, we need to collect it, you know, or we feel or this helps, because we want to keep the size your size of your shoe. You know, and, and we will let you know, but only, you know, if, in a maybe in two years or, and we take back your shoes, we will repair them and sell them or, you know, or, you know, that's our sort of stuff. It's really, truly useful from both sides. You know, it's not it's not "No", you know, but some, some environments will say we actually, we don't need any. Some will say, you know, actually, when we look at it, the nature of our product, we don't need to collect anything. So all we need to collect very little, but really thinking that every, every collection is an invasion. Tracking, I mean, when the tracking ever seemed like a positive thing. You know, think of the very word tracking, you know? And the dangers inherent in being tracked? Who wants to be tracked?  Krissie Leyland  46:20I just don't know if anyone is aware, like, because businesses aren't that transparent about it, or, you know, there's this really long chunk of text telling you about the data, and you just accept it without reading it, because you just don't have the time to read it. So they get away with it. Gerry McGovern  46:37Yeah. Krissie Leyland  46:39Yeah. So if, if brands are more transparent, about if they are collecting data, why they are, then I think that's okay. Gerry McGovern  46:49Yeah, and, you know, let's see real sustainable brands, mindful brands that, you know, are not out to screw us, are not out to fool us and not out, you know, and say, here's a reason, here's our problem. Yeah, great. You know, I think there's lots of people want to buy gold from those sorts of people. Yeah, you know, that, work hard and create beautiful things and that are genuinely useful and are repairable and are, you know, use as natural products as possible and don't use too many chemicals in the creation. You know, there is nothing wrong with that. That's a nice story. That's a good story. And, and if we need to collect some data, to make that story work, that's okay. But we do, we think about it, you know, what do we need to collect, what's really necessary, you know, and, you know, we're constantly trying to reduce the waste, whether it's the waste in the data, or the waste and the garment or the waste in the laptop, like, you know, for not, if we're not processing all this stupid data, then the laptop will last another year.  Krissie Leyland  48:13Yeah, good point.  Gerry McGovern  48:14Oh, you know, because the less stress I mean, if you don't drive your car as much your car last longer to, generally speaking, you know, so. So computers, like everything else, are affected by use, and if there's lots of intensive use, and so if you're not processing, if you're only processing, one gigabyte versus 30 gigabyte, that's, it's less energy, it's less stress on the parts. And you didn't need that other 40. And a lot of it is comes back to this mindfulness of really thinking about what you're doing, rather than just grabbing everything, and then bringing it all back home and saying "Now what? Oh, I don't want this, I don't want this, don't want this, don't want this" you know, be much more conscious about our decisions. And technology, the great danger of technology, Is that it is it stopping us actually thinking. Krissie Leyland  49:15Yeah, it is. Especially when you're sending an email and it finishes your sentence for you. And you're like, Oh, so I don't need to use my brain nails. Gerry McGovern  49:27Yeah, and that a, then you use it less and less and then we just become addicts. We don't, you don't, we lose our sense of agency in our very lives and then we start doing things to our customers because we don't, they're not it's not even that is, It's some it's some AI record on McDonald's data. Yeah, no, that's bombarding customers because of some flaw in the, in the connection or the interpretation of the data, because here's the thing about customisation. It can be wonderful. It can work. But when you get it wrong, you can get it extraordinarily wrong. Krissie Leyland  50:17Oh, gosh, so true. Do you have an example of someone who's got it?  Gerry McGovern  50:22Well you know, try, you know, all of these things like, you know, figuring out, you know, that, hey, someone in your household is pregnant, why not buy some clothes for the baby, or, you know, that has actually happened, or, you know, or, you know, all sorts of things where, you know, Facebook would be showing pictures of children who had died and families and so on the, the remembrance, or the, you know, what nice things happened this year, you know, it can get really, really ugly in people's lives. I mean, and look at the way these algorithms really operate. The work on our worst instincts. I mean, we see, I mean, the society that AI is building is not a pretty society in the USA at the moment, you know, it's not a pretty society, it is not building the society that tech is building. We are the customisation in or the targeted advertising. And it's not it's not a pretty society, we, you know, the USA is the most tech advanced society on Earth. Is that, is that the future we want for the world? Krissie Leyland  51:43Probably not. I think we need to talk about all of this more so that people realise what's going on. And then... because basically it you know, big tech companies are manipulating us.  Gerry McGovern  51:55Yeah, and all they care about, and these those big tech companies, they have no, they have no nations, they don't belong. They may be in Silicon Valley, but, you know, their accounts are in the Cayman Islands, or they they don't exist in any community. They have no loyalty to nothing. Other than the accumulation of the maximum, they don't, they will... Look at them, they make the biggest profits of any companies on earth, and they pay the least taxes because they are optimised to screw the earth basically. I mean that's what Facebook and Amazon are, screw the earth, that's their optimisation model. You know, maximise profit, minimise tax. It's not that they're bad people or, you know, it's just that that's the machine they've built.  Krissie Leyland  52:47Yeah. Oh, crazy times.  Gerry McGovern  52:52Yeah but not, but not, beyond our reach yet. Krissie Leyland  52:56We can still stop can't we? We can still make a difference. Gerry McGovern  53:01I think so. I mean, we at least have to try. Krissie Leyland  53:04Yeah. More conversations like this, I think. Gerry McGovern  53:08Yeah. Krissie Leyland  53:10Um, so if you could give one tip to our listeners. So they are e-commerce, tech developers and e-commerce brands, what would that tip be? Gerry McGovern  53:22I mean, I think move slow and fix things, you know, and be thoughtful, be mindful. Think about your decisions more. I mean, this, you know, agile and sprinting, it's great, but you can sprint in the wrong direction. Like, and really thinking about the decision before we make it and the parameters of the decision, I'm thinking, we've got trapped in this total short term loop of, we can't think beyond a week or a month. We got to think longer. And we can, and it requires exercise and requires disciplines and requires doing maybe games or whatever, to actually stretch our minds, you know, like, like, we stretch our muscles who we need to stretch our minds. We still can, we've got this wonderful human brain that is actually still much more efficient than the most efficient AI, you know, like that consumes the energy consumption, you know, of the brain, it's about 20 watts an hour. Think of all the stuff that the brain does for 20 watts an hour. It's good value. And it's an it's the most sustainable thing you know, that that's out there. So getting people and, designing things, you know, that get people out there, away from the machines. Like that they're taking walks or you know, enjoying food or they're, you know, because everything in digital is consuming energy. So how do we get help people using technology partly but to live their lives more in nature rather than in technology? In technology 20% at a time rather than 80% and I don't mean no technology, but that like getting people to be more human, because we are human. We are not machines yet we are not circuit boards. Krissie Leyland  55:32No, not yet. You said yet, does that mean we might be one day? Gerry McGovern  55:36We will be, we will gradually become, you know, over 50 or hundred years, we will become, we will have brain implants. And we will have, you know, eye implants and become a time where we either when did the human stop and the sidebar begin I'm sure that, you know that. But that is a potential outcome of the way things are progressing. If we're not, unless we say well hold on a minute, do we really want to go this path but right now, we're still human. Unless in giant here, we made lots of mistakes. And hopefully we can learn. But right now we are flesh and bone and brain and if we do that, right, we can be less impactful on the environment, and less destructive. Combining the best of technology with the best of humans. I think that's the perfect outcome, but just treating technology as if it's some sort of a magic God, like, we are so susceptible to this idea of the God that knows it all. That'll figure it all out for us. And really, we replaced, you know, the traditional gods, with Apple and Google and Facebook and AI and they will no more lead us to a blissful world than the old ones really did. Krissie Leyland  57:13Amazing, very powerful. Very powerful answer, Gerry. Thank you. Thank you so much. So Gerry, where can people find you and how can they find out more? Gerry McGovern  57:28Worldwide Waste is available at You can read it for free there or buy a copy of it. Krissie Leyland  57:38This series is sponsored by Kollectify. Kollectify is a content marketing agency working specifically with Shopify solutions to successfully position and promote the app or agency. Episodes go out every Monday so don't forget to subscribe or you might miss a few knowledge bombs. And finally, if you'd like to join the MindfulCommerce community with lots of conscious brands and e-commerce experts, who are all working together to make change, please email and I'll send you the deets!
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