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Study: Taking Carbon Credits to the Mainstream

The sales of carbon offset credits can be boosted significantly if their sponsors adopt marketing tactics that have helped new technology products achieve rapid market adoption, according to “Taking Carbon Offsets to the Mainstream,” a study by the Topline Strategy Group.

Offerings recently introduced by companies such as Expedia and Whole Foods, that provide consumers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets when they buy airline tickets, or at the supermarket check-out counter, represent a big step forward from the previously available option of buying offsets online. However, additional measures are needed to motivate mainstream purchases.

The study identifies the key factors that are critical to accelerating offset sales and compares how well existing options meet these adoption factors. “Consumers have shown a willingness to invest in products and services that help mitigate global warming, but companies need to make it easier and more convenient to make those investments,” said Jonathan Klein, founder and general partner of Topline Strategy Group. “By placing the carbon offsets at the point of purchase, lowering the price to the level where it becomes an impulse purchase, and tying the purchase directly to the point where emissions are initiated, companies can overcome obstacles that have hampered adoption.”

One suggested approach is for gasoline retailers to adopt a “green gas pump,” at which consumers could pay a few cents per gallon above the price of regular options and know that the premium goes to fund renewable energy programs that offset the same amount of carbon as the amount of gasoline pumped.

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