One did it, a Finnish startup specialized in eco-social networking, launched its first product, an ecological backpack which is a tool to illustrate the volume of natural resources we consume. The ecological backpack calculations are based on the MIPS-method, which was developed in the early 1990’s in the Wuppertal Institute, Germany.
MIPS stands for Material Input Per Service Unit. The method can be used to estimate the environmental burden caused by a product, service, or a lifestyle. The MIPS calculations are based on the entire life cycle from cradle to grave, which translates to extraction, production, use, waste/recycling.
Just from the One did it landing page it's hard, if not impossible, to see that it's actually a social network in the making. The ecological packback is the very first bit in what is planned to come an eco-platform.
To put the ecological packback into context, One did it tells us that:
The ecological footprint and backpack both measure the volume of natural resources used by the human community. However, the two methods have a different way of measuring resource use. The footprint takes into account the biologically productive land and sea area required by the human community to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste produced. The unit of measurement is the global hectare. The ecological backpack is used to measure resources used or transferred in the ecosystem in kilo- grams or tones. The ecological backpack takes into account non-renewable resources in addition to renewable resources.
One did it co-operates with the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and the Wuppertal Institute in Germany.
One did it Ltd is also part of the Finnish digital marketing agency Nitro Group. One did it closed their first financing round in the summer of 2008. Nitro Group is likely to be one of the main investors. In this economic climate it seems a challenge to get more investments in for a social network concept which does not have a clear revenue model in short to medium term. Yes, they could probably sell user data or advertise eco-friendly products, but that won't support a staff of seven full-time employees, let alone make real money for the owners. The company also states that in the future it aims to be comprehensive, ecological lifestyle brand, which could mean having its own line of apparel and what not, but for the time being we're just seeing an online tool.
The company does neither own any IPR rights to any measurement technology or scientific methods, since they use the MIPS. This was also brought up by the judges in the Mindtrek Startup Launchpad competition a while back, where the company was challenged to differentiate themselves from Yahoo! Green and the likes. To be perfectly honest, I still can't see how One did it will differentiate itself from Yahoo Green!, which has already tons of stuff for eco-friendly visitors. Perhaps language versions for each country, but it's still a long shot.
Regardless of the challenge in respect to the business model dilemma, the ecological backpack tool is fun to use. If nothing else you can see where you rank in respect the EU average. Perhaps a good place to start figuring out what those New Year promises will be for 2009 and to make my lifestyle a bit more eco-friendly.