By Jen Stebbing
Ecosphere+ has a long-held ambition to increase climate action through retailers and consumers being able to integrate the invisible cost of carbon emissions into everyday purchases – an ambition shared by many businesses and environmentally-conscious individuals. We have been working on a number of solutions to enable products and services to be made carbon neutral or climate positive, rebalancing the negative impacts made on the climate in producing, transporting and selling them by accessing high quality emissions reductions projects through the carbon market.
By using nature-based carbon credits, companies are able to protect critical rainforests and their communities, directly linking customers’ purchases to the ecosystems most vital to global climate health. We recently partnered with sustainable shoe brand, Nisolo to help them inset carbon credits into their supply chain, creating shoes that protect forests with every step.
An influential and scalable way of connecting consumers with the climate impact of the products they buy is through pricing the carbon emissions of a product at the point of sale, using grams of carbon credits to rebalance its impact. In a pilot this month with the London store of Ben & Jerry’s, we have worked together not only to rebalance each scoop of ice-cream purchased there, but to give customers a choice of going “climate positive” – protecting more trees than is needed to absorb the levels of carbon generated from producing one scoop of ice-cream.
This is made possible by a custom technology platform that allows micro-transactions to purchase our forest-based carbon credits, funnelling finance into projects that not only create climate impact but create a chain reaction of other benefits including increasing biodiversity, better livelihoods and promoting gender equality.
Ben & Jerry’s is the first use-case to demonstrate this carbon pricing model for retail, and so far, customers have responded with enthusiasm when asked to protect trees through paying an extra penny on the cost of their scoop of ice-cream. We see the potential to scale this further and increase voluntary action on climate by helping many more retailers implement carbon pricing for their products and services applying a number of technologies and payment systems to our micro-transactions model.
Our vision is that all retailers will be able to sell a product and take into account the carbon impact it creates at the same time. And crucially, consumers will be able to understand the environmental impact of the products they are buying – both positive and negative – at the point of sale, and will be able to mitigate this in an instant, with millions of micro-transactions scaling up to make a huge collective impact. At the same time, retailers and consumers will be financially incentivised to reduce and eventually remove carbon from their products and their lifestyles.