“The CIF concept outlines an innovative and efficient way for companies to manage their climate impact and decrease their exposure to carbon risk within the existing global market infrastructure.”

–Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business

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Introduction

In a resource-constrained world, data about environmental and social impact is valuable, but isn’t making its way to market.

We have designed a groundbreaking system – the Commodity Impact Factor (CIF) system – that streamlines the standardization, quantification, registration and delivery of the social and environmental impacts of commodity production to existing global markets. The system uses blockchain technology, which provides unprecedented transparency, efficiency, and scalability.

Now that global commodity markets can easily internalize social and environmental impacts, entirely new classes of impact-based products can emerge. This has the potential to radically transform market activity and supply chains, incentivize the production of low impact materials, and mobilize trillions in capital toward an abundant and equitable future.

Background

In advance of COP 21 in Paris, a group of experts published a concept paper describing the need for and feasibility of a new resource efficiency quantification and data delivery system. The Concept Paper focused on carbon efficiency in commodity streams. A complete version of the paper may be found here.

Using carbon emissions as a proxy for global resource constraints, the central concept of the paper notes that the production of commodities contributes significantly to resource constraints and presents a particularly difficult challenge for policymakers and multinational companies working to address emissions. A simple mechanism is needed to differentiate commodities in existing global markets by relative impact. The authors designed a system to generate a new instrument – the Commodity Impact Factor (CIF) – by integrating current technologies, standards, audits, and financial flows to enable the existing global market infrastructure to differentiate and value commodities by their environmental and social impact.

Since the publishing of the Concept Paper, reception to the concept from potential system stakeholders and participants has been overwhelmingly positive. This has led to the expansion of the CIF concept from Carbon to Commodity Impact Factor, in acknowledgement of the extensibility of the system to other social or environmental impacts like water.

A CIF Pilot Program has now been designed to test feasibility of concept elements using real-world data and actors. See below for a description of the Pilot Program.

Download Concept Paper

Organizations

A group of organizations are contributing resources to the CIF system design and are participating in the pilot program. They consist of groups with deep expertise in commodity production, commodity consumption, standards development and quality assurance; GHG emissions reduction quantification; emissions reduction auditing and verification; GHG measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification (MMRV) methodology development; environmental commodities; commodity markets and trading; supply chain data, block chain technology and crypto currency. Check back to see how this group of participating organizations evolves as the pilot takes shape.

Pilot Program

Impact and Objectives

The CIF Pilot Program will outline the potential path for harnessing the power of the market economy to align global commodity production with scientific and sustainability goals through the differentiation of commodity inputs (based on impact) by demonstrating the feasibility of:

  1. Quantifying and delivering social & environmental metrics associated with commodity production to global markets for multiple commodity streams
  2. Creating sound, consensus–based standards to quantify and verify metrics using existing collaborative technology platforms
  3. Enabling financial empowerment through the efficient distribution of capital to large, medium and small scale producers of low-impact commodities globally
  4. Developing a robust & dynamic economic model to sustainably support and incentivize ecosystem organizations (standards, verification, and reporting)

Structure

The Pilot has three distinct tracks which are designed to balance the depth of understanding the system requires with the breadth of potential applications the system can accommodate. The tracks are as follows:

  1. Standards Generation
  2. CIF Generation
  3. Economic Model

The tracks are designed to test process flow and demonstrate feasibility for all aspects of the CIF System. Each track will be led by a program manager and involve interaction with cross-functional experts from relevant disciplines to ensure a robust, systems approach to feasibility.

Commitment

Those willing to participate at an individual or organizational level will be asked to commit no more than 20 hours over a six-month period and will include:

  • Monthly group meetings via video conference
  • 2-3 individual interactions with Pilot Program Managers
  • Possible involvement of internal experts at respective organizations to source, analyze and transmit data
  • Permission to make some information public

Timeline

Action Timing
Pilot participation commitments confirmed Q2 2016
Pilot activities begin Q3 2016
Pilot activities conducted Q3/Q4 2016
Distilled pilot learning published to full participant group Q1 2017

Benefits

Participating organizations can benefit in the following ways:

  1. Gain a systems perspective on the emerging collaborative of investors, market intermediaries, sustainability reporting bodies, and technology providers
  2. Position organizations to utilize the emerging CIF system to help define sustainability goals and objectives or stance on future regulations
  3. Inform general competitiveness or the establishment of new product and service offerings in a resource-constrained world

Participation

The recruitment period for the Pilot has begun and will run through the end of Q2 2016.

Pilot activities will begin in earnest Q3 2016 and run through the end of the year.

In Q1 2017, pilot learnings will be distilled and shared with participants, so that each group gets access to information or learning from the full breadth of the Program.

Sponsorship

System architects are in the process of raising a mix of private sector and civil society funding to conduct the program and report the findings. If your organization is interested in supporting financially, please contact us.

Contact Us

If you or your organization is interested in participating or sponsoring, please contact:

Stephen Lamm
VP Business Development

EOS Climate
slamm@eosclimate.com
(415) 722-5838

Collaborators

The team of contributors has expertise in standards development and quality assurance; GHG emissions reduction quantification; emissions reduction auditing and verification; GHG measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification (MMRV) methodology development; environmental commodities; commodity markets and trading; supply chain data, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

An experienced entrepreneur in the clean economy, Joe co-founded & established EOS Climate as a recognized leader in the North American GHG marketplace — securing best-in-class partnerships and building an award winning,  world-class team of experts.  Since co-founding EOS, Joe has focused on the innovation of new, market-based approaches at the intersection of resource constraints and markets to align economic and environmental outcomes on a global scale. He is regularly featured in the press regarding whole system approaches to science, policy and business model innovation in a carbon constrained world.

EOS Climate is an award-winning, market innovator in the generation of verified emission reductions (VERs) at the intersection of refrigerants and climate. EOS’ unique experience in creating scalable emission reductions in new environmental markets provided the foundation for the CIF concept.

An experienced sustainability professional, Stephen has spent the past five years leading market development efforts for EOS Climate’s suite of innovative carbon reduction and supply chain solutions. As VP Business Development, Stephen is tasked with the design and implementation of the CIF concept.

EOS Climate is an award-winning, market innovator in the generation of verified emission reductions (VERs) at the intersection of refrigerants and climate. EOS’ unique experience in creating scalable emission reductions in new environmental markets provided the foundation for the CIF concept.

Before co-founding ClimateCHECK, the GHG Management Institute, and inventing the Interactive Leader | Collaborase platform, Tom worked with a leading certification organization and in a cleantech fund. Tom was also lead author of ISO 14064-2 for quantification of GHG projects (for offsets and investments). Tom was lead author of the ISO publication on the status and road ahead for GHG standards and was featured in the ISO Focus on Post-Kyoto Climate Solutions.

As a certified knowledge manager and specialized in online consensus-based mass collaboration, Tom designs and facilitates next generation standards systems to leverage the power of Global Solutions Networks towards global goals for sustainability. Tom supports GSNs with Collaborase to engage 1000s of experts to develop and use sustainability standards.

Micah is the CEO and Founder of Gem, a platform that unlocks the value of blockchain technology through identity, logic, data and network management applications. Gem works closely with institutional clients from prototype to production to create smart networks that connect industries.

Micah speaks regularly at fintech conferences about blockchain security and is the author of a popular open-source blockchain security library. Prior to his contributions to the blockchain world, Micah spent 10+ years developing software for companies including AT&T Interactive, Guide Financial and Pose.

Prior to founding Melby Group, John was the Managing Director of North American Markets for Green Exchange, an international commodities exchange that was purchased by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

He was also the President and CEO of APX, where he oversaw the company’s development as a premier infrastructure platform for all major renewable energy markets in North America, including the development of the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS), and greenhouse gas markets worldwide.

Currently John leads an international management consultancy, The Melby Group, that advises governmental agencies, major energy companies, financial institutions, and exchanges on energy and environmental markets.

Patrick’s experience with GHG standards development, GHG verification and accreditation includes ISO (ISO 14064:1, ISO 14064:2, ISO 14064:3 and ISO 14065), WBCSD-WRI GHG Protocol, and various other GHG programs including RGGI, BC government and Alberta’s SGER.

Since 2009, Patrick has been working as lead GHG verifier and GHG technical expert for the Standards Council of Canada, performing GHG evaluations, against the ISO 14065 standard, for verification and validation bodies, under SCC’s GHG accreditation Program. Patrick is a member of the Environmental Career Organization of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Certification Committee. In 2005, Patrick served as co-chair of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Climate Change (ISO TC207 GHG standards). Since 2003, Patrick has performed hundreds of GHG quantifications and validations for various climate change technology organizations following the requirements of ISO 14064 and The GHG Protocol.

Mary has over twenty years of environmental markets experience and joined ACR in 2008. She directs business operations and manages the respected ACR team of technical and policy experts in the California compliance and voluntary carbon offset markets.

Established in 1996 as the first voluntary GHG registry in the world, ACR’s mission is to harness the power of markets to improve the environment. ACR aims to broaden opportunities for emissions reductions through the development of rigorous, science-based offset methodologies as well as to enhance confidence in the integrity of actions through oversight of the asset creation process and transparent registry operations.

Arjun’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy, and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the US and Asia, whether negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets.

Arjun previously established the US carbon trading desk at commodity multinational Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. His current policy role and previous experience as a trader give him unique insights into the synthesis of climate considerations and traditional commodity markets.

Alexa is an experienced chemical engineer who brings a unique perspective from her time spent in the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors. She worked for BP in their Fuels and Lubricants Technology Division, where she gained a breadth of experience in automotive, aviation, and industrial lubricants; biofuels, and traditional fossil fuels. She provided technical support to BP’s largest U.S. refinery in Whiting, Indiana, managing several high-profile product quality improvement projects.

Alexa is a Fulbright Fellow and completed her research in Bahía Blanca, Argentina in 2015. Her work involved evaluating the sustainability of various biodiesel feedstocks and completing a life cycle assessment (LCA) of Jatropha curcas biodiesel.

Eric Ripley’s background is in greenhouse gas offset project verification, carbon offset project development, and greenhouse gas reporting mechanisms. At ACR, he is responsible for California compliance program and voluntary market project listings and for providing oversight to project verification, registration and offset issuance for a variety of project types.

His organizational greenhouse gas management experience includes the development, reporting, and verification of climate action plans and greenhouse gas inventories for programs such as The Climate Registry, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and various state and provincial GHG reporting programs. He is also experienced in the development of sustainability reporting standards.

As a co-founder and Senior Vice President for Science and Policy at EOS Climate, Jeff Cohen is focused on expanding international efforts to address climate change issues through the development of public-private partnerships leading to innovative market-based incentives.

He brings to EOS over 30 years of national and international experience developing and implementing policies designed to protect the environment, including 10 years at US EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs, where he was responsible for Agency initiatives addressing both ozone protection and climate change.

Andy is an energy economist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and provides strategic advice to stakeholders working in the electric utility industry. He’s authored several reports and papers, and his work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and on NPR.

Andy is a leading expert on financial assessment of business models under different regulatory approaches and quantifying energy resource impacts in large scale planning models.

Karl is the founder of K2B Global, a strategic communications and social impact consultancy focusing on climate mitigation and adaptation solutions, both in the energy and land use sectors. Karl has developed strategies for high-profile philanthropic organizations, NGOs, and businesses who are seeking to make a tangible difference in addressing the climate crisis.

Karl has deep expertise in renewable energy solutions, co-authoring a scientific paper “Roadmap for Repowering California” with Mark Jacobson et al, 2015. For 5 years Karl authored a popular blog “The Green Dig” on MNN (with syndication on CNN and Forbes), which showcased cutting-edge climate and technology solutions. He later wrote and produced the Discovery Network’s online environmental news show “Planet100.”

Saskia’s focus is helping forward thinking companies get to zero emissions through internal strategies and use of market based instruments (carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, water benefit certificates, etc). With an MBA in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School and a Ph.D. in Chemistry Saskia brings systems thinking and technical acumen to create solutions.

Saskia previously marketed a new class of carbon offset to early investors in California’s carbon market at EOS Climate. Currently she serves on the board of Presidio Graduate School. These roles give her unique insight into the needs of businesses adopting sustainable practices and into markets as a solution.

Andrew is an accomplished entrepreneur and successful go to market strategist. He is currently consulting with executives to manage the challenges climate change is imposing on their company. Previously as a Co-Founder of Climate Earth, which delivers big data systems for fortune 500 firms to quantify and reduce their environmental footprint he helped the company become a leader in on demand Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and Natural Capital Management Systems.

Andrew is an expert in delivering solutions that quantify and visualize environmental impacts at both the product and enterprise level. He has been deeply involved in the definition of data driven analysis systems which join supply chain metrics, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and financial systems.

Sean is an experienced software developer and entrepreneur. He is a Team Member at the Omni Foundation and leader of the OmniJ Project. He has consulted for Bitcoin startups and contributed to open source cryptocurrency projects including bitcoinj, Java Money, beeLīn and others.

Sean has experience in networked, distributed, and decentralized systems. He has been researching the technical, legal, and economic issues surrounding cryptocurrency since 2013. Omni, formerly Mastercoin, was the first financial protocol to run as a layer on top of Bitcoin transactions on the Blockchain.

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