For many, this year's climate conference, the COP24, left a bitter taste. While ultimately the countries agreed to a deal and the rulebook for the Paris Agreement was drawn up and adopted, the talks lacked a much-needed sense of urgency and there was no statement made on how the nations present were going to take collective action to face the global challenge of climate change.
This is why it's time for even for civil society's actions to get even stronger - not only by demanding that our politicians reach an agreement and take action, but also by being the change that we need in the world. That's what one Norwegian company wants to do by gaming the carbon credit market - buying credits in order to make them unavailable so that companies that are harming the environment cannot buy them to offset their emissions.
Did you know that 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent of global emissions? That's the current state of play, according to a study by the non-profit organisation CDP.
Chooose believes that climate action needs a positive, "yes we can" attitude and that's why they're commited to lowering the barrier for taking action and making high impact opportunities available for everyone. “There's been too much doomsday communication and a lot of pointing fingers telling you what you're doing wrong - and that's not very engaging in our view. We truly believe in moving the conversations from 'green and grumpy' to pink and positive," explains Andreas Slettvoll, Chooose´s co-founder.
Chooose is a platform for climate action that tackles one the core issues of climate change – emissions from big polluters. It works as a subscription service, where individuals and companies pay a monthly fee which goes towards helping Chooose buy carbon credits.
The individual monthly subscription price is based on the average amount of CO2 produced per capita in each per country. So it has lower prices in lower-income countries as they have a smaller carbon footprint than countries in Europe or the USA. “We have members from more than 30 countries already, and more coming in every day to join the climate positive movement enabling people to walk the talk and put impact first," says Slettwoll. Companies can also join Chooose by offsetting the carbon footprint generated by their flights and events or even their partnerships and employee benefit programs.
Chooose then goes into the carbon markets and buys as many credits as possible on behalf of their subscribers. The company then tears them up and throws them away so they are unavailable and out of circulation. The money goes to UN regulated green and sustainable projects in developing countries, directly contributing to CO2 reductions through, for instance, supporting solar or wind farms.
What exactly are carbon credits?
Carbon credits were created to allow businesses (and also, but less often, individuals) compensate for their emissions by reducing or offsetting CO2 and other GHG emissions somewhere else, with one carbon credit representing the removal of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from the atmosphere. But this market, instead of encouraging industries to become greener, has instead made it cheaper and easier to just buy more credits instead, and continue polluting. What Chooose is doing is allowing everyone to contribute and to take action to change this situation while off-setting their CO2 emissions. And it seems to be working: Chooose has currently offset almost to 150,000,000 kilos of CO2 during the first 18 months of the project.
The company is also encouraging its subscribers to go a step further and become climate positive. As Slettwoll himself explains: “Technically you can say that reducing everything you can and 'offsetting' the rest with Chooose is a way of achieving carbon neutrality. But we think 'neutral' is not quite enough, and encourage everyone to both reduce everything they can and 'offset' twice or four times as much as whatever they leave behind - pushing the world in a climate positive direction."