Hi, we’re Awake. We recently launched an NFT collection on Celo to reward early backers of our project and inspirational members of the ReFi community. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long relationship with the Celo ecosystem.
What is Awake?
Awake is a platform to reshape sustainable finance. Now more than ever, people want to have an impact with their investment portfolios. The problem is most funds only screen for companies that are misbehaving. This could theoretically accelerate the sustainable energy transition if all asset managers were doing it, but the net effect is that assets are just shifting hands without having any genuine impact. All the while, retail investors are paying premiums for ‘green funds’ that with marginal climate impact. We’re turning sustainable investing on its head. Instead of selling stocks of companies that could do better, we need to play an active role in governing them. Shareholders are empowered with voting rights to help decide major strategic decisions at public companies. Most everyday investors don’t take advantage of these voting rights because there’s an overwhelming amount of information and they don’t feel like they can tip the scales. We’re making it fun and easy to join a large block of retail investors in fighting for issues we care about with the shares in companies we already own. For us, success looks like a repeatable model for using the power of retail investors to hold public companies accountable.
What are we doing on Celo today?
We launched a Regenerative NFT Collection on Celo, which can be viewed here. We did this in an attempt to onboard early backers of our community onto Celo and give them the power to vote on our first campaign. By claiming the Celo NFT, people gained access to our token-gated discord where they voted on what would be our inaugural campaign. The campaign our community chose calls for Apple to take a more aggressive stance on electronic waste. This campaign will serve as a proof of concept, as we plan to launch many climate-oriented campaigns on our platform and scale crowd-sourced corporate accountability.
Backstory of the NFT Collection
Since we started this project, we’ve been hooked on learning about how to get public companies to take action. One method is a formal shareholder proposal.
A shareholder proposal is a motion for a company to take a new course of action. Proposals are submitted and put to a vote at companies’ annual meetings. Proposals can address many issues, but we’re especially interested in proposals holding companies accountable for their climate impact.
- Getting Boeing to Report on Climate Indicators
- Getting Phillips 66 to Report on Anti-Climate Lobbying
These NFTs were created using AI text-to-image tools with prompts inspired by shareholder proposals that have inspired us over the last year or so. You’ll notice that about half of the NFTs in this collection have a beautiful SolarPunk aesthetic, while the other half have an apocalyptic note to them. This approximates our attitude on corporate action/inaction. We are hopeful for a brighter future and at the same time intensely aware of what could happen if we don’t take a stand now.
How are we considering incorporating Celo in the future?
For the time being, we’re focused on creating a B2C product for retail investors to advocate for changes at the companies in their portfolio. After gaining a solid footing in the shareholder engagement space, we’ll experiment with a product suite at the intersection of blockchain and shareholder voting rights. Asset managers and investment platforms alike have difficultly managing who has the right to vote on which shareholder proposals. There’s a tangled web of stakeholders from decades of bureaucracy and shifting SEC provisions. Technology has not adapted to cut through the red tape that creates an administrative headache for institutions trying to enable ‘pass-through’ voting. Many academic researchers have posited that this is a great use case for blockchain, and we’d like to explore putting shareholder credentials on Celo.
We’re grateful to the team at Celo and the Climate Collective and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.