The dirty, stinking rich! Yeah, I said it! They are always getting called-out for their imbalanced percentage of environmental destruction. For example, the average American's carbon footprint is 2000 times bigger than the average person living in Chad. The average Brit emits more carbon in a day than the average Kenyan emit in a year. It gets worse! Did you know that the top 20% wealthiest people contribute 80% of greenhouse gases? Or that the top 7% are responsible for half of all carbon emissions? Most people see this as a reason to loathe the affluent, but wouldn't it make more sense to see them as an enormous opportunity to create fast and dramatic change for global warming? If the 20% well-to-do offset their CO2 emssions by 50%, that would mean an overall decrease of 40%. That's huge! Jeff Stewart and Nicholas Baily, the founders of Belgrave Trust are aiming to do just that- target the luxury class with a retail carbon offset service which cleans up the environment and lets them live guilt-free! I had a chance to talk to them about their idea.Love it or hate it - the mega-rich hold the key for a game changer with carbon emissions. The carbon offset market has primarily been focused on providing services to the average person, these services, according to Belgrave Trust, are not geared toward those that can make the biggest impact. So they launched a company to give the jet-set crowd a better way to go green.
Treehugger: How does your approach help to guarantee a clear result with buying offsets?
Belgrave Trust: Our members want to do more, they don't just want to reduce, they want to live completely carbon neutral. There's no way to do this without using offsets. Leveraging the power, global scope and speed of offset markets is the best method for ensuring those offsets have the maximum impact. When there's a demand, markets have proven their ability to deliver solutions efficiently, rapidly, and globally. Our members understand that given the urgency and magnitude of climate change, taking action now is imperative.
TH: There seems to be a lot of carbon companies out there...what's your plan to stand out?
BT: For us, this is about using the smartest approach to create an impactful solution that helps make climate change a relic of the past. Our members choose to manage their lifestyle's impact on the environment by offsetting the whole thing. They make a monthly commitment based on their activities, versus a transactional approach that is specific to an individual activity or requires constantly remembering to login and take action.
We also found that one of the most important constituencies wasn't being addressed. The most fortunate among us are unique in this crisis, they are both responsible for an outsized share of emissions, and have the greatest means to be part of the solution. Our team built the first carbon footprint calculator tailored to specific needs of the affluent and business executives. We see ourselves as providers of an important service, and have invested heavily in focus groups, research, and econometric modeling to make sure that the service is of the highest quality. We also learned that there is tremendous interest in helping others live carbon natural as a gift. Our trust makes it easy to give the gift of living carbon neutral.