June 12 2023
APPOLINE ambassadrice: Katharina Riederer, Co-founder of Eco.Mio agreed to answer our tricky questions
Katharina Riederer is the Co-founder of Eco.Mio. After her time in strategy consulting, she set the goal of minimizing CO2 footprint of business travel. Eco.Mio offers software that simplifies and makes it attractive for business travelers to minimize their travel footprint. We are thrilled by Kati’s energy and her commitment to contributing to CO2 reduction. Moreover, we know very few individuals who consistently choose train travel for their journey, even long ones, which is impressive.
Katharina is our new APPOLINE ambassadrice, and she has answered our three tricky questions!
Katharina inspires us - for her entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to making better choices in business travel and being an example — Brenda & Daniel, APPOLINE founders
Eco.Mio incentivizes choosing the most environmentally friendly option for business travel. What motivational factors influence business travelers in choosing a sustainable alternative?
I always like to differentiate between personas who are driven by different motivations. We have developed a change management model. The model consists of a scale of personas, starting with someone who doesn’t see the climate crisis, let’s name him Donald Trump, and ranging to someone who is ready to actively contribute to preventing the climate crisis, like a Greta Thunberg. From this, we can derive motivational factors depending on the persona. We at Eco.Mio focus on a persona we call “Moritz”. He is one Step away from being Greta Thunberg in our change management model. Moritz may not see the train as the only climate friendly choice, but he is in favor of train options and takes it occasionally. What are his possible motivation factors regarding his mean of transport? On one hand, reducing the CO2 footprint might be somewhat important to him. But as business traveler, there is also the factor of productivity and, especially for consultants who we address, the topic of social conformity. Business travelers are strongly influenced by the option chosen by their business environment, their peers. Most of the time, they choose the same mean of transport as their colleagues do. When it comes to productivity, the question arises how much productivity is gained or lost by taking the train or a flight. In our change management model, assuming both options have the same productivity and conformity, Moritz will pick the more climate friendly option. For individuals like Donald Trump, other factors such as miles and more, will come into the equation.
What personal motivation lies behind the founding and steady development of Eco.Mio?
The personal motivation arises from my own experience as a business traveler. Step by step, I realize that frequent travel leads to quite absurd behaviors that one unfortunately gets used to. “Newcomers” quickly adapt to these behaviors that are common among frequent travelers. As a result, we not only suffer a loss of productivity and additional cost but also create a negative impact on the climate. The ongoing development and personal motivation become particularly apparent to me when I speak with users and observe the thought processes and progress they make – the same stages I went through as a business traveler. Overall, we see many of our users, including frequent flyers, transforming into conscious decision makers who are aware of the climate crisis and want to contribute to its solution. That makes the transformation visible for me.
Sustainability is at the core of Eco.Mio, and you also embody this in your personal travel behavior. How does sustainability influence your wardrobe?
I must admit that I don’t pay as much attention to the origins of my fashion, or the materials used in the pieces I wear. I will have to inform myself better in this regard! However, I do value comfort and sustainability in terms of longevity. A prime example is our branded Eco.Mio T-Shirt, where we opted for the climate-friendly option. Unfortunately, we neglected the quality aspect: After one wash, the shape of the T-Shirt changes, so nobody wears it. As a result, the most environmentally friendly choice, at first sight, turned out to be a negative investment for the environment. As a learning from this experience, we decided to choose a higher fabric quality for our Eco.Mio hoodies. Compared to the T-Shirts, our hoodies have a worse carbon footprint but are more durable as they get worn, and get worn longer time. In my personal wardrobe, I value feeling comfortable in my clothing. However, I buy very few new clothing and increasingly use the Berlin secondhand market. It offers some very good alternatives and unique pieces! It makes me feel even better because I not only bought a nice piece for myself but also contributed to reusing material instead of using new ones. With a second-hand clothing item, I am only responsible for a part of its CO2 footprint. It’s more important to me to have few items of clothing that I wear rather than having a crowded closet.