American Ice Cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is piloting a carbon trading platform powered by blockchain. They have partnered with the Poseidon Foundation for this pilot project.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has demonstrated that there is an urgent need to keep the rate of global warming to a manageable level. There is wide consensus that global warming is increasing due to the emission of the greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The 2015 Paris agreement, a very important international treaty on climate change, has published aim of keeping global warming to a manageable level. 195 countries have committed to this agreement, and there is now a finite budget of carbon emission.
There are carbon-positive projects such as forest conservation, which helps offset the effect of the carbon-negative projects such as environmentally harmful industries. A carbon trading system has been designed to extract a price from the industries emitting GHGs so that the fund generated can be channeled to projects contributing to sustainable development.
Carbon credits have been designed as permits that will allow the holder to emit Carbon Dioxide up to a certain level. A business that hasn’t exhausted its credits can sell them, whereas another business can buy them after having exhausted their own carbon credits.
While it’s certainly an important innovation, the system of carbon trading needs improvements for it deliver sustained positive results. The tracking of the carbon credits require improvement, and the technology currently used can’t handle the enormous geographic scope and complexity of tracking.
In a global society increasingly becoming more democratized with more power being devolved to the concerned and aware citizens, the carbon trading system of the present day has another drawback. It’s confined to the big businesses and operates at an industrial scale. A common citizen has no means to track the carbon footprint her one purchase has left behind. Lack of information limits the ability of the common people to take actions for environmental conservation.
Given this backdrop, Ben & Jerry’s decision to pilot Poseidon‘s ‘carbon currency‘ is a trailblazer. Ice creams are delicious, however, the steps involved in manufacturing them, freezing them, and transporting them to retailers in their frozen state causes significant carbon emission. So long the consumers had no way to know the carbon footprint of the ice cream they savor, but that’ll change.
Poseidon‘s ‘Carbon on blockchain‘ platform allows tracking every step of the ice cream manufacturing, calculating the carbon footprint, and storing them in a blockchain. No manipulation of the record is possible since the blockchain technology with its decentralization and ability to guarantee immutable record guards against any malicious agent who may tamper the record.
When the customer pays for the ice cream, Ben & Jerry‘s point-of-sale (POS) system, connected to the blockchain platform of Poseidon, will automatically calculate the carbon footprint of that serving, and deposit a certain amount to counterbalance it. The customer now also have a choice to know the carbon footprint, and while paying for the ice cream can donate to further the environmental conservation effort.
Poseidon‘s platform uses the Stellar network, which is a very efficient blockchain platform with no proof of work (POW) mining. This not only makes for a high transaction throughput, but it’s also environment-friendly. The efficient blockchain network allows the consumers to know the carbon credit status in real-time.
The smart contracts used in the platform ensures that the carbon credit is transferred accurately. Poseidon’s platform combines both on-chain and off-chain information, hence, while carbon credit data is public, customer’s privacy is not breached.
Ben & Jerry’s partnership with the Malta-based Poseidon Foundation for this pilot project is aligned with the roadmap the Poseidon Foundation has. The roadmap includes the launch of a mobile app in June 2018, while the final platform will go live on June 2019.
Image ref – Yahoo.com