Carbon transformation or carbon removal is going to be the next trend in sustainable business. Our CO2 emissions are what we will be judged by, at work and at home, as there’s no getting away from the fact we need to move to a zero carbon economy as quickly as possible. 50 years is too late, some say we have a decade to make the switch.
While whole new industries have sprung up around carbon offsetting, tree planting and creating natural carbon sinks, it’s often not done at the scale or pace we need to affect global change and divert away from the incoming Climate Emergency.
Finnish company Puro.earth is launching a new marketplace for carbon removal, aimed at making it easy for consumers and businesses to neutralise emissions via carbon removal (rather than carbon offsetting, which just involves paying others not to emit (with one tonne emitted by us, and one tonne avoided elsewhere, there is still one tonne emitted into the atmosphere).
Puro.earth is aiming to build an entirely new, self-sustaining global ‘green’ market for carbon removal worth as much as $300bn, potentially removing 10 Gigatons of CO2 a year by 2050. It’s calling it Carbon Transformation.
It matches companies removing atmospheric CO2 with companies that have pledged to get to neutral carbon dioxide emissions (Net Zero), enabling the latter to achieve their goal. In the beta testing phase, a coalition of 22 companies traded verified carbon dioxide removal certificates (CORCs) through Puro.earth.
What does that mean?
If you’re scratching your head, let’s break it down a bit. If you as a company – or a consumer – want to meet a zero carbon target, then you buy a CORC (eg to offset your office’s CO2 emissions).
The funds are then invested in companies who are carbon net negative suppliers, including biochar and construction companies who build with wood, so that the carbon is essentially removed and locked away for at least 50 years.
Instead of planting trees, you’re investing in industries that make things and solve problems.
Many of our leading green companies, B Corps and social enterprises want to move to a zero carbon way of working but we need more radical ideas of how to achieve it by 2030. Carbon removal needs to play a part in these plans, locking emissions away for as long as possible in a variety of ways to replace natural carbon sinks of forests, seas, permafrost and peat bogs that have been destroyed.
What can you do?
Consumers can also get involved in carbon transfomation at no cost, by helping to make the term and the industry better known. Large scale CO2 removal needs us all on board and pushing for it, and there is still a real lack of awareness and urgency in mainstream socities. We need to accelerate the usual process of new ideas reaching a tipping point where they become mainstream and we can do this by sharing and talking about concepts like carbon transformation.