A pioneering program to offset shipping-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions, Carbonfree™ Shipping, was launched on Monday, according to Carbonfund.org. The program was designed in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University’s Green Design Institute. It involves a breakthrough method for calculating shipping-related carbon dioxide emissions. The first four companies to participate in the program are BetterWorld.com, Evogear, 3r Living, and alonovo.com.
How the Program Works
When a shipment travels from a warehouse to its destination, fossil fuels are burned, producing CO2. CO2 is one of the primary gases contributing to climate change. Carbonfund.org worked with a research team at Carnegie Mellon to design a proprietary method for determining how much CO2 is produced by each shipment.
The shipping industry moves billions of units every year and accounts for more than 600 million tons of CO2, according to US government figures. This is more than the CO2 emissions for the entire country of Canada. The Carbonfree™ Shipping program has the opportunity to revolutionize how this industry deals with its carbon emissions by providing an easy and affordable offset solution. A typical package will cost just a few pennies to offset the climate impact, depending on the weight of the shipment, the method of shipment, and the distance the package will travel.
How Carbon Offsetting Works
The initial program partners – BetterWorld.com, evo, 3r Living, and alonovo.com – have agreed to “offset” the CO2 created by their shipments. Carbon offsets zero out CO2 emissions from one source by reducing the emissions from another. For example, Carbonfund.org uses offset funds to support renewable energy projects such as wind and bio-fuels that reduce or offset CO2. Carbonfund.org also supports energy efficiency and reforestation projects that effectively rendering the activity “carbon neutral”. Offsetting helps underwrite the development of a renewable energy infrastructure.
Starting today, all shipments from BetterWorld.com will be Carbonfree™, Evogear.com and 3r Living will offer the Carbonfree™ option to their customers; alonovo.com is integrating the option into their platform.
“This is a big step forward for the fast-growing carbon offset industry,” says Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org. “This program demonstrates that individuals and companies can have an impact on this global problem, one shipment at a time. It also proves that it’s not nearly as expensive to deal with climate change as many people might think.”
Professor Scott Matthews, project leader for Carnegie Mellon’s Green Design Institute and an expert on the impact of material movement, agrees. “The application we’ve developed for this shipping program is scalable and can easily be modified to meet the needs of other businesses,” Matthews said. “This methodology could have a very broad effect on the way we address commercially-produced CO2 emissions.”