Nori is an innovative Seattle startup that is on a mission to change the carbon offset marketplace as we know it. The company aims to incentivize people to offset their carbon footprint by offering a cheap alternative compared to current carbon removal programs.
The goal of Nori is to reverse climate change by removing the CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere and prevent moving further towards a 2 degrees Celsius warming. It plans to achieve that by making it cheaper for companies and individuals to buy carbon offsets.
The startup offers the so-called Nori Carbon Removal Tons (NRTs) for $15 per ton of CO2 sequestered. The carbon offset price is significantly lower than the current market price on the EU emissions trading system that reached a record high of $60 per ton of CO2 more than a month ago.
“If we want people to do something they’re not currently doing, the best way to get them to do it is by paying them…So what we need is a financial incentive for pulling carbon out of the air…That was really the germ of the idea that ended up becoming Nori,” said CEO Paul Gambill.
The purchasers of the carbon offsets get a certificate to prove they own the transaction that is recorded using blockchain technology. The sellers then sign a contract obliging them to remove the carbon for at least 10 years.
The startup’s main objective is to provide a clear and affordable price for carbon offset credits as the marketplace at the moment offers different programs at variable prices which, according to Nori, confuses companies and investors. The other objective is to show businesses and governments that there is a demand for captured carbon which would lead to further investments into more carbon removal.
The average price that Nori charges for CO2 sequestration for an American citizen, for example, is $276 per year. That would offset 16 tons of CO2 which is its average annual carbon footprint.
Nori Carbon Offset Method
The reason why the company is capable of offering a competitive carbon offset price is the carbon sequestration method it has chosen. Even though there are various programs that a company could invest in to remove carbon, Nori prefers carbon capture in soil. According to the CEO, that is “by far the most affordable and scalable method of carbon removal that we know today.”
The company also shares that soil is capable of capturing three times more CO2 than plants and animals on the planet. It is offering 13,000 tons of carbon captured by North American farmers that use regenerative farming methods to sequester CO2 in soil.
The CEO also claims that the potential to store carbon via this method is 5 gigatons per year which is around 10% of global emissions. Even though there are doubts about how permanent soil sequestration is, the company’s main goal is to lock as much carbon right away as possible for an immediate solution to lower the amounts of CO2 built up in the atmosphere.
“I would so much rather remove 100 million tonnes for 10 years today than I would 10 million tonnes for 100 years…There’s too much carbon in the air right now, so we need to remove more carbon right now,” explains the CEO.
Like other carbon offsetting companies, it also plans to offer other carbon offset methods in the future like direct air capture or projects sequestering emissions in marine and coastal ecosystems like mangroves. Since DAC costs are currently between $300 – $900 for a ton of CO2 removed, it is not considered the most scalable for the time being.
Nori is an exceptional company, providing a real-life viable alternative to companies and individuals willing to offset their carbon footprint. A growing number of similar initiatives is driving the carbon offset market that expands beyond just legally penalizing companies for emitting carbon.