Rise of the Carbon Traders: Interview with COzero Founder

Nick Armstrong - Carbon Trader

Interview #2 – What it’s like to be a Carbon Offsetter

Less than 6 years out of high school Nick Armstrong (see photo) is about to launch COzero – a new carbon offset business.

Neerav Bhatt: Hi Nick.

I’ll start by asking what you’ve done since finishing high school (Sydney Boys High Class of 2001).

Nick Armstrong: I successfully completed a Bachelor of Science (Human Geography) degree at Sydney University as well as helping start up a GreenPowerTM retailer called Greentricity, eventually selling it off to Australian Power and Gas.

Neerav Bhatt: What was your reason for selling the Greentricity business?

Nick Armstrong: Basically we found it difficult to compete against the really big GreenPowerTM retailers like Origin Energy, then Australian Power and Gas offered to buy Greentricity and integrated it into their existing business.

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Neerav Bhatt: So what is COzero and why will it succeed independently long term where Greentricity didn’t?

Nick Armstrong: COzero is a social responsibility and networking service that allows Members to create unique personal profiles online, calculate carbon dioxide and equivalent emissions, purchase offsets and participate in community activities such as carpooling.

It will succeed long term because this is very much an emerging market, there are less than a handful of players at present and we’ve spent a lot of time planning our strategy.

Neerav Bhatt: So when someone becomes a COzero member and pays to offset their emissions, what actually happens?

wind farm

Nick Armstrong: COzero is a registered member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the foremost environmental exchange in the world, as a Carbon Retirer.

As an example our COzero Travel division will retire, or remove, carbon from the environment on behalf of COzero members who choose to offset their travel related emissions through the Chicago Climate Exchange, stopping the credits from being sold-on at a later point in time. Once retired, credits cannot be traded further, ensuring that the carbon has been removed from the environment completely.

Neerav Bhatt: How do COzero members know that their money is being spent on measures that will make a positive difference to Climate Change?

Nick Armstrong: We have accreditation from GreenPowerâ„¢ which is a national government accredited program that sets stringent environmental and reporting standards for renewable energy providers.

Also offsets are calculated using guidelines from the Australian Greenhouse Office and we are strictly audited to make sure we follow through on all products sold to members.

Neerav Bhatt: Thanks for making yourself available for this interview Nick, its made Carbon offsetting a bit easier to understand.

COzero systems are currently in the final testing stage, you can contact Nick directly at narmstrong@COzero.com.au or by calling 1300 BE NEUTRAL. You can be a part of the Beta trial by signing up at www.COzero.com.au.

What do you think about COzero and the future of Carbon Offsetting? Feel free to make a comment.

6 thoughts on “Rise of the Carbon Traders: Interview with COzero Founder”

  1. Climate issues are very important in contexts like this one. I really hope that people indeed start treating it seriously and invest efforts into saving our planet.

  2. I’m not sure I understand this whole carbon-trading business… maybe it’s because I’m American, but aren’t these credits basically meaningless? I’m all for green energy generation, but I never understood this credits thing

  3. Thanks for the question Aaron, and Yes, credits are meaningless unless they are RETIRED, that is, locked in a bank and the key thrown away. Otherwise credits become merely a financial product which can be bought and sold like shares.

    Most offset providers will retire the credits on behalf of their customers. COzero, in particular, retires credits in Australia with the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER), and internationally with the Chicago Climate Exchange (where we are registered as a Carbon Retirer).

    When offsetting your emissions, ensure that your offset provider is actually retiring your emissions, so the buck stops then and there. You can then be certain that you are actually contributing to REAL and TANGIBLE emissions reductions.

    Hope this answers your question.

  4. Aaron, I have to say, from what I can see ‘carbon trading’ is different to what COzero’s is doing. I went to their website and it looks like COzero retires the carbon credit, meaning, every time you purchase a credit to offset your footprint, COzero retires that credit, throws it away, never to be traded or sold again.

    A carbon credit is far from being meaningless, the way I see it, the money generated from credits works like a subsidy for the green industry. So for every dollar you spend on a credit your actually helping to grow the green industry.

    You can’t just wake up one morning and decide your going to generate and sell carbon credits. The criteria is quite strict, and you’d have to continually meet certain rules & audits to show your using the money properly. IE: A windfarm that’s been approved by “The Gold Standard” to sell credits with their endorsement, would have to show the money flowing onto the installation of more wind turbines etc.

    I like what COzero is doing, they’re going to do well simply because they’re not trying to sell dodgy “in house” credits, in fact they’re only selling credits from well known accredited carbon credit providers. In a emerging industry that is a smart and very wise move.

    I noticed they also have a social networking style of site which is quite cool aswell. You don’t have to pay anything, they just ask you calculate your emissions and be aware of the problem etc.

    Go COzero!!!

    William

  5. So how old were you when you helped start the green power company? It must of been young and that is some achievement.

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