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Building Carbon Pricing Into Products & Services To Reach Net-Carbon Neutrality Through Consumption

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Reed Shapiro

Jan 23, 2017


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Hi All, My team and I (Carbon Credit Capital) last winter/spring submitted a proposal into the material matters competition. We were selected as semi-finalists, however, because our proposal did not deal directly with materials, we did not make the finals. With that said, the feedback was very positive, and we were encouraged to re-work, and re-submit the proposal, and to look for opportunities to bring out model to market either through collaboration within the CoLab, or through MIT's alumni network and business school. Thus, I would like to open up the table for discussion and opportunity identification here. In brief: we have created a program for any company to submit simple data points to get their carbon footprint calculated both as a company, and for every product or service they sell. With that information, we give them the capacity to build into the price of goods and services, the price to offset the carbon associated with each product or service. Because the carbon footprint of most products and services is a tiny fraction of a metric ton, it ends up only costing a few pennies to offset most products. The program is meant to make purchasing offsets a snap for companies who to not have the budget to do so otherwise. By integrating carbon pricing into goods and services either totally, or on a voluntary basis (i.e. at a restaurant one would be asked, "Would you like to offset your meal?" much the way they would be asked about dessert), companies can offset either their entire carbon footprint, or a substantial portion thereof, without incurring the cost directly. The by-product of the program is that when a consumer purchases something from a company, their purchase inherently funds CO2 mitigation. If implemented on a wide enough scale, the program could easily sequester and avoid millions of metric tons of CO2 annually. Furthermore the average consumer who finds themselves struggling to come up with ways to make a difference on climate change would then have an everyday means of playing their part of reducing global emissions - one purchase at a time. The judges suggested we take a look at the big companies leading the way here (Patagonia, Nike, etc.) to see if they would pilot the program. I am hoping to network through this community to find businesses who are similarly willing to get the carbon footprint of their products benchmarked if they have not done this already, and then do something about it with quantifiable results. One of our current clients was able to mitigate over 3,500 metric tons in their first year alone, with only a small portion of their total products incorporated into the program..... let's see if someone here can best that mark! Best, Reed & CCC