Green Toronto: ClickGreener

Our final installment of our 10-part Green Toronto series is a little late. We were actually going to cover Eco Flora (an eco-friendly florist), but there were some problems with the video. We hope to have an extensive profile on them at a later date.

Instead, I got in contact with Owen Ward from ClickGreener.com. This Toronto-based online company has only been around for a couple of weeks and already has more press coverage than they probably know what to do with. Their Facebook group is also coming on strong with 500 plus members and growing.

The business model behind ClickGreener.com couldn't be any simpler. Lots of online shopping sites like Indigo and Amazon have affiliate models whereby they'll pay sites referral fees for any customers they send their way. There are millions of sites that act as affiliates but what ClickGreener.com has done is they've cleverly aligned themselves with some green organizations to which they'll donate half of any affiliate fees they generate through their site.

For the consumer looking to help the environment while they shop, it's a no brainer. They simply need to use ClickGreener.com as a starting point before making purchases on sites they'd be shopping at anyway. No extra fees will be added to their order but a small amount of their purchase will end up with organizations like The World Wildlife Fund or Tree Canada because of the affiliate fee the online retailer pays out to ClickGreener.com.

For ClickGreener.com it has the potential to be a highly profitable business model. They don't assume any risk with the transaction because they're not actually selling the goods, stocking the inventory or handling the fulfillment. They're just collecting a referral fee, half of which they keep for themselves.

The concept is so simple that, if successful, will probably spawn a lot of copy-cat sites since barriers to entry are so low.

Owen Ward, who is one of three founders of the site, fills us in on a few more details in the Q&A below:

What sort of products or product categories do you feature?

You can use ClickGreener.com to purchase virtually anything! We have about 130 of the most popular online retailers on board, and are building that list everyday.

Do you ship to Canada and US customers? Any other countries?

Because people make their purchase on the retailer's online store, it depends on that individual retailer. We let people know which US stores ship to Canada, by placing a star beside their names in the quick menus. Another important thing to understand, is that people do not pay ClickGreener.com - they make their purchase as they usually would on their online store's site.

I know you're only a couple of weeks old, but how much revenue have you generated so far for the environmental organizations you support?

It's too early to know that - but I can tell you that if 1% of Canadian online shopping came through ClickGreener.com, we would raise approximately $1,000,000 for our environmental non-profit partners. Expand that to the US, and we're looking at well over $10,000,000. So we're VERY excited about the potential of ClickGreener.com.

Do you plan on supporting any other organizations? Why did you choose those four? Do you have relationships with any of these organizations? Do they know you're doing this?

We chose our four non-profit partners because they are the best at what they do. We chose four areas of environmental impact that we believe create a powerful synergy. Climate Change (WWF-Canada), Tree Planting (Tree Canada), Wildlife Conservation (Canadian Wildlife Federation), and Renewable Energy (Carbonfund.org).

On ClickGreener.com, people can vote on which of the four impact areas will receive the funds - and we will distribute the money raised proportionately to this survey.

At this time, we are focusing on our 4 current partners (and yes, we have a formal relationship with them).

What is preventing other affiliate partners from following a similar model?

There are many reasons - but at the end of the day, we believe we've created a compelling service that resonates with people who want to go greener in an easy and meaningful way - and we have deep commitment to innovation.

What are your future plans for the site?

We plan to constantly improve ClickGreener.com - and bring it to more and more people. We believe that there is a fundamental desire in people to help the planet. We would like to empower this wherever we can.

Previously in the Green Toronto series:

Part 1 - CarbonZero
Part 2 - Vert Catering
Part 3 - Grassroots
Part 4 - Heart on Your Sleeve
Part 5 - Green Garage
Part 6 - Fertile Ground
Part 7 - Bullfrog Power
Part 8 - Enviromaid
Part 9 - Karma Co-Op

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Environment

6 Toronto buildings with LEED Platinum certification

Quench wants you to re-fill your water bottle

Highlights from the 2012 Live Green Toronto Festival

Photos of the 2012 Eco-Wheels Show

5 things to see at the Toronto Green Living Show 2012

EV Fest brings electric vehicles to The Brick Works

Urban harvesting with Not Far From The Tree

Riverdale and the Junction aim for carbon neutrality