Charles Roberts – A climate of change at TEDxOxford
CEO of greeenstar
Roberts has previously presented at TED, so I was expecting good things from him. He began by showing a video of Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’, which was an excellent start. The link was that astronauts and astronomers frequently become environmentalists because their professions make them realise how fragile the world is. He showed us a diagram comparing the volume of the atmosphere to that of the Earth, which the greeenstar website captions “Not a ping pong ball attacking Greece” in case you were concerned.
His talk was about the problems with addressing climate change and how his company is working around them. The first problem is that there’s a lack of consumer engagement i.e. the arguments around climate change are boring. How are you supposed to market a colourless, odourless gas? At this point he showed us a clever diagram illustrating that the average US citizen emits a 1m2 tower of carbon the height of Everest per year. UK citizens aren’t quite as bad with their towers about the size of Kilimanjaro. The second problem is that there’s no market force to be more climate friendly. His answer is to make things competitive. Greeenstar is a Michellin Star-style system that recognises and rewards companies that are working to reduce their effect on the climate. They only award 3 stars and higher as they’re promoting good behaviour, not criticising the bad. The three ‘e’s stand for elimination, efficiency and energy, which summarises how they calculate their awards. It’s a data driven analysis supported by the Carbon Disclosure Project. They’re results are adjusted to take into account what the company’s doing per capita and per customer. Their ratings are displayed in search engine results to allow consumers to incorporate them into their decision making. Ecosia, the green search engine, already do this.
My conclusion was that greeenstar addresses the problems it lays out, but won’t do so significantly until it becomes part of major search engines.