The world’s first retail platform that connects consumers to their own carbon footprint is being piloted by Ben & Jerry’s at its newest Scoop Shop in London. The platform, created by the nonprofit Poseidon Foundation and launched on May 1, uses blockchain technology to integrate carbon markets into transactions at the point of sale, giving retailers and their customers the opportunity to support action on climate change by helping fund forestry conservation projects around the world when they buy and sell everyday items.
Launched in 2017, Poseidon’s “carbon currency” uses blockchain to allow businesses to measure the carbon footprint of financial transactions in real terms. Every transaction has hidden environmental impacts — Poseidon’s technology adds a carbon value directly into everyday products. While supporting companies’ efforts to reduce their carbon emissions, the technology enables consumers to participate through small, everyday micro-transactions.
The first project supported by users of the Poseidon platform, the Cordillera Azul National Park, sits at the intersection of the Andes mountain range and the Amazon basin in Peru and is home to around 6,000 plant species, 11 endangered large mammals and numerous indigenous populations. For every scoop of ice cream sold at its new shop on Wardour Street, Ben & Jerry’s will contribute towards carbon credits from this forest conservation project and is offering its customers the opportunity to join it in taking action at the point of sale.
All of the carbon credits on the Poseidon Platform will be sourced from Ecosphere+, a B Corp that finances a range of high-quality environmental assets around the globe. As part of the Althelia Climate Fund, Ecosphere+ has direct access to the largest portfolio of forest conservation projects in the world.
“We are thrilled to see our pilot with Ben & Jerry’s fully operational, giving consumers for the first time the opportunity to rebalance their own carbon footprint — and rebalance the carbon concentration in the atmosphere in the process,” said Poseidon founder and CEO Laszlo Giricz. “While this is just one small pilot, the technology is now proven and can be fully scaled and integrated, giving everyone the opportunity to understand their own carbon impact and take action. In just three weeks, we have already protected over 1,000 trees via the London store, equivalent to an area the size of 77 tennis courts, which is very encouraging and shows the potential for the platform to drive behaviour change once widely adopted.”
Ben & Jerry’s has been vocal on climate issues for many years, as seen through its global Save Our Swirled campaign ahead of the COP21 in 2015; partnering with Phone2Action in 2017 to provide its customers with a simple and effective way to take action in support of its advocacy campaigns and engage with lawmakers; and taking a number of steps within its own operations to reduce emissions, including a self-imposed carbon tax.
“We have got a long way to go within our own business to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but we have also made some big commitments and want to be transparent about our impact,” said Chris Gale, Head of Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Europe. “At the same time, we want to use every part of our business to support a transition to a low-carbon economy, including putting an internal price on carbon and setting ourselves ambitious targets to reduce our absolute carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2020. We are excited by the opportunity Poseidon Foundation’s new technology brings as an approach that connects fans to climate action.”