Indiana Daily Student

First ever community carbon exchange program in the works

Maybe someone is a vegetarian for environmental reasons. Maybe they always ride their bike to work. Maybe they recycle.

Joe Davis believes these actions deserve recognition and even rewards.

The owner of Indiana Natural Builders is currently working on creating a prototype for the first ever Community Carbon Exchange.

The idea of the exchange is that people will be able to enter their day-to-day sustainable behaviors and life-style choices into the organization’s system. The program would then quantify that activity into a monetary value representing the cost of the carbon that person prevented from going out into the atmosphere. Local businesses would then be able to see the amount of carbon being saved by people in their community and purchase those offsets in order to mitigate the impact of their own carbon footprint.

“When locally produced offsets are being sold to local businesses or local entities it helps with the trust factor,” Davis said. “Let’s just say that J. L. Waters or Bloomingfoods would really like to show their sustainable, green type of credo. A local person that’s making efforts for sustainability will trust that local business that they are indeed putting their money where their mouth is.”

When offsets are purchased by businesses, a portion of the money generated will then go back to the person who saved the energy. They will also be able to earn other rewards.

“When an individual gets to the point of saving a quarter ton of carbon, that will trigger rewards that come from the businesses, like a 10-percent discount or a two-for-one dinner,” Davis said.

Right now, the company is only in the start-up stages. Davis and his small team are working on creating the web-based platform through which the exchange will operate. He is in search of volunteers and interns to help with social media promotions, coding and business outreach.

“The overarching thing about our program is that we wish to give a voice to the everyday person in the whole climate mitigation scenario,” Davis said.

Davis, an IU alumnus, is optimistic they will be up and running sometime in 2016.

“What we’re hoping to do is use Bloomington as a test ground and work out all the kinks here,” he said. “Once we feel confident, we’re hoping to start introducing it to other like-minded communities.”

After living in the city for the past 22 years, Davis feels that Bloomington is the perfect community for this type of project. About 18 businesses have already expressed an interest in getting involved.

“We’re excited for Bloomington and really for the rest of the country,” he said. “It doesn’t even have to be limited to this country. We would eventually like to see the program achieve some sort of a voice in the whole world stage.”

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