As communities across the world continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic with some countries managing and mitigating the spread, another global crisis remains – climate change.
This constant threat to the environment is what motivated co-founders Catherine Long and Joanna Auburn to launch their GreenTech startup, Trace.
Self-proclaimed “climate conscious hypocrites,” both founders were taking active measures day-to-day, such as cycling to work and living a vegetarian lifestyle, to reduce their carbon footprint and benefit the environment. However, beyond that they didn’t know how to measure their impact or know of other climate positive choices they could make.
And so Trace was born.
“We wanted to make the choice to take individual action against climate change as easy as possible,” says Catherine.
“Trace is the first subscription based carbon offset service in Australia.
“We want to build a community of engaged members who understand and care about the environment.”
Trace is on a mission to help everyone live a carbon neutral life by rewarding low carbon choices and making it easy to offset your remaining footprint. Their vision is a world where everyone leaves a positive trace for future generations and they buy carbon credits and plant trees on behalf of members.
“Humans are predisposed to take the path of least resistance, so we have used human centred design to understand what motivates people to care, to engage and to act in order to mitigate climate change.”
Trace is simple, transparent and has impact – you can see exactly where your money goes and the carbon removed as a result. For example, the cost of a short domestic flight is $2.50 and $225 for a party of 100 people.
“The website is already live,” says Catherine, “we did a soft launch in March to members in our network and so far, we have had a great response.
“Our aim is to build a trusted brand so that members stay with us in the long term.”
All members need to do is sign up on the website from a choice of three plans: mini for those who are already taking other action against climate change; medium for the average adult; and big for those who travel more. Trace will then track your results for you to share with others and provide information about the projects that you’re supporting. You can also set yourself carbon goals.
South Pole is one of the main partners of Trace, who assist with sourcing the projects to support. Projects range from safe community water supply to geothermal energy. Trace chooses the most effective projects that remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere and provides visualisation of their collective impact. Criteria include: climate action, economic growth, clean water supply, health, location, clean energy, education and life on the land.
“We have our own criteria for selecting the best carbon offset projects,” says Catherine. “Members can trust that we have chosen a mix on the basis of where they are located globally, the technology used and ancillary impact, such as education and gender equality. “
One local project is Myamym Lowland Conservation in Victoria. This project works to rehabilitate the land by re-vegetating Annya State Forest with native flora and controlling weeds and pest animals like cats and foxes. This in turn protects vulnerable plant and animal communities.
Trace also offers Trace for Employees, which enables companies to offset their staff to create a carbon neutral workforce. The premise is that companies that strive to protect the environment and clearly demonstrate this purpose to their employees will outperform those that don’t. And the team has already had their first employer sign up for the program.
“Our initial focus is building partnerships,” says Catherine. “We have a pipeline of companies who are already involved with climate change that want to sign up their employees.
“Next there will be a PR push of content and stories about our projects. And finally, digital advertising campaigns on social media.”
Trace aims to have 5,000 members by the end of 2020, off setting 105,000 of carbon, which are 70,500 flights from Sydney to Dubai.
- Trace was part of Antler Australia’s Sydney accelerator program. Applications for the next cohort can be made here. StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler Australia’s Demo Day.