RSM students launch first on-campus ECO Coin

In collaboration with the Next Nature Network, a team of Positive Change Agents students from master and bachelor programmes at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) took the initiative to experiment for three days with ECO Coin, the first eco-currency on campus as part of the Erasmus Sustainability Days.

By attributing a value to a sustainable deed, such as recycling coffee cups, going for the meatless option for lunch, or using responsible web browsers such as Lilo or Ecosia, students could accumulate ECO Coins during the experiment, which can then turn into different types of rewards. For this first edition of the ECO Coin, up to 14 sustainable actions were offered.

Rewarding good behaviour

There is often a greater financial incentive to engage in unsustainable behaviour than taking sustainable action. Like Next Nature explains: “If I cut down a tree and sell it, I make money. If I plant a tree and water it, I lose money.”

Tech for the planet

All 64 participants – all staff and students from Erasmus University Rotterdam – were given a badge equipped with a chip that records all the sustainable actions on campus. The event organisers were also around to verify that the sustainable actions were carried out correctly and honestly. Each action translated into a certain amount of ECO Coins proportional to the importance of the deed.

Then the participants could claim their rewards in the ‘marketplace’. There, participants could spend their ECO Coins on more than 450 items. Most of the rewards were donated by a cohort of partner contributors including catering company Vitam and the RSM Store.

The three participants who earned the most coins got a participation prize, which included a rental Tesla car for a weekend or a dinner for four at vegan restaurant Gare du Nord in Rotterdam.

The future of ECO Coin

Following on the success of this edition of the ECO Coin on campus, RSM’s Positive Change committee aims to experiment with ECO Coin again at the Erasmus Sustainability Days in 2019.

“I was amazed how easy it was to follow, so I challenged myself. It's funny because I usually don't participate in these activities. Once it was set up and running, I could see the growing confidence of the team members and that´s when I thought ‘Wow, too bad it's only three days’,” said Joey Johannsen, sustainability co-ordinator and ECO Coin collector at RSM.

Next Nature Network is an Amsterdam-based nature and tech agency working to develop the technologies that will make the humans of tomorrow more resilient to sustainability challenges and create a harmonious environment to combine technology and biology.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at


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