I'm a big believer that to help us navigate to a sustainable environment we need consumers to play a big role. Individually, their actions may not mean much, but those actions add up and they also influence others. 

One Small Step is a company trying to do just that with their mobile application. The goal is to get each of us to take regular, small steps towards more sustainable habits. 

Key features

 1. Evaluates your current carbon life

 2. Shows you how your carbon impact compares to what it could be and what it needs to be in order to be sustainable

 3. Provide you with steps or challenges you can take to reduce your impact

 4. Lets you setup teams so that people you know can support each other and use friendly competition to drive good habits



Right now the app doesn't do enough yet to nudge me regularly and at the right time. I admit this is hard to do when the decisions are quick, fragmented and don't have a natural insertion point. For instance, I'm out and about, I want a coffee and I didn't bring my reusable cup, then even if it could pop up and encourage me to do it, I couldn't. Though I guess I could not get a take away and have it there (which I do anyway... but you get my point). 

The team / group angle is good but not nailed yet. My guess is that it's early days. 



 The app does really well to give me a clear view of where I'm at right now and how that compares. There are a lot of calculators out there for carbon footprint but this one felt like it had a great balance of accurate without being onerous. 

The app also made me really understand the big gap between my behaviour and where we all need to be. I would guess that I'm much more proactive than most with investments and actions to reduce my footprint, but still a long way from the target carbon emission levels.

I also like how the app tries to simplify the options down so I don't get analysis paralysis - a really common outcome of climate anxiety. Instead of 'I don't know where to start so I'll just do nothing' One Small Step says ""Just start here. Do this one thing first, then we'll give you another thing later." Hence, one small step. 


Report Card

Team: Committed, experiment focused, healthy balance of listening to the customer and boldness to move the customer forward. 

Product: The app still has plenty of room for growth, it's doing an important job well. 

Market: Right now this will appeal to people who already want to take some action and this group is small but growing. And by small my rough guess is 100M people. The teams element could also be used to bring in the next group who are open to change but not proactive. Either way, this is a $1B potential market. 

Momentum: I'd guess that they don't yet have product-market fit, but they have a good UX and lots of useful functions with an experimentation mentality plus enough active customers to find the path. 

Impact: As I said in this post about we need individual actions of millions of people to drive big system changes.


From the founders

Company Name: One Small Step

Themes: Consumer, Reduce emissions, Business

Summary: A sustainability coach that fits in your pocket

Product stage: Traction

Founder: Lily Dempster

Capital raising: $230,000 Seed 1 2020. $750,000 Seed 2 in 2021

Company mission:

We use behavioural science to help millions of people adopt a green lifestyle and reduce their personal carbon footprints down to 2 tonnes of CO2e a year or lower, in line with the UN's 2050 net zero emissions goal. 

Why the team wants to solve this problem:

I feel like this question is weirdly redundant if you understand the potential impacts of unmitigated global warming. We care about this because we want to reduce human suffering and environmental destruction over time, since climate change basically aggravates a lot of existing global problems, like poverty, natural disasters, famine, pandemics, species loss, inequality and forced/irregular human migration. 

From a utilitarian standpoint, working on a tool that empirically supports demand-side climate change mitigation and decarbonisation of the economy at scale, by empowering millions of people to adopt pro-environmental behaviours that also improve their health, wellbeing and community connectedness is a total no-brainer.

What other climate tech companies they admire:



Amber Electric


Compost Revolution


Non profits:

Rangelands Restoration Trust 




One Small Step

A sustainability coach that fits in your pocket

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Jul 13, 2021

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