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[su-re venture] Verification and Validation of voluntary carbon offset without certification

I explained to a company how to sell carbon offsets that connect blockchain to biogas that I am thinking of going to. I spent three hours explaining and answering questions, and I had to think a lot due to the storm of questions. I will write down what I noticed.

We are not going to do carbon offsetting in an official, certified way. This is because the certification process costs about 200,000 euros, and it costs 40,000 euros every year to renew it. The reason for the high price tag is partly because the person who does the certification has to be trustworthy, and it is expensive to get that person to come to rural Indonesia every year. However, since only a few certification companies working in the monopolistic carbon offsetting, it is inevitable that those who ask for certification are at a price disadvantage. So we're trying to use academic papers and carbon offsets to eliminate the middleman between the certification companies and the emissions trading companies.

And we've asked the companies we've spoken to today to come up with a mechanism for how we can sell this. I'm usually in the position of listening to my clients as a consultant, but it was very refreshing to be asked to act as a client.

I asked them to find a way to gain the client's trust since we do not go through a certification body. Or, to put it another way, how can we build up our brand at a business level so that people can trust that we are doing the right thing in terms of biogas and contributing to carbon emissions? So I didn't need them to think about the company's vision, I needed you to understand the strategic background, but we don't need you to make suggestions. I've found that there are two main things that people trust us to do.

The carbon dioxide reductions we are making are correct.
We are reducing carbon dioxide correctly.

In the world of modelling, there is a distinction between Verification and Validation. It may be difficult to understand, but in the former, we have to prove that the biogas initiatives we are introducing are reducing carbon dioxide emissions properly. This is ensured by publishing an academic paper and having it reviewed at an academic conference. For the latter, we need to prove that we are not just taking money and skipping out. The blockchain could secure part of this, but another way might be to announce on social media that the biogas has been installed properly or to use online and offline tours to show people who actually buy the tickets.

In thinking about this, I suggested that you could consider the business of Fairtrade. Fairtrade is similar to carbon offsetting in the sense that there is no actual benefit for the purchaser. What they both get is the uplift of knowing we have done something good. So I think non-certified emissions trading is more like the market for buying fair trade than the market for government-mandated emissions trading.

In the end, I was asked to evaluate whether I liked the consulting service or not, and I told them that if I were a consultant, I would probably keep these points in mind.

  1. A data-driven analysis of the target market.

  2. Estimate the price range of the bites that will be bought in that market estimated from similar markets.

  3. If you want to sell your products in a hassle-free way, but you need to set up a new sales network, we will explain how this works in a logical way.

  4. We will give you ideas on how to reach this target market.

Then I told them that before Corona, every year, we had business interns who often came to us and created business and vision strategies that were not at all concrete, as if they were written in a textbook. I had never read a single word of their reports. They create vision strategy reports with the sole intention of glamorising their CV, rather than delivering what the client is drying up. However, vision etc. is not something that a newcomer can propose after staying for a couple of months. Rather than that, it would be more appreciated if you could show us how to sell the company on the ground, which we cannot see from the inside.

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