“The word ‘culture’ comes to us from Latin, where the verb ‘colere’ means to ‘to tend and care for, to cultivate,’” writes the author of A CEO Only Does Three Things Trey Taylor. “In its original form, culture was the result of what you cared about.”
EcoCart CEO and Co-founder Dane Baker has taken Taylor’s words to heart, steeping EcoCart’s culture in care — for the company’s legacy and for combatting climate change.
Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, Baker’s journey to becoming a founder was inspired by watching his father and grandfathers build their legacies before his eyes.
“Their dedication to serving the community and building something meaningful and lasting was inspiring to me, even at a young age,” Baker told Built In.
WHAT ECOCART DOES
EcoCart is a self-described “e-commerce API for online shoppers to make their orders carbon neutral.” At the intersection of e-commerce and climate tech, EcoCart creates software that determines the ecological footprint of e-commerce brands around the world. Using consumer-facing features, EcoCart empowers shoppers to offset the emissions of their purchased goods by donating to meaningful green initiatives.
But Baker is just as moved by something bigger than himself: The health of the planet.
“I’ve always wholeheartedly believed that entrepreneurship is the best vehicle for making positive change in the world,” Baker said. “We started EcoCart with the mission to make the fight against climate change easy, affordable and accessible, so that everyone can do their part.”
For Baker, doing his part means rolling up his sleeves and helping wherever he is needed, “Whether that means sweeping the floors or helping close a massive deal,” he told Built In.
Built In sat down with Baker to learn more about the origins of EcoCart and hear about his vision for the future of sustainable e-commerce.
What prompted you to start EcoCart?
Before EcoCart, I founded an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace because I thought that renting, in contrast to consumption, was a far greater net benefit for the environment — especially with high-plastic items like kayaks and snowboards. Through operating the business, we realized that sustainability, both for businesses and consumers, was incredibly complicated and expensive. We are leveraging the immense power of commerce as a force for good in the world and making the world a more habitable place for our families in the future.
“We are leveraging the immense power of commerce as a force for good in the world.”
EcoCart powers a carbon-neutral option at checkout for shoppers. In other words, EcoCart is the distribution mechanism for earth-saving and cutting-edge carbon offset projects. We feel there’s immense power in eliminating the barrier for consumers to take climate action at scale during their daily lives.
To whom did you look for inspiration early on and why?
I grew up in a family in which my father, both grandfathers, and many of my extended family were entrepreneurs and small business owners. My family took extreme pride in the work they did because of the extreme ownership that came along with being entrepreneurs.
My dad and grandfathers were huge inspirations to me because they instilled the important notion into me that I could do anything that I set my mind to.
What I have learned from them is that the work that we do every day, when coupled with a vision bigger than ourselves, becomes more meaningful — and forces me to persevere when things are difficult.
There’s a book I’ve read called A CEO Only Does Three Things and those are culture, people and numbers. Now that we’re a team of over 50 people, I try to live by this.
What scared you the most during your first few years as a founder?
The first few years as a founder is like going down a really foggy road and having to rely only on instinct that you’re going the right way. There is no clear signal on whether what you’re spending your time on is the right thing to do. You have to rely on your gut instinct and any data or signal you can get your hands on to get comfortable with moving forward.
Were there any moments when you felt like giving up? If so, what pushed you to keep going?
I wouldn’t say there were any times when I nearly gave up, but there were certainly instances when I felt like I wanted to. Everything from early product outages without a real engineering team to fix and feeling completely helpless, to some early negative signals of our target customers not needing a solution like this.
What keeps me motivated is knowing that the work I am doing is in service of a larger mission: to make the world a better place by making the fight against climate change accessible.
We fundamentally believe that lowering the barrier and reducing friction for consumers to be able to take climate action in their daily lives changes the dynamic entirely.
“Reducing friction for consumers to take climate action in their daily lives changes the dynamic entirely.”
Most consumers want to take climate action, it’s just incredibly complicated and expensive in most cases. EcoCart is uniquely positioned to make this possible for consumers at scale by partnering with retailers and securing immediate distribution across all of their purchases through their e-commerce channel.
Our vision is to offset all of the carbon footprint from consumer activity across the Internet. To date, we have offset hundreds of millions of pounds of carbon dioxide. We are not far off from this offsetting rate growing to the billions.