This weekend I headed to the beach to learn more about how we could measure and reward efforts of communities cleaning up beaches around Cape Town. At Blouberg Beach, I met (or hunted down rather) Greg Player from Clean C — a non profit organisation who orchestrate a number of events, one being beach clean ups around the peninsula on the first Saturday of every month.
The pitch: I can give you $1 for every pound of rubbish your event collects today.
The response: oookkaaaay (He was a little sceptical to be sure. I did just chase him down the boardwalk)…
An hour later, I had collected my bag (not easy work, I tell you!) and Greg was photographing each person that contributed with their bag of rubbish.
The proven results?
6 bags of garbage off the beach at Blouberg, 42 collected in Milnerton, and 9 collected at Sunset Beach. (There were more events, but given the opportunistic approach of the investigation we were not able to capture the proof points we needed to verify the outcomes. Next month we’ll be better prepared.)
Money for Impact
Proof of Impact have an impact buyer offering $1 per pound of garbage collected from the beach. How did we reach the value of $1 per pound? We didn’t, the impact buyer did. Just like any other marketplace. Clean C will receive $672 which will go towards the purchase of a vehicle allowing them to collect the bags from all future events, and remove them for further sorting and recycling. This is the first transaction in our natural capital marketplace.
Lessons from the day:
- Get out there and find out first hand how we can prove the impact of events just like this. No amount of sitting at your computer strategising can replace the experience you gain.
- Adapt and learn. We thought that a photo of the beach before and after would be a sufficient proof point. Its not, not at Blouberg certainly and probably not at most beaches in Cape Town. The rubbish is already decomposing, polystyrene broken into small chunks already, plastic bags half buried in the sand… you would need to take a plethora of 1m x 1m photos, which would detract from the overall aim of the day.
- Start simple and iterate. Clean C only have 1 scale to use across 10 events, so although they would like to weigh each bag, they can’t. For this trial, number of bags at an average weight is going to need to be enough. Next time, we will be armed with scales and cameras.