Curbon startup launches carbon-offsetting option for online shopping

16th September 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Local financial technology startup Curbon has developed a solution that estimates the carbon footprint of online shoppers' purchases, from production to end customer, and allows shoppers to offset the carbon equivalent emissions of their online purchases by making a direct financial contribution to climate projects.

The company's application programming interface uses data from climate science institutions and brings together thousands of data points to estimate each online order’s carbon footprint by calculating the emissions involved.

“The startup’s flagship product estimates the emissions of customers’ carts at checkout and empowers shoppers to neutralise the carbon footprint of their purchases on e-commerce stores in real-time,” says Curbon co-founder and director Mark Jones.

Carbon offsetting has emerged as an effective mechanism to lower the environmental impact of current levels of consumerism by investing in climate projects that reduce emissions, as online shopping continues to grow at a rapid pace across the globe, he says.

“Curbon makes shopping more sustainable. As more people consider the impact of their choices on the environment and demand more transparent and sustainable business practices from the brands they support, Curbon helps make a tangible financial contribution to climate projects possible for the first time in South Africa.

“Given that so much of today’s consumption is facilitated online, the ability to offset one’s carbon impact is an opportunity to take action to shift the status quo in which every act of carbon offsetting, no matter how small, makes a measurable difference,” he adds.

The addition of the Curbon carbon neutral checkout to e-commerce also offers a clearer path to sustainability for retailers, while boosting brand value and creating customer loyalty. This solution sits in the checkout flow of Curbon’s partners’ e-commerce stores and is also available for Shopify, WooCommerce, Magneto and other platforms, he says.

“The importance of sustainability during the purchase process is becoming more apparent. Consumers want to do the right thing and support businesses who share their concern for the environment,” says Curbon co-founder and director Michael Pollock.

“The South African online retail space has more than doubled in just two years, topping R30.2-billion in 2021. If 20% of South Africans fund 2% to 3% of the value of their online carts towards carbon offsetting their purchases, R150-million would be raised to fight climate change,” he highlights.

“Climate change will only exacerbate inequality and the already grim economic reality facing many developing nations, including South Africa. The science is unequivocal: climate change endangers the wellbeing of people and the planet, but we still have an opportunity to realise a sustainable, liveable future for all,” states Curbon co-founder and director Steffen Burrows.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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