Ben & Jerry’s is piloting a blockchain-based retail platform that connects consumers to their carbon footprints. Starting this month, customers at the newly opened scoop shop in Wardour Street, London, can use the Poseidon Foundation’s platform to support forestry conservation.
Poseidon is a nonprofit organization based in Malta started by longtime business and technology consultant Laszlo Giricz. Over the past five years, he developed an interest in blockchain, a public decentralized and distributed digital ledger used to secure online information. Blockchain is perhaps best known as the technology underneath cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
“We believe that controlling your carbon footprint should be as easy as checking your bank balance,” Poseidon’s white paper says. “Our solution will, for the first time, empower everyone to participate in climate action, all the way to the retail level.”
For every scoop of ice cream Ben & Jerry’s sells in its Wardour Street shop, the company will contribute to carbon credits from a forest conservation project in Peru. The company is also inviting customers to join in taking action at the point of sale through Poseidon’s platform.
A retailer’s point-of-sale system shows the carbon impact of each product sold, which is then added to the customer’s bill as an optional item, Internet of Business editor Chris Middleton explained. When a customer pays with a card, the platform matches the details with that person’s profile, purchases Poseidon’s native tokens on their behalf, and acquires the equivalent offset in the form of carbon credits, he continued. “These are added to the customer’s profile, and the blockchain is updated with all the transaction details.”
All of the carbon credits on the Poseidon platform will be sourced from Ecosphere+, a B Corp that is part of the Althelia Climate Fund, the nonprofit says. The first project supported by platform users is Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru, home to around 6,000 plant species, 11 endangered large mammals, and numerous indigenous populations, according to Poseidon.
Since the pilot launched on May 1, over 1,000 trees have been protected via the London Ben & Jerry’s store, according to Giricz. “While this is just one small pilot, the technology is now proven and can be fully scaled and integrated, giving everyone the opportunity to understand their own carbon impact and take action,” he said.
Chris Gale, head of Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Europe, said the company is excited about the opportunity to connect fans to climate action. “We want to use every part of our business to support a transition to a low carbon economy, including putting an internal price on carbon and setting ourselves ambitious targets to reduce our absolute carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.”