An increasing number of companies now offer carbon offsetting as a means of allowing the public to compensate for their use of fossil fuels. This involves the company contributing to the reduction in greenhouse gases, generally through the purchasing of climate credits. However, this investment is generally made in distant countries, meaning that individuals are unlikely to ever see any positive impacts. In comparison to carbon credits, we contend that local crowdfunding can make climate reduction projects directly visible and relevant to people’s lives – thus providing a greater motivation for investment.
The overall objective of COOLCROWD is to assess the potential for a locally crowdfunded system that enables Norwegian farmers to install climate-friendly technologies on their land and the Norwegian public to invest in local climate mitigation measures. A well designed crowdfunding program will increase the transparency, trust and thus overall delivery potential of GHG reduction schemes as part of a mosaic of different approaches. For this evaluation research, the focus will be on lowering emissions from agriculture through crowdfunding associated with transport carbon emissions. By allowing people to fund investment in and interact with local Norwegian providers of the climate reduction measures, crowdfunding offers a real possibility of making climate reduction measures directly visible and relevant to their lives.
Secondary objectives include:
(i) To review existing crowdfunding approaches and analyse how these might be applied in a Norwegian context
(ii) To explore legal and socio-cultural issues that may facilitate or inhibit the application of a crowdfunding approach to Norway
(iii) To develop alternative business models for a locally crowdfunded climate program
(iv) To explore the acceptability of the crowdfunding approach for Norwegian farmers and investigate optimal design from the perspective of the farm
(v) To establish the likely response of the general public to the concept of locally crowdfunded climate measures and identify optimal measures
(vi) To develop and recommend measures for the implementation of a crowdfunded approach in collaboration with relevant stakeholders
The project has strong stakeholder engagement. Companies that are important potential end-users within the transport sector (e.g., SAS, Trønder Taxi, Fjord1) are integrated in our advisory group to provide feedback necessary to develop an approach that fits existing business models. In addition, important stakeholders from the Nordic crowdfunding environment (Bidra.no, University of Agder’s Center for Entrepreneurship) and the agricultural sector (Norsk Bonde- og Småbrukarlag, Sør Trøndelag Bondelag) will provide experienced knowledge of tool construction.