Why, what and how: Adda is going carbon neutral
Apr 20, 2021
For Adda, originally founded as a single cafe meant to bring community together, investing in a better world locally and globally has always been part of our big picture. For that picture to be in focus, we must invest in the future of our world and the immediate wellbeing of our neighbors, especially for our marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.
As we grow, we recognize a need to scale our efforts, put our money where our mouth is and invest more into the causes that matter to us. That's why we are going carbon neutral as of March 2021.
It all started to take shape when we connected with the team at CarbonCroc, a venture-backed Paris startup fighting climate change, online. They shared that they had created a Google Chrome plugin that would offset the impact of shipping on all of your Amazon purchases, and were looking for additional e-commerce partners to expand their technology. We connected through Google Hangouts in February of 2021.
CarbonCroc then developed an app on Shopify that anyone utilizing the platform can download to evaluate the emissions generated by each item sold (from pastries to items shipped through the online Bazaar). Every month, CarbonCroc adds up those emissions and calculates how many carbon credits we will have to invest in to offset the impact of our business. That investment goes to projects around the world — like solar energy or sustainable coffee farms — that fight climate change.
Unlike other companies, CarbonCroc encourages the business to take responsibility for their emissions instead of passing the cost off onto customers (i.e. the option to add a couple dollars to your airline ticket to offset the emissions of your travel) and we will instead bear the brunt of this cost. Because we should, despite not being obligated to as a small business.
There's a public website that shows the projects our credits are being distributed to and how much carbon we've offset, it's equivalency in miles driven, and more to show the impact of our investment. Our current investments are in clean water access for families in Laos, cookstoves for coffee farmers in Ethiopia, and conservation projects in the Amazon rainforest.
There's a downside to this all, too — we are now face-to-face with our negative impact and are taking financial responsibility for it as we evaluate ways to minimize our impact in the first place. Our goal is to reach a day where we can provide such a sustainable platform that there's no need to purchase credits. Until then, we are taking this opportunity to be held accountable for our footprint and will bring you along on the journey. We hope to integrate a tool into our website that will show you the footprint of each item as you shop to help us and you make better decisions about what to purchase.
Greenwashing is a very real thing, companies use terms like carbon neutral to pander to customers who value sustainability without actually having a more sustainable product. We want to make it clear that not all of our products or practices are the most sustainable, but we are working on educating ourselves so one day we can promise you a way to enjoy shopping with us without worrying about the broader implications.
To any of our fellow business that want to get involved, we'd love for you to reach out to CarbonCroc or let us tell you more. It's a risk, but we think it's worth it and we would love to learn, grow and give back together. Continue reading below for a short FAQ with co-founder of CarbonCroc Dan Hadley for more info.
With love as always,
How are the offsets for each product calculated? Talk about the algorithm and if it's different from competitors. Also, we are happy to provide as much detail as possible about the items in our catalog to help refine, just let me know.
In order to estimate the environmental impact of a product, CarbonCroc bases its calculations on LCI (Life-Cycle Inventory) and LCA (Life-Cycle Assessment) data collated from major databases by the US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and the ADEME (Agence de la Transition Écologique - The french agency for ecological transition). With this, CarbonCroc can make an estimate for each product depending on its composition.
Today, there are plenty of services that will offset the shipping of a product between the merchant and buyer, however this only accounts for a tiny fraction of the product's total environmental impact. Contrary to competition, CarbonCroc believes that it is the whole product itself that should be taken into account, from cradle to grave.
Usually, services for estimating carbon impact will do so by giving an average for a basket of goods. For example - the average amount of CO2 produced per dollar spent on food is X or $59 spent on clothes is equivalent Y kg of CO2. However, CarbonCroc goes into detail by analyzing each product individually.
For each Latte purchased from Adda Coffee, CarbonCroc will factor in emissions from the raw produce coffee (based on emission factors from the growing, roasting, transport), milk (whether from a cow or a plant) - and syrup flavouring if used. On top of this, CarbonCroc also accounts for the energy use from the machines brewing the coffee or foaming the milk.
This means CarbonCroc can give a much more precise analysis on each product sold and enables the merchant to offset the right amount in order to make their sales carbon neutral. CarbonCroc will be continuously improving their algorithm by adding more variables for each product such as its provenance, packaging and shipping method.
What kind of transparency will business and consumers have into what projects CarbonCroc is supporting through the offsets?
At CarbonCroc, we follow the science. There are 2 main strategies to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Natural and technological. Natural solutions are based a lot around afforestation or reforestation, soil carbon sequestration and other land based solutions. Technological strategies might be Direct Air Capture, accelerated weathering or CO2 to Durable Carbon.
Often, those with the biggest impact are a mix of the two. Combined solutions can also provide added value in that they might have a positive social impact on top of the ecological one.
We select a basket of projects to invest in, but we are always looking for more projects that are high quality. Any project which isn't verified by strict carbon accounting standards (Eg: Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard) has not been considered. We then talk with outside experts and research to make sure they are: verifiable, unique, additional and long-term.
Consumers will be able to track the impact each business through their profile page (like Adda's) and for full transparency we will be publishing certificates of all carbon credits we retire here. Any offsets made this month will contribute to month + 1 (eg: offsets paid in April will be retired in May).
Tell us more about your mission!
CarbonCroc is built by friends who have been working hard to bring you the tools to make your life more eco-friendly. We are conscious that CarbonCroc alone is not going to save the planet, but we want to be part of the solution. We believe that individual action can bring systemic change. So next time you purchase an item online, you can know that a little less damage was done.
At CarbonCroc, our motto is 'You run your business. We'll keep it green.' This means that you can keep focusing on mission critical tasks while CarbonCroc keeps you on track with your sustainability goals. We remove CO2 from the atmosphere, for every product sold, soon in real time. Our vision is to remove more than 1 million tonnes of carbon every single year thanks to the forward thinking businesses that partner with us.