Olive Gaea Launches Targeting High Carbon Footprint of UAE Residents
Dubai-based start-up Olive Gaea has kicked off a carbon offset platform, reportedly the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa designed for use by the general public.
The United Arab Emirates has the sixth-highest carbon footprint per capita globally, averaging 22 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually compared to 4.8 tonnes, which is the global per capita average. Olive Gaea aims to help the country get its greenhouse gas emissions in check and meet The Paris Agreement’s emissions reduction targets.
"Climate change is a real, urgent threat,” said Olive Gaea's Founder and CEO, Vivek Tripathi. “We all share the responsibility to act in order to preserve our planet and, ultimately, our very future. The good news is that each one of us can now actually help solve this problem.”
Olive Gaea’s platform walks individuals and businesses through an online questionnaire that results in a carbon footprint calculation. It then prompts users to sign up for a monthly or annual subscription plan containing carbon offset solutions. Carbon offsets can be applied to carbon-intensive activities such as transportation, home cooling and online shopping.
According to a press release, third-party bodies like Verra and Plan Vivo verify Olive Gaea's carbon offset programs. When users subscribe to a paid plan, the money goes toward projects that help keep carbon out of the atmosphere. Currently, Olive Gaea lists two offset programs on its website. Both are forest protection programs in Costa Rica, with about 150 subscribers each.
"We launched Olive Gaea to create a world where people can feel proud about their climate story. Our goal is to make carbon offsetting affordable, helping everyone, anywhere, anytime to build a resilient climate future," Tripathi said.
With the destructive effects of climate change increasingly becoming more apparent, carbon offsetting has received criticism that the practice merely gives an excuse to continue polluting. However, Olive Gaea’s approach promotes more sustainable strategies while offering offsets for some emissions deemed unavoidable. For example, the production of commonly used goods such as smartphones carries a high carbon footprint, yet these devices are essential to full participation in today’s economy. Carbon offsets could provide a way for people to reduce the impact of their emissions by promoting carbon sequestration efforts such as reforestation.
"With our platform, we aim to generate the awareness needed to act sustainably; understanding and measuring our own environmental footprint is the first step to a more conscious lifestyle,” Tripathi said.
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