Start-up sets out to cut retail’s carbon footprint

Australian start-up Future Neutral is addressing the issue of carbon emissions generated by the retail industry and its supply chain by giving retailers the ability to offer their customers a carbon offset upon checkout.

The company will provide a free custom integration within the e-commerce websites of their retailer clients, allowing customers to offset their carbon footprint with every purchase by clicking to pay an offset contribution, calculated at three per cent of the cost of their purchases. The percentage was calculated by taking the yearly average carbon footprint per capita and then spreading the payments of offset across all retail transactions in a given year.

Future Neutral has partnered with Australian Not-For-Profit Greenfleet locally and UN-certified projects across the globe to help manage the offsets, relieving the retailers of bearing the costs and extra administration of the scheme.

The program initial reaction from customers, with conversion rates of over 10 per sent and as high as 21 per cent with individual retailers involved.

“We had customers using the extension literally within 30 minutes of going live, and love seeing the engagement on social media,” Alec Ramsey, co-founder of online retailer Floraly and one of the retialers involved, said.

Future Neutral was founded by entrepreneurial brothers Benjamin and Oliver Ranck, who conceptualised the venture on the back of increasing frustration with the difficulty and complexity of taking action on climate and understanding carbon offsets in the retail environment. Oliver was also sparked into action by witnessing the impact of climate change on a recent round-the-world trip, its impact on the Amazon rainforest and the migratory habits of bears in Canada being the spark to bring the idea for the business to life.

And it’s not just the brothers who are concerned – Oliver says that public sentiment suggests the timing is right for the concept. Customers have become increasingly concerned about climate change, according to PEW research from last year, with 81 per cent feeling strongly that companies should help improve the environment.

“There are millions of Australians who suffer from apathetic agreement – we know climate change is a problem, but we don’t know what to do about it,” he explained. “Our solution gives both retailers and their customers an easy way to participate in reducing their carbon footprint.”

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