A business co-founded by a BU graduate is setting out to make sustainable living more accessible.
Matt Cosier and business partner Nick Cooper have launched Gaia to make sustainable and healthy living more affordable, accessible, and appealing to customers, while reducing the damaging impact of consumerism.
The business, which was named the winner of the BU and Santander Universities Eco Entrepreneur Fund last month, partners with brands which are also doing more for people and the planet by passing on discounts and planting five trees per month per member to help reforestation.
Matt, who studied an undergraduate degree in business and a postgraduate degree in marketing management at BU, said: “The idea for Gaia started from using a restaurant discount card as a student. Having personally tried to live more sustainably by becoming vegan. I realised three things: that sustainable and healthy living often come at a premium; that I am not disciplined as I could be, and that I didn’t really know where to start with it all.
“I discovered that many people face the same challenges, and so the idea for Gaia was born. We built a platform that can help people on their journey to being more sustainable, making it easy to do so and by reducing the cost. We believe that you don’t have to be 100% sustainable to make a difference, and believe collective change will make the biggest impact. That’s why we incentivise customers to pick the better option when consuming, as consumption is the biggest threat to our planet.”
Gaia Card has expanded its partnerships based on the principles of saving consumers money, reducing their carbon footprint and giving back to the community. The business sets out to help the consumer reduce their carbon footprint; for example, by promoting a vegan meal over a meat one, a plastic-free alternative to a plastic product and a zero-waste store over a conventional one. Carbon-intensive activities, like driving the car or getting the bus (which are sometimes unavoidable), can be offset by planting trees.
Matt said: “My BU experience has been instrumental in getting me to this point, and I am constantly drawing on the business skills developed through my studies to support what we are doing at Gaia Card. It has also been good to re-engage with the university and to receive further support through the Eco Entrepreneur Fund, which will help us to grow further.”