Get to know GST DAO - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

Apr 11, 2024

Peter Gratwick, CEO & Co-Founder | Mário Castelão, CTO & Co-Founder

The Green Standard Trust DAO has democratised nature protection with a vision to regenerate and protect our natural world for future generations. 

1.   Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate (and precise the UN SDG-s you are solving).

The systemic models humanity has created cannot, alone, solve the three core global challenges of nature destruction, global warming and poverty reduction. Governments tend to focus on short-term problems, traditional business models maximise ROI which has decimated our natural world and philanthropy doesn’t scale. If these models worked they would have worked. 

We have created something different. 

A new type of land trust that can scale at a planetary level, a hybrid model combining the energy of capitalism with the reward of philanthropy. This new system aligns the primary incentive drivers in society with protecting our planet and reducing poverty. The Green Standard Token (GST) is Earth’s first currency backed by protected land. If protected land is what backs money, logic dictates that people will strive to make as much of it as possible. 

We are designed as an Article 9 organisation, with sustainable investment being our primary objective. Direct SDG alignment: 

SDG 1. No Poverty

SDG 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 13. Climate Action

SDG 15. Life on Land

SDG 17. Partnerships for the Goals.

*Please note that the externalities of our mission address most of the other SDGs. 

2.   How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

Frustration. Civilisation knows what it needs to do, we have both the desire and the tools to do it, but our systems are not structured to enable it to happen. We asked ourselves: What system would Earth ask us to create to protect itself? It would have to conserve nature, sequester CO₂, and importantly, be human-proof so we don’t destroy it.

Well, humans never destroy money, at least not on purpose, and what is more central to our systems than money? Our answer, we pegged money to the value of land and nature. Although unconventional, our solution is based on sound logic as land is the only thing with true intrinsic value. 

Our founders have been friends since 2007 when they met at University and 17 years later they decided to start a business together. Following his career in IT security, Mario was coaxed out of retirement where he was happy cleaning beaches in Brazil to be a co-founder. Peter gave up a career selling software to follow his dream, which is now shared with and made possible by Mario. 

3.   Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most?

There is no better accelerator in the world for GST DAO than this one. We have a shared vision of a sustainable future in our group that inspires us everyday. This, combined with Techstars’ proven process for empowering startups, made joining this program a simple decision. 

The first three weeks have simply flown by. It's already been the most valuable and rewarding professional experience for both members of our founding team. We know our Techstars team, fellow founders and amazing mentors are going to help us realise our dream of a greener, more prosperous planet. 

4.   What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

We get told everyday that we are the crazy ones, that our project is too ambitious or conversely that we are going to change the world (but still a little crazy). Pride comes with the balance we have found internally, we listen to everyone but don’t let external praise or doubt impact our conviction to make this happen the right way

5.   How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years? Environmentally focused question.

 By Earth Day 2030 we are targeting $10bn in land acquired and used for the purpose of regenerating and conserving nature. As a DAO, the specifics of any impact will depend on the projects and land our members select. We have, however, provided some expectations below. 

Impact is measured in alignment with the three core challenges humanity faces today, namely the destruction of nature, poverty and global warming. 

Estimated impact: 

Nature: 12-16 million acres of land entrusted and protected for future generations, much of which would have been either at risk or already degraded land. 

Poverty: $400-600 million per year directed to community projects, helping the most vulnerable people in our world out of poverty. *This number does not include job creation. 

Global Warming: An estimated 1-1.4 Gigatonnes of CO₂ sequestered over a 30-year period from land entrusted by Earth Day 2030.

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