Ben & Jerry's bets on blockchain to tackle carbon footprint
Unilever’s ice cream band, Ben & Jerry’s, is trialling a carbon offsetting scheme using blockchain technology, as part of its latest effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
Partnering with the Poseiden Foundation, the ice cream giant is trialling a blockchain-enabled retail platform that allows customers to connect to their own carbon footprint.
It integrates carbon markets into transactions at point-of-sale and gives retailers and customers the opportunity to support a forest conservation project when they purchase a Ben & Jerry’s product from its newest ice cream Scoop Shop in Wardour Street, London.
“We have got a long way to go within our own business to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels but we have also made some big commitments and want to be transparent about our impact,” said Chris Gale, Head of Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Europe.
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“At the same time, 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. We are excited by the opportunity Poseidon Foundation’s new technology brings an approach that connects fans to climate action.”
Ben & Jerry’s, a certified B Corp, says that consumers will be able to pay a surcharge on its products in exchange for carbon credits.
These carbon credits will equate to the environmental impact of producing the ice cream.
Developed by non-profit Poseidon, the blockchain-enabled platform allows Ben and Jerry's to securely transfer its carbon credits to Ecosphere+, a B Corp which has access to the largest portfolio of conservation projects in the world.
Speaking about the launch of the pilot, Laszlo Giricz, Founder and CEO of Poseidon added: “We are thrilled to see our pilot with Ben & Jerry’s fully operational, giving consumers for the first time the opportunity to rebalance their own carbon footprint – and rebalance the carbon concentration in the atmosphere in the process.
“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.
“In just three weeks, we have already protected over 1,000 trees via the London store, equivalent to an area the size of 77 tennis courts, which is very encouraging and shows the potential for the platform to drive behaviour change once widely adopted.”
Non-IT experts ‘to build majority of tech products by 2024’
80% of technology products and services will be built by non-technology professions by 2024, says research firm Gartner.
This is according to a new report from Gartner, which claims a new category of buyers outside the traditional IT organisation is now responsible for a growing share of the overall IT market.
“Digital business is treated as a team sport by CEOs and no longer the sole domain of the IT department,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Growth in digital data, low-code development tools and artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted development are among the many factors that enable the democratistion of technology development beyond IT professionals.”
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Technology has started expanding into all areas of business, creating demand for products and services outside IT departments. In 2023, Gartner anticipates that US$30 billion in revenue will be generated by products and services that did not exist pre-pandemic. Gartner analysts said the rapid expansion of cloud services, digital business initiatives, and remote services opened the door for new possibilities in integrations and optimisation.
The research found that COVID-19 also reduced barriers for those outside of IT to create technology-based solutions by providing an entry point for anyone who was able to serve pandemic-induced needs. Gartner said technology providers are now finding themselves increasingly entering markets related to, or in competition with, nontechnology providers, including innovative firms in financial services and retail.
Gartner expects high-profile announcements of technology launches from nontech companies to proliferate over the next 12 months.
“The availability of business technologists provides new sources of innovation and the ability to get work done. Thus, technology and service providers will need to extend their sourcing of ideas and technology development into new communities, whether they are based on citizen development, their own customer communities or other sources,” said Kandaswamy