Reforestum's API: integrate your climate actions into your customer journey
The need for new tools to communicate corporate climate action
Climate change is increasingly becoming one of the main concerns of society. It influences its purchasing decisions, driving businesses to take action by reducing their negative impact on the planet. Contributions to the Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) are often part of them, particularly advisable to mitigate the effects of emissions that cannot be further reduced at present.
However, companies often struggle to make their sustainability actions tangible and relevant to their audience and core business at a transactional level. In a context where there seems to be a race to appear greener, a high reputational risk of greenwashing, and new regulations against misleading claims, brands cannot solely focus on environmental actions. They need innovative communication tools to differentiate themselves, make their environmental initiatives more visible and credible, and involve their customers in them.
In line with its aim to provide radical transparency to the VCM and help companies confidently manage and disclose their offset portfolio, Reforestum offers a combination of an Application Programming Interface (API), that easily integrates environmental assets acquired in the VCM with business software, and a user-friendly platform that provides end-to-end traceability in customers' journey. Let’s explore how Reforestum makes it possible.
A more transparent and engaging way to integrate your environmental actions into businesses
Let’s assume we are a customer of our business purchasing a product or a service. Sustainability concerns would likely affect my purchasing decisions. I am likely to care about the impact on the planet of what I am buying to some extent, as well as what the company is doing to minimise it. I may also have certain expectations about how I will be informed about the impact and the actions undertaken.
The ways in which companies currently meet these expectations range from providing basic information about the environmental impact and the related initiatives carried out, to estimating the footprint associated with the purchase and offering mechanisms to neutralise its carbon footprint (such as giving the option to offset the footprint of the purchase during checkout for an extra cost or notifying the customer that it is already carbon neutral).
These implementations usually fall short, as the sustainability journey ends when the purchase is finalised. In no case is additional information or visualisation and monitoring provided about the supported projects, leaving users to rely on the company as a leap of faith. Even if the customer has voluntarily opted-in to pay extra to neutralise the purchase emissions, they have no record of how their monetary contribution will be used and no guarantee that the environmental project will be verified in the future.
At Reforestum we have devised a solution, referred to as Enterprise API, that addresses this problem and brings sustainability initiatives closer to customers. Using our integration capabilities, customers are provided with a single and private link that they can follow to visualise and obtain additional information about the initiative and associate the environmental asset (understood as nominative resources that have a specific positive impact on the planet quantified by its carbon storage capacity) with their accounts if they wish, increasing perceived trust in the initiative and therefore engagement with the brand.
What does the Reforestum Enterprise API consist of?
An API is a way to interconnect or integrate different computer systems in a standardised way. Reforestum’s API design is flexible enough that it can be used in most use cases related to the provision of assets to both B2B and B2C customers, such as those used in the examples. It uses web standards (Open API) so it can be easily integrated with almost any system both in online and in-store settings.
In fact, we have already implemented our API for a variety of online and offline use cases: luxury brand Balenciaga gives away an environmental asset equivalent to the specific environmental impact of each online purchase, Kiehl's gives away a Forest Share in the Kiehl's Forest to customers who buy a product from its sustainable range or software company Mirakl, which gives its B2B customers a forest share for Christmas each year.
Once the brand has decided on the offsetting project(s) to be associated with the integration initiative, Reforestum’s API can be implemented. To exemplify in a simple way how this business API integration works, we will use as an example the neutralisation of the carbon footprint of a product during the checkout. The steps are as follows:
- Association of the purchase with a carbon footprint: The product the customer is about to purchase must be linked to a given carbon footprint.
- Generation of the environmental asset and a unique link: During the last steps of the checkout flow the business system requests to Reforestum’s API the provision of a specific environmental asset based on the footprint of the purchase (which may include contextual details to customise the project assigned). The response from the API consists of a unique link that we refer to as activation link.
- Delivery of the unique link: This activation link can be provided to the customer either on the confirmation page or by email if it is an online checkout system such as e-Commerce or as a printed QR code that can be easily scanned with the phone in case we are referring to a physical in-store experience.
- Asset activation: By accessing this link the customer is led to a landing page from which the customers can claim their asset by creating an account in the Reforestum platform.
- Projects discovery: Within the Reforestum platform customers can find out more about the initiatives by visiting their project profiles, seeing how their contribution led to specific environmental impacts in their dedicated community or visiting the organization profile to see its environmental initiatives. Furthermore, they can log back at any other time to check the latest updates and use the provided monitoring utilities in the platform to check on the project.
This type of integration is currently in place for several of our customers, and they have already used it to bring almost 100.000 environmental assets to their customers amounting to more than 8,600 tonnes of CO2e. Furthermore, we have developed plugins or cartridges for several e-Commerce platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) or WooCommerce and utilities to simplify other flows such as gifting your customers or providing a QR code with physical products.
Benefits of Reforestum's Enterprise API
Reforestum's Enterprise API offers several benefits for businesses looking to integrate their sustainability initiatives into their operations:
- Transparency: Reforestum's platform provides end-to-end traceability, allowing customers to visualise and obtain information about the specific environmental initiative associated with their purchase. This transparency helps build trust and credibility for the brand's sustainability efforts.
- Engagement: By offering customers a unique link to visualize and associate the environmental asset with their personal account, Reforestum's API enables businesses to engage customers beyond the point of purchase. This ongoing engagement can lead to increased loyalty and advocacy.
- Customisation: Reforestum's API allows businesses to customize the environmental initiative associated with their products or services, adding a unique touch to their sustainability efforts. This customization can help differentiate the brand and make its initiatives more memorable for customers.
- Privacy and Security: Reforestum's API is designed to protect customer data and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR. The API does not require Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so your customer data never has to leave your servers, reducing security concerns and simplifying legal compliance.
- Flexibility: Reforestum's API is flexible and can be integrated with various online and offline systems, making it suitable for different types of businesses and use cases.
As companies increasingly prioritise sustainability and seek innovative ways to communicate their initiatives, Reforestum's Enterprise API offers a transparent and engaging solution for integrating environmental actions into business operations. With end-to-end traceability, customisation, and ongoing customer engagement, Reforestum's API can help businesses differentiate themselves, build trust, and make their sustainability efforts more visible and credible.
Reforestum's Enterprise API is a key element that helps to underpin Reforestum's VCM approach to transparency and traceability. By providing seamless integration between environmental assets acquired in the VCM and business software, Reforestum's Enterprise API enables businesses to confidently manage and disclose their offset portfolio, while also involving their customers in their sustainability journey.
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