Climate-KIC start-up puts the fun back into carbon reduction

Did you know that on average, every commuter in the UK emits 3.5 kilos of carbon a day – the equivalent of a new-born baby? Didn’t think so. Jody Kingzett and his start-up CarbonGenie intend to change that, by providing a competition oriented, cloud-based solution for employers, who are under increasing pressure to report, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Attention sustainability managers: CarbonGenie’s cloud-based platform allows employers to track the business and commuter travel carbon output of their work force …. and organise online carbon battles.

“It wasn’t that long ago that most people didn’t have a clue about calories and healthy eating. Nobody could have told you the amount of calories in a candy bar,” Kingzett says, pointing out that today, calorie counting is a daily habit – if not an obsession – of millions. Suggesting a similar change might be afoot in the brave new world of carbon counting, Kingzett said, “Nowadays, even most of the die-hard greenies have no idea how much carbon they emit travelling around day to day. We intend to change that.”

Governments are increasingly putting pressure on organisations to report their carbon output, with agencies and funding bodies raising the bar in their expectations. In the UK, Kingzett says, Englands’s Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) has indicated that universities will have to start reporting on their carbon efforts, or else might see their funding reduced. The HEFCE’s latest target is specifically around work travel emission calculation.

CarbonGenie, which enrolled in the Climate-KIC Incubation Programme last summer, is now launching its first trial in the UK, with Imperial College London, University of Hull and the Royal College of Music beta testing the system.

Competition

What sets Kingzett’s cloud application apart from similar initiatives, is its competitive focus. “Individuals, teams and organisations can challenge each other,” Kingzett said, explaining that CarbonGenie allows users to compete in online carbon battles, where the winner has achieved the largest reduction in carbon output. “Entire organisations can even challenge other organisations. Imagine HSBC challenging Deutsche Bank to reduce their carbon footprint – now there’s a clash of the titans I would like to see.”

CarbonGenie offers a web-based platform, which automatically calculates carbon emissions produced by business and commuter travel. Employees are asked to supply their daily travel information, such as distance and means of transport, and the employer gets access to an anonymised database. CarbonGenie’s weekly, monthly and yearly reports allow organisations to keep track of their carbon footprint, meet sustainability requirements and enhance their reputations.

The whole article can be read on the Climate-KIC blog: http://blog.climate-kic.org