- What is an eco-entrepreneur?
- How does clean energy benefit the eco-entrepreneur?
- Why haven’t eco-entrepreneurs accessed these technologies in the past?
- What clean energy technologies are eco-entrepreneurs purchasing?
- What is microfinance?
- How does Yurtcozy select its MFI field partners?
- Is Yurtcozy’s system sustainable?
- What is climate change?
- What is a carbon credit?
- How are my carbon credits measured and audited?
- What is the CD-VER standard?
- How do I track ownership of my credits? (The Yurtcozy Carbon Registry)
- What can I do myself to reduce my carbon footprint?
- How does Yurtcozy’s carbon calculator work?
- Can I check in on the wellbeing of my eco-entrepreneur and see their loan repayment progress?
- How do I propose a new technology to Yurtcozy?
- How accurate are the maps?
- Are my donations tax deductible?
- Do the funds from my carbon credit purchase go to the same entrepreneur I see in the photo?
- Are the programs verified by a third party?
- How much of my donation goes to the microfinance field partner for clean energy programs?
What is an eco-entrepreneur? [back to top]
An eco-entrepreneur is an individual, household or group who borrows money to purchase a clean energy technology. The eco-entrepreneur repays the loans in small installments, which are often less than the cost of the “dirty”, high-carbon emissions energy source that the eco-entrepreneur had been using previously.
How does clean energy benefit the eco-entrepreneur? [back to top]
- Better health: Burning “dirty”, high carbon emissions fuels is a direct cause of respiratory diseases. Respiratory diseases at best drastically decrease an individual’s productivity, and, at worst, are fatal.
- Better education: Access to solar-powered lighting means their children can study later into the evening, increasing literacy and school performance.
- Better life for girls: Many of Yurtcozy’s eco-entrepreneurs live in remote areas where it takes all day to walk to gather firewood or go and buy coal, and where the ability to stay warm is key to maintaining good health, not only in the home, but outside it too. Women and girls especially must spend time that could be used for education and business walking miles that increase their vulnerability to assault, to obtain fuel sources like coal or wood
- Increased wealth: For other Yurtcozy eco-entrepreneurs, access to solar-powered lighting means that they can work into the evening, directly increasing productivity and household income.
Why haven’t eco-entrepreneurs accessed these technologies in the past? [back to top]
Although many clean energy technologies have been available for fifty years or more, these products have seen slow adoption among the poor. Key barriers to adoption have included:
- Lack of awareness: People lack awareness of the clean energy technologies that might replace their current fuel source. They also may be unaware of the health impacts of indoor smoke for example.
- Lack of financing: Many clean energy products have a high upfront cost, but affordable lifecycle cost. Without financing, these products are too expensive for most households.
- Lack of a local distributor of the products: Many people who live in villages or poor urban communities are not seen as attractive markets to large companies, who have not marketed clean energy products to them. In some cases distributors have installed products but have not found ways to affordably maintain the systems when they break down.
What clean energy technologies are eco-entrepreneurs purchasing? [back to top]
Every community and every entrepreneur is different, having their own mix of natural resources, economic activity and cultural requirements. Some common clean energy solutions include:
- Solar Lighting System: Solar photovoltaic cells charge lights and electronic devices such as television, radios and cell phones for a household or business
- LED Lanterns: Super efficent LED lighting technology makes bright, economical portable lights.
- Efficient Housing: Insulation reduces the amount of fuel required to keep a house cozy.
- Biogas Digesters: Manure from cattle or poultry is stored in a container where it decomposes in an anaerobic process to create methane which is then used as an odorless cooking gas, lighting fuel or to run an electric generator
- Efficient cookstoves: Cookstoves manufactured with an efficient design cause fuel to burn more efficiently, using less fuel and releasing little or no smoke. Most also come with a chimney to preserve clean indoor air.
What is microfinance? [back to top]
Microfinance is an innovative banking system that provides small loans to poor people (often women) to help them start their own businesses and gradually work their way out of poverty. A notable example is the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh who, along with its founder, Muhammad Yunus, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. For more information on microfinance see FINCA, the Grameen Foundation, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, or Kiva.
Yurtcozy partners with Microfinance Institutions or MFI’s, as field partners who provide loans to microentrepreneurs for clean energy. MFIs are institutions of various sizes that provide microfinance services to the poor.
How does Yurtcozy select its MFI field partners? [back to top]
Yurtcozy partners with legitimate and established MFIs that have the capability to help eco-entrepreneurs access clean energy technologies. MFI field partners also must monitor and report on the continued use of the clean energy systems. Yurtcozy engages in a due diligence process to evaluate all potential microfinance field partners, but does not discriminate on the basis of size or access to communications technology. Yurtcozy works with MFI field partners to ensure that they have the educational and data capture tools best suited to their operations.
Is Yurtcozy’s system sustainable? [back to top]
As long as you continue to purchase carbon credits created by eco-entrepreneurs, the Yurtcozy system continues to operate sustainably. Carbon funding continues to bridge the gap needed to start clean energy programs at more MFIs.
Since each eco-entrepreneur pays off their loan while increasing their access to clean energy, the MFI can continue to lend to more eco-entrepreneeurs. And since the carbon funds are used to engage local technicians, the clean energy systems continue to operate for their full lifetime.
Moreover, as each clean energy program achieves saturation, the microfinance field partner can use the carbon revenues to develop new clean energy systems for other products, expanding from heating, to cooking, or lighting.
What is climate change? [back to top]
For the past 200 years, the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and deforestation have caused the concentrations of heat-trapping "greenhouse gases" to increase significantly in our atmosphere. These gases prevent heat from escaping to space, somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse. This trend impacts components of our climate including average temperature rainfall patterns, snow and ice cover, and sea level. These changes may result in a range of catastrophes including reductions in agricultural harvests, submersion of populated areas, disappearance of potable water sources, increase of illnesses, increase in storms and or droughts and extinction of some species.
Greenhouse gases are necessary to life as we know it, because they keep the planet's surface warmer than it otherwise would be. But, as the concentrations of these gases continue to increase in the atmosphere, the Earth's temperature is climbing above past levels. According to NOAA and NASA data, the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF in the last 100 years. The eight warmest years on record (since 1850) have all occurred since 1998, with the warmest year being 2005. Most of the warming in recent decades is very likely the result of human activities.
If greenhouse gases continue to increase, climate models predict that the average temperature at the Earth's surface could increase from 3.2 to 7.2ºF above 1990 levels by the end of this century. Scientists are certain that human activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere, and that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases will change the planet's climate. (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency)
What is a carbon credit? [back to top]
A carbon credit is a certificate representing an emission reduction in one or more of the six internationally recognized greenhouse gases of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent from a business-as-usual scenario. Each reduction must be created as a direct result of the use of a new technology, the access to which would be prevented in some way for the user without the revenue generated by the development and sale of the carbon credit.
How are my carbon credits measured and audited? [back to top]
The volume of each carbon credit is calculated based on the difference between the pollution resulting from a business-as-usual scenario with the pollution emitted using the clean energy. The difference is quantified in tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. This calculation takes into account the traditional fuel usage patterns of local communities, deforestation levels in their area, the efficiency of traditional products and scientific variables connecting fuels with climate change impact. This method is based on standard methodologies used by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The microfinance field partner reports on the installation and continued usage of all the clean energy systems on a quarterly basis. These reports are audited by a local licensed auditing firm on an annual basis.
To ensure that the carbon credits are not double-counted, or sold more than once, the microfinance field partner collects the gps location of each clean energy system. Each system is entered into a registry where the credits are tracked until they are retired. The volume calculations and reports are validated through the CD-VER standard which was developed by the international carbon aggregator, EcoSecurities, and are the same quality as credits sold to large corporations purchasing emissions reductions on the voluntary market.
What is the CD-VER standard? [back to top]
Carbon credits created by Yurtcozy eco-entrepreneurs are developed using MicroEnergy Credits’ approach which combines excellent rigor with a practical cost structure, so that the carbon funds are directed where they are most useful. These credits comply with the CD-VER standard, a standard accepted by corporations offsetting their carbon footprint through the voluntary carbon market, and which was pioneered by EcoSecurities, a leading carbon finance company. The CD-VER consists of a two step process.
First, the eco-entrepreneur’s carbon emission reduction is calculated. The amount of carbon emissions reduced by each eco-entrepreneur is quantified according to standard methodologies developed by global teams of experts at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change CDM board. The carbon emission baselines are derived from published studies, technical specifications and interviews from field partners. 100% of Yurtcozy eco-entrepreneurs are monitored on a quarterly basis by microfinance field partners for the life of the carbon emission reduction—if the clean energy system breaks, is stolen or falls out of use, the emission reduction is canceled and the credit is taken out of the pool. To ensure that among a high volume of eco-entrepreneurs there is no double counting, a gps location is recorded for each eco-entrepreneur. The monitoring data, as well as the emissions reduction methodology is audited during a field visit on an annual basis by a licensed third party financial auditor.
The second step that completes the CD-VER creates a credit that can be used by corporations and individuals according to industry standard convention to confirm that their carbon footprint has been neutralized. Each CD-VER credit is paired with another credit “VER” produced in accordance with the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and listed in an industry registry, with a public verification report. This ensures that each Yurtcozy customer has the comfort of both buying a reduction produced by a project with extensive community and sustainable development co-benefits, wherein most of the capital goes directly to the field and a verification report made against a recognized industry voluntary standard for compliance purposes. Together, the carbon credit produced by a Yurtcozy eco-entrepreneur and the industrial VER make up the “CD-VER”.
This may seem like a lot, but after looking at the options this was the most cost effective near term solution to bring our credits to market. At Yurtcozy we are actively seeking to improve our transparency and rigor such that we may take our portfolio to an industry voluntary standard and eventually to acceptance by the compliance markets, without wasting money on overhead costs that add little value.
How do I track ownership of my credits? (The Yurtcozy Carbon Registry) [back to top]
Each metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent produced as a result of implementation of the CD-VER methodology and associated monitoring, evaluation and auditing period is ascribed a unique serial number and is registered in the MicroEnergy Credits registry. When each carbon credit purchase is made, the relevant credit is retired in the name of the purchaser according to its serial number, to ensure transparent, clear and final accounting. The VER portion of the CD-VER comes with its own Verification Report produced by a recognized third-party verifier and access to the project design documents in question. The VER itself is publicly retired on the VER registry by Better World Credits on behalf of the purchaser.
What can I do myself to reduce my carbon footprint? [back to top]
In addition to buying offsets from community development projects such as Yurtcozy’s eco-entrepreneurs, there are a number of behavioral changes you can make in your daily life that will slow the rate of global warming. Indeed, scientists are now certain the greenhouse gas effect cannot be reversed without individuals and groups both supporting low emissions projects elsewhere and changing their daily behavior. For more information on the latter, and climate change in general, please see: Climate Solutions
How does Yurtcozy’s carbon calculator work? [back to top]
Yurtcozy’s carbon calculator was custom built and is based on a series of default values and industry-standard assumptions. For more information, please see carbon calculator.
Can I check in on the wellbeing of my eco-entrepreneur and see their loan repayment progress? [back to top]
At this time, Yurtcozy is not able to offer the opportunity to track the progress of each individual eco-entrepreneur, but is working hard to develop this capability for you in the future. Please support our existing eco-entrepreneurs to make sure that we can!
How do I propose a new technology to Yurtcozy? [back to top]
Yurtcozy always welcomes information about technologies that might be of benefit to our eco-entrepreneurs. Please send us details of your technology at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How accurate are the maps? [back to top]
The GPS devices used by our field partners provide an accuracy within 30 meters.
Are my donations tax deductible? [back to top]
Yes! If you are a United States tax payer your donation supports Better World Credits a 501 (C) 3 Charitable Organization. Better World Credits ensures that your donations are used by its microfinance field partners for programs which enable microentreneurs to access clean energy, such as education campaigns, staff training, favorable lending programs, and programs that support local suppliers of clean energy technologies. A portion of your donation is used by Better World Credits to certify the carbon credits through the CD-VER or other methodology. And a portion of the donation is used to "keep the lights on" at Yurtcozy HQ.
Do the funds from my carbon credit purchase go to the same entrepreneur I see in the photo? [back to top]
Not exactly! Our microfinance field partner provided a loan to that microentrepreneur for clean energy, and then sent us this photo. They used the expectation of revenue from sale of the carbon emissions reduction in planning their program. When you purchase carbon credit from them it “refills their tank” so that they can keep offering training, education, local jobs and long term maintenance to this and other microentrepreneurs in the same area. The field partner has a tremendous incentive to grow the program and keep the systems operational—the more systems in operation, the more they are paid.
What’s more, each carbon credit you purchase on yurtcozy can be uniquely traced to an individual microentrepreneur. We keep track of each entrepreneur’s name and gps location, and uniquely match these credits to your purchase. Take a look at the map feature to watch as the programs grow.
Are the programs verified by a third party? [back to top]
Yes, all of the carbon credits sold by Yurtcozy are audited annually by a licensed auditor, using MicroEnergy Credits standard practice. To see an example of one of these audits click here.
How much of my donation goes to the microfinance field partner for clean energy programs? [back to top]
All of your donation goes to helping the microfinance institution offer clean lending using accepted carbon market principles. We don’t keep any of it.
For a $29.99 carbon purchase (1 tonne) we send the money to the following places:
- 83% ($25.20) goes to the MFI for programs
- 10% ($3.00) is used for carbon certification under the CD-VER methodology
- 5% ($1.30) goes to carbon reduction volume estimation, monitoring and 3rd party verification
- 2% ($.50) goes to payment processing
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