Business on saving the planet: how to make money on the fight against global warming

“The emergency situation with the climate is a race, we are losing,” — said recently at the climate summit UN Secretary-General antónio Guterres.

Бизнес на спасении планеты: как делают деньги на борьбе с глобальным потеплением

Photo: Depositphotos

That lose it’s a fact: the current decade will be the hottest in the entire history of observations. Despite all the efforts of the world community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their level not only goes down, he continues to grow and is now at the highest level in the last 2,000 years, BBC reports.

To stop this process is not easy, because the contribution to the heating of the planet makes in a literal sense, each of us — just by the fact of its existence.

Greenhouse gases are unavoidably emitted during the production of any goods (including food), electricity and heating, not to mention the emissions from construction, transport, etc.

Any product and any service have their equivalent in CO2 emissions — so no matter what we do, our actions gradually heat the planet. Even Greta Thunberg leaves a carbon footprint — though speaking from the podium of the UN with angry speeches blaming the world leaders for inaction.

Leaders, in turn, shrug and refer to the fact that the fight against climate change — it is expensive, requires multi-billion investments and a complete restructuring of the economy.

But what if you make it profitable? Go to the point quickly, if the fight against global warming will take the invisible hand of the market?

Last year there were several companies offering for all who wish to offset their own contribution to global warming, at the same time earning money from it.


Now in most countries, companies are fined for exceeding agreed emissions. International startup Kora proposes to replace the whip with a carrot — and, conversely, to pay everyone who in one way or another will reduce your carbon footprint.

“The main cause of climate change — the way of life of our society and our everyday habits — believe the authors of the idea. — To motivate people to change these habits, we will reward responsible consumption using digital currency”.

Ways to earn Kora offers a lot: from selecting more environmentally friendly products (for example, when instead of the steak you buy chicken for dinner, and even better vegetarian dish) — refusal of the car in favour of public transport, Cycling or Hiking.

Relatively speaking, took place in the day of 10 thousand steps — can enjoy a Cup of coffee. Drove my bike to the store for carrot cutlets with green peas, you earn twice. There are also more radical ways — for example, to install rooftop solar panels and switch to renewable energy.

Virtual currency is called the crust. The rate of “green money” is pegged to the Euro, and — in contrast cryptocurrency — bark backed by real reserves.

To track the rejection of “environmentally damaging habits” and to count the income expected by using mobile applications. In the end, our smartphones have long known where and how we get there. If you give them more and access the detailed Bank statement, you can fairly accurately measure the carbon footprint of each user, tracking his movements and purchases.

Such applications on the market for several — for example, Swedish startup Doconomy or a new application of the Finnish payment system Enfuce My Carbon Action, which enable the rigorous calculation of your personal contribution to global warming.

Until that payment is accepted only in the barks of several small institutions in Berlin — they can buy, say, coffee and a croissant. But an international team of a startup — from the UK, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and the United States — hoping to bring it to a global level. And in the future, if the idea will be viable, virtual money will be exchanged for the usual currency.

Here, however, there is one serious problem. According to recent reports, more than 40 percent of the world population do not have access to the Internet — not to mention smartphones. In Asia, where lives more than half the world’s population, the Internet penetration barely exceeds 50%, in Africa — is not up to 40%.

However, similar systems that don’t require going online, are already working at the level of individual municipalities or even countries.

In the Portuguese city residents May have begun to pay extra for separate collection of waste — volume and recycling immediately increased by one third. In Costa Rica for the surrender of plastic, glass and metal packaging pay virtual money kokolomami (the colón is the national currency of the country), which can be spent in almost any large store.

Buy a tree. And then sell

One of the most obvious ways to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions is to do it the natural way by planting new trees. At last the UN climate summit Pakistan, for example, promised in the next five years to plant 10 billion plants. Why not connect to this lesson and business?

On the one hand, plantations (especially the trees) — it is expensive, but in the world of business is no extra money. On the other — grown tree can be cut down and sold in several times more than was spent on its cultivation.

Here’s the business idea: it’s not a cost, it is an investment — albeit long-term.

It offers EcoTree French startup. To invest in the purchase of already existing saplings (or seedlings that will be planted in the designated Smoking area), wait 30-40 years and to income. Promise (but not guarantee) to 200% net profit.

So far, the scheme works only in France. The company has obtained licenses from eight forests in four departments, mostly in the North-West and Central part of the country there, according to sellers, forests suffer less from forest fires.

Available in a choice of six types of trees of different age and profitability. Income from the purchase of fast-growing poplars promise for 16 years, the profits from the sessile oak will have to wait about a century. Consoling himself with the thought that in parallel you contribute in saving the planet.

The company’s estimates say that on average, each tree absorbs enough carbon dioxide (about 30 kg per year) to offset the flight of one passenger from London to Paris and back in about 15 years.

However, these calculations are a little disingenuous. The fact that a large part of the results of photosynthesis remains in the leaves, and the leaf is almost all absorbed by the tree, carbon dioxide is eventually excreted back into the atmosphere.

“Hold” can only the carbon that went into the growth of wood is about 2% per year. And then only if the tree is not empty on the wood, and turned into furniture or recycled into building materials. So saving the planet becomes quite relative.

Despite this, the founders EcoTree claim that has already received proposals to introduce a similar scheme in other countries — primarily in the UK.

Fuel from the air

Another way is the Finnish startup Soletair Power — to turn carbon dioxide into fuel, mixing it with hydrogen. To do this, the company has developed special filters that take CO2 directly from the air.

They can be installed in new buildings still in the construction phase or integrate into an existing ventilation system — turning to air purifiers entire buildings.

At first glance, this is not the most obvious solution.

First, it is quite energy consuming: hydrogen is planned to be obtained by water electrolysis, and more exactly, contained in the air water vapor, as free electricity is not yet invented.

Second, the combustion of the resulting fuel CO2 will be allocated back into the atmosphere — that seems to be all makes senseless the whole undertaking.

However, the authors of the idea claim that everything calculated correctly. Electricity will be (almost for free) to produce solar panels, and the combustion of fuel in air will return exactly the same number of carbon, how much was taken out early — that is, the fuel will be essentially CO2-neutral.

While the costs of fuel production are minimal, says chief technologist of the company Cyril Bajamundi, so that selling it is quite possible to make — or at least greatly save on the purchase of energy.

As the founder of a startup Petri Laakso promises that users of new technologies will get an additional bonus. Cleaning indoor air of excess carbon dioxide by almost a quarter improves cognitive ability, and productivity.

Maybe if you make fighting global warming profitable for everyone, the planet really has a chance.