Ben & Jerry's trials blockchain platform to offset consumer carbon footprints
Unilever-owned ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's is piloting a carbon offsetting scheme using blockchain technology that enables customers to purchase carbon credits that help with global anti-deforestation initiatives.
Ben & Jerry’s, a certified B Corp, has been trialling the blockchain-enabled retail platform this month at its newest Scoop Shop in Wardour Street. Consumers can pay a surcharge on ice creams in exchange for carbon credits equal to the environmental impact of producing the item.
The retail platform, developed by non-profit Poseidon, uses blockchain technology to securely transfer the carbon credits from another B Corp, Ecosphere+. As part of the Althelia Climate Fund, Ecosphere+ has direct access to the largest portfolio of forest conservation projects in the world, including locations in the Amazon basin in Peru and near the Andes mountain range at the Cordillera Azul National Park.
Poseidon’s founder and chief executive Laszlo Giricz said: “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.
“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.”
Just three weeks into the trial, more than 1,000 trees have been protected through carbon credit purchases at the London store.
Cream of the crop
Ben & Jerry’s has been vocal and active in its efforts to reduce emissions. Alongside the Save our Swirled campaign ahead of the Paris climate talks in 2015, the company introduced a $10 internal carbon tax.
A Manure Separator ‘carbon insetting’ project has been utilised to monetise the carbon savings in the Unilever subsidiary's supply chain, while non-dairy alternatives have been launched that result in 40% lower emissions during the production process.
Ben & Jerry’s head of social mission Europe added: “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.
“We are excited by the opportunity Poseidon Foundation’s new technology brings as an approach that connects fans to climate action.”