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How To Be Carbon-Free, With A New App And A Neutrality Certificate


Whether you own a smartphone or a company, two systems can help you take climate action. The newly launched climate app Klima has a mission to turn climate neutrality into a mass movement, similar to what the Climate Neutral’s Certification does for brands.

The Klima carbon calculator allows users to measure their personal carbon footprint and then neutralize these emissions. Through a $20 monthly subscription, they can choose the climate projects they want to fund among a list that includes: combating poverty, protecting endangered species, empowering female entrepreneurship and supporting health care and education.

These align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and count among the top 10 most effective climate solutions worldwide, according to Project Drawdown.

“Klima is a climate app for consumers that empowers everyone to become carbon neutral with the tap of a button,” says the CEO and cofounder Markus Gilles. “It makes effective climate action radically easy.”

In addition to seeing one’s own real-time impact data, the interface makes it easy for users to share their climate neutrality journey with others and so inspire more people to join.

“The idea for Klima was born in 2019 out of the realization that the world is not on track to achieve the Paris Climate Accord goals and we need to look for additional levers outside of government action to bridge the gap,” adds Gilles.

“We quickly realized that there is a huge disconnect between individuals’ willingness to act and the possibility to do so: 77 million Americans would spend 20$ per month to help fight climate change. That’s about what you need to offset an average US carbon footprint. A gigantic potential!”

Gilles created Klima along with co-founders Jonas Branau and Andreas Pursian-Ehrlich, after “an eye-opening backpacking trip from Alaska to Patagonia”. By that time, they had all worked in sustainability and specialized in user experience design, for which they received the App of the Year award three times.

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the app recently announced its beta launch and seed round funding of $5.8 million. It is backed by tech entrepreneurs like Pitch’s founder Christian Reber, Wooga’s founder Jens Begemenn and Blinkist’s co-founder Niklas Jansen.

Klima plans to hit the App Store later this year. “The truth is, no one can solve climate change alone. We need to turn carbon-neutral living into a mass movement and unlock the potential of individual action at scale.”

That’s why businesses need to do their part and possibly win a label that shows commitment. The co-founders of the non-profit Climate Neutral, Peter Dering from Peak Design and Jonathan Cedar from BioLite, recently teamed up with Austin Whitman to develop a certification that does exactly this.

Through a certification process, companies can calculate their carbon footprint and offset their emissions to net-zero. The ‘Climate Neutral Certified label’ means that a brand has taken action to protect the planet and, at the same time, holds buying power.

“We built a simple process around a set of steps we think all companies should take. Every company contributes to climate change, but every company can do something about it,” says Austin Whitman, CEO of Climate Neutral.

“Most companies are surprised when we’re able to break down this complex challenge into a series of manageable steps. Our brands usually find that becoming certified is far less costly and difficult than they would expect, and they’re pleased when it comes to life for consumers.”

Climate Neutral was inspired by other labels, such as USDA Organic, and the need for a climate-focused consumer movement in the US. So far, they have certified 145 brands across 10 industries 

“The certification is available to all businesses, globally and domestically,” Whitman explains. “Our primary target market is with US-based consumers and brands. A majority of US consumers are worried about climate change, but there has been little done to effectively mobilize this consumer base. Through the Climate Neutral Certified label, we hope to engage consumers at the point of purchase so they can choose to support brands that have achieved zero net carbon emissions.”

For carbon emissions measurements, Climate Neutral created a new software called ‘Brand Emissions Estimator’ (BEE) and defined a set of boundaries for companies comprehensive of all supply chain emissions, referring to the relevant global standards.

As for future plans, they aim to scale. “This year we are aiming for 250 certified brands,” Whitman says. “Next year we will aim for 750. We’ll get there faster if more consumers tell brands that this needs to be the new normal.”

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