How transparent environmental sustainability is great for business

6 min read
Aug 22, 2022 4:04:57 PM

In this blog post we explore carbon removal, why it's important and how businesses can connect with their customers by making it part of their sustainability strategy.

We will cover:

As governments look to implement policies and programs to address the emergency around climate change, the business sector continues to understand its role in ensuring environmental sustainability. For brands it's no longer an extracurricular activity; they can not afford to ignore the issues driven by consumer sentiment - turn a blind eye and you will be left behind - numerous surveys show us how customer attitudes are influenced by how brands behave when it comes to looking after the planet.

Highlights from Deloitte’s #GetOutInFront research show just how much consumers care about issues like sustainability:

When asked to rate how they feel about a long list of societal concerns:

  • 64% of consumers list recycling and reusing among their top threes
  • Another 64% list reducing single-use plastics in the top three
  • 62% feel strongly about tackling air pollution.

However, when Deloitte compared responses across countries, reducing carbon emissions was a near-universal priority!

For a healthy relationship with your customers, trust is everything. And those brands that possess a business strategy that ensures their company is sustainable and environmentally friendly, will be cementing that trust that builds long term loyalty and word of mouth marketing.

Did you know for example that:

  • 92% of consumers say they’re more likely to trust brands that are environmentally or socially conscious – Forbes
  • 88% of consumers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues – Forbes
  • 87% of consumers would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity – Forbes

Why does carbon removal matter?

Whether it’s McDonalds introducing paper straws that turn out to be non-recyclable, or clothing store Zara making noise about their stores being 100% energy-efficient when they are yet to address textile waste issues within product manufacturing, greenwashing is everywhere.

And when it comes to tree planting the greenwashing landscape has continued to grow - even brands such as adult website Pornhub are now exploiting tree planting as a marketing tool (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, carbon offsetting is not a cohesive offsetting strategy. Offsetting should really be about mopping up the excess carbon used after operational improvements have been implemented to reduce the company's overall print.

Mangrove trees is the best carbon-capturing technology nature has to offer - Svein Rasmussen, founder of Starboard

But, it does have a role to play. It allows people to make a positive contribution to the environment for those emissions that just can't be avoided. And carbon removal credits represent one of the best ways to offset with mechanisms that remove and lock carbon dioxide away for  centuries.

Some of the main processes for carbon removal include:

  • Afforestation/reforestation - Planting large areas of new forests
  • Carbon sequestration - Using no-till agriculture and other practices to increase the amount of carbon stored in soils
  • Biochar production - Creating charcoal and plowing it into fields
  • Direct air capture - Building machines that can suck carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere
  • Artificial upwelling - Fertilising areas of the ocean by pumping nutrient-rich waters from the depths to the surface
  • Artificial downwelling - Accelerating the transport of carbon to the ocean depths by pumping surface waters downward

Carbon removal is important because somewhere between 15–40% of the carbon dioxide that we emit  in the atmosphere for up to a thousand years, with roughly 10– 25% persisting for tens of thousands of years.

A new investment paradigm

I want to make it clear that charities have important roles to play - but after working with them for more than a decade, I find myself asking the question - can we create change at a far greater scale through profitable investments that protect people and planet?

Greed has rather negative connotations - but the world of investment is based upon just that. Could we satiate the need for financial return on investments with businesses whose operations propagate the removal of carbon from the atmosphere?

Blockchain technology provides innovative new ways to create economic models around carbon removal that support far greater, and faster, scale. The data that proves removal can be stored in the blockchain, and digital assets that represent the carbon removed can be traded with virtually zero transaction fees, opening up the market to new investors and removing almost 100% of the legal fees associated with these large scale ventures.

Enrich the lives of one billion smallholder farmers

An example model I can share with you is a project we are working on that aims to reduce pollution while enriching the lives of marginalised rural farming communities. The workflow is:

  1. Investors who wish to make an impact with their money can fund operations that remove carbon from the atmosphere by purchasing a fraction (some percentage) of an NFT that represents a particular operational campaign (I’ll use farmers as my example)
  2. This investment allows the operation to perform activities such as providing education and support where needed and measuring the carbon removed
  3. The result is that a farmer working in a developing country can provide ongoing proof using a mobile app that they are changing behaviours that lead to the removal of carbon (for example, stopping open field burning and creating biochar instead)
  4. This data can be verified by bodies such as European Biochar Committee (EBC) or Verra resulting in carbon credits with tradable market value
  5. This creates revenue which can now be split between the farmer, the organization who needs ongoing operational funds, and the investors who receive ongoing dividend payments as their invested funds create ongoing impact

Carbon removal offsetting has the ability to change lives; providing funding at ground level, supporting holistically sustainable practices, creating jobs ,educating communities, keeping investors happy and saving lives through the reduction of air pollution.

And globally there are more than one billion small hold farmers!

The opportunity for businesses

Any business that wants to be here tomorrow has got to face how they act today and how their brand is supporting environmental sustainability.

It’s not just that environmental issues have got to be solved for our own survival - but as we mention above, without transparent proof to the market, your customers will walk away and choose a competitor that does deliver.

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What if there was a way to not only solve your carbon offsetting issues, but you could do it in a way that brought you closer to your customers?

What if you could share the returns on your investments with your customers, and have an opportunity to gift them carbon removal credits for years to come?

One of the best ways for a business to get involved with carbon removal offsetting is to invite customers to be part of the process - connecting with consumers and making them a part of a programme.

How The Blue Marble can help

The Blue Marble is a Stellar-based NFT marketplace with an environmental focus, that helps brands to involve their customers in the sustainability journey and, as a result, increase loyalty.

We see huge opportunities for brands to make investments into carbon removal businesses that are transparent in the way they report impact, and we can connect the success you create with your customers.

Our missions include:

  • Finding the best carbon offsetting businesses for you to investment in that provide you with ongoing verified carbon credits with recognised market value
  • Making it easy for you to share these carbon credits as rewards with your loyal customers with no limit to the number of customers you can award thanks to our blockchain efficiencies
  • Advising on the design, management, and marketing communications that ensure your long term success

And the kicker is that - in some cases - your initial investment purchased via an NFT can be sold in the future, giving the possibility of further upside.

What next?

Are you interested in understanding how you can build community around your social and environmental initiatives? Maybe you're a brand looking at new ways to connect with consumers, or a social enterprise working on your own initiatives. 

The Blue Marble can help you create and launch your campaigns. We have leading experts in Web3 and offer free consultation services to help establish the building blocks for your campaign.

Drop us a line at The Blue Marble and we can explore together how we can help!

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