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This article was published on January 30, 2013

Facebook and the Cleantech Group seeking new ways to help people reduce their environmental impact

Facebook and the Cleantech Group seeking new ways to help people reduce their environmental impact
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Facebook has announced a collaboration deal with global market intelligence firm, the Cleantech Group, to help find new ways that the social network can raise awareness amongst its users about clean energy and to help reduce their environmental impact. To do so, both organizations have launched a contest asking users to submit their concept pitches for products, applications, or services for a chance to win $25,000.

Called “Cleantech Goes Social“, the hope is for developers and teams to create useful Facebook applications that support Cleantech’s mission of increasing the adoption of renewable technologies, engaging people on resource and energy issues, and promoting environmental sustainability. With more than a billion users on Facebook, the amount of sharing and discussion that could take place is rather intriguing to Cleantech.

Snap 2013-01-29 at 15.07.54

“There’s no shortage of new, clean technology addressing the world’s increasingly critical energy and resource challenges. However, engaging the public on these issues and bringing these technologies into people’s homes and businesses at scale have remained elusive goals. Facebook, which connects more than a billion people around the world, provides companies and individuals with an unparalleled opportunity to address this adoption challenge,” Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group says.

Cleantech says that those interested in applying for a chance at the top prize will need to complete an application form and submit a short pitch deck. All submissions will be judged based on the following criteria: its impact on the environment, how innovative it is, its feasibility, and usability.

All entries will be narrowed down to three finalists and Cleantech says that each one will be judged by 700 participants of its Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. The winning submission will receive $25,000 and mentorship from Cleantech and Facebook to help advance their product to the next step.

The cleantech industry is in bit of a flux right now. As the New York Times reported, the public stocks of solar, wind, and biofuel companies have been suffering due to industry pressure. Even governments have been reluctant to support it, with Europe pulling back on incentives and American subsidies in question in light of the surprising bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra.

Energy Leaders Attend International Renewable Energy Conference

However, there are investors who aren’t ruling out the industry — take legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who believes that while cleantech may have had its time “when it was in vogue”, now is not the case. Nevertheless, he believes that the industry is still expected to do better than industry averages by “keeping our losing companies to a minority.”

So while there are companies trying to produce cleantech products, “Cleantech Goes Social” is interested in promoting the cause and getting people to support the industry’s innovations. To that end, the organization has opened up the contest to the following:

  • Cleantech companies
  • Non-cleantech companies that sell cleantech or sustainability-related products
  • Companies interested in public or employee engagement around environmental issues
  • Corporations that want to use Facebook to extend the reach of their sustainability strategies
  • Individuals or organizations that want to build a network of people interested in cleantech, resource efficiency, and/or sustainability
  • Students
  • Web developers or tech companies with a passion for cleantech

When asked about the social network’s involvement in this program, Facebook’s sustainability head Bill Weihl says, “This initiative is a great way to leverage the Facebook platform to motivate individuals, groups, and communities to participate, promote, and share around energy and resource issues. It should help to accelerate the adoption and impact of a wide range of sustainability-focused projects and services.”

“Cleantech Goes Social”

Main header image: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit of Vinod Khosla: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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