The Innovation x Sustainability Alliance (IxSA) marked its first anniversary at the Greater Club. It plans to ramp up membership numbers and launch member incentives as it charts its growth.
Corporations are catching up to the conscious consumer. While many of them are genuine in their approach towards sustainability, others have been accused of greenwashing and being untruthful about the real impact of their eco-initiatives.
A prominent example is Volkswagen’s claim that its diesel vehicles emit lower carbon emissions. Investigations found that the car manufacturer installed softwares in its diesel engines to cheat emissions tests. In reality, its diesel cars emitted 40 times more toxic fumes than the legal limits.
Greenwashing is a testament to how directionless the sustainability space can be. Those in the business of sustainability are still figuring things out as they go. They may lack the discipline, mentorship and peer-to-peer support needed to make a true impact.
That’s where the Innovation x Sustainability Alliance (IxSA), an 800-plus strong network made up of startup founders, corporates and venture capitalists, comes in.
A knowledge resource for embarking on ESG
IxSA was founded one year ago by a group of individuals “working in the intersection of innovation and sustainability”.
Its co-founders Sang Shin and Yann LeMoël, who are also members of the Greater Club, introduced IxSA and highlighted its plans for expansion at the IxSA General Assembly 2022 event. One year in, the network has grown from 600 to 800-plus members, many of whom joined IxSA after reading its six-principle manifesto.
LeMoël, the founder of Living Labs, a sustainability venture aiding startups, says “IxSa aims to establish best practices and standards of innovation to raise the bar on what it means to be sustainable”.
“We hope that our members can learn more and share their best practices, or maybe join forces to start a new venture,” he says.
IxSA aims to answer pertinent questions in the sustainability field, such as what are reasonable timeframes, or what is a measure of success.
The founding members of IxSA decided on open collaboration for greater influence and results, instead of working in silos.
By collaborating, IxSA’s members are able to tap on a goldmine of insight and information for their sustainability needs.
“We have fielded very technical questions about certain climate-related measurements, all the way to some obscure policy-related things. People are reaching out to ask for help and their calls have been answered,” says Shin, a director at Temasek.
How IxSA members share knowledge
IxSA members are constantly finding ways to assist each other in their sustainability journeys.
For instance, IxSA working groups have come up with an e-guide for startups in navigating the often confusing ESG space. The guide also provides some best practices for startups to refer to when implementing ESG initiatives.
Another one of IxSA’s working groups is working on a Wellness Playbook for founders. Its creators, Sean Ang and Nikon Gormley, authored the playbook to foster sustainable and balanced management habits for long-term benefit of the company.
“Tesla’s ultimatum for employees to come into the office or quit is an example of what not to do as a manager”, says Ang. “Tesla is a very big impact-driven company, but the costs of doing this impact is the workers’ welfare, for example,” he says.
However, both working groups could use some assistance in getting both publications off the ground – by recruiting new members, IxSA hopes to gather more expertise in aggregating the publications’ content, or to assist in distributing them to a wider pool of readers.
Incentivising IxSA’s membership through Web 3
IxSA’s longer-term goal is to become a decentralised autonomous organisation, or DAO. Co-founder Lawrence Wong says “IxSA is currently at stage 1.5, where it is undergoing research and testing of various governance, incentives and compensation models for IxSA members”.
One way to encourage members to contribute their expertise and knowledge, or to invest in IxSA projects through fiat contributions, is to reward them with reputation NFTs or IxSA stablecoin.
“By incentivising members to contribute expertise or through financial means, IxSA hopes to scale their membership base and their work”, says Wong.
In the long-run, IxSA hopes to become a self-governing entity, where members who have earned reputation NFTs through their peer-reviewed contributions may vote on which IxSA projects to fund, or what areas to collaborate on.
That said, these plans are still in the works. Wong is calling for new and existing members to contribute their expertise in four areas – token economy, legal and governance, community building and engagement, and design – to build on IxSA’s research and testing of its compensation models.
How new members can engage with IxSA
IxSA is looking for members to contribute in six ways:
– Through ambassadorship, by raising awareness about IxSA
– Contributing knowledge and expertise
– Joining a working group
– Build IxSA, by helping to build IxSa’s platform, such as its Web 3-based compensation model
– Be a doer, by participating in networking and collaboration
– Be a game-changer – the goal of working groups is to create real change in the sustainability innovation space
“IxSA hopes to recruit members who have a ‘vested interest’ in the sustainability space”, says Sang. Simply put, it wants people who are committed to raising innovation standards over the long-term, and are willing to put in “nights and weekends” for IxSA’s work.
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