A powerful tool in the climate crisis: ecological accounting with integrity
myEcoCost® is a comprehensive methodology that measures the environmental impact of products and services.
We are innovators in eco-accounting on a mission to disrupt the status quo; we’re introducing an ecological accounting system that works in a similar way to financial accounting.
The system accounts for the chemical compounds that contribute to the environmental pressure points that are stretching the planet’s boundaries. We do this by measuring material flows at each stage of a supply chain, and therefore throughout the economy.
Its potential could be profound, touching many aspects of our climate challenge.
Let’s begin with The Green Agenda
The Green Agenda represents one of the boldest political objectives to achieve an ecologically-balanced planet. The main objectives themselves are so challenging to the status quo that an inventive step — something brand new, beyond current imagination — is required to achieve them.
We believe the myEcoCost® method of ecological accounting is that necessary inventive step. The three principal objectives of the EU Green Agenda and how myEcoCost® assists in those objectives are:
1. No net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
No net emissions is a state where global inputs (Earth’s biocapacity to absorb carbon) matches global outputs (greenhouse gas emissions). In order to manage this effectively, we need an economy of planetary usage.
Planetary usage can be described as a function of material flows through the economy. myEcoCost® provides a novel economic measure of resource use that runs in reverse-parallel stream to monetary flows, from which many environmental measurements can be presented, making the ecoCost certificate invaluable to every economic actor in society.
2. Economic growth decoupled from resource use
Economic growth is measured in monetary terms. Resource use is a statement of material consumption spanning industrial use and socio-industrial consumption. In order to de-couple economic growth from resource use, we need both an economic measure of growth (which already exists in the form of money) and an economic measure of resources. The latter is what myEcoCost® provides.
3. No person and no place left behind
Designed to span both the industrial sector and individual consumers, economically speaking, myEcoCost® provides the missing link for a whole society approach to managing planetary boundaries. Planetary boundaries define the environmental limits within which humanity can safely exist and thrive, which must be observed to avoid further climatic catastrophe, food shortages, droughts and mass migrations.
From Objective to Action
To make the above broad objectives more realistic and resolvable, these have been further broken down into a series of actions. To highlight the value of the myEcoCost® method, we describe myEcoCost® in the context of each action.
Under the Green Agenda, a key action is to transform Europe’s energy system through energy savings and diversification of supplies, and the promotion of clean, affordable and sustainable energy. As opposed to the standard measurement of energy in joules (J) or watts (W), myEcoCost® uses the chemical reaction of combustion to express energy in terms of material flows (i.e. natural gas and oxygen in, and carbon emissions out); the same scientific dimensions used for planetary boundaries. Our innovation lies in the creation of a certificate — an enhancement of the life cycle inventory, which is passed from supplier to customer, coupled with an ecological accounting system that uses the certificate. Every economic actor is included (including service providers), ensuring comprehensive completeness. The synergy lies in a consistent economic approach that aligns with the dimensions of planetary boundaries.
The measure used for this ambition is a reduction in GHG emissions and decarbonisation in all sectors, from industry and energy, to transport and farming. myEcoCost® provides an economic measure of GHG emissions and the material impact of decarbonisation technologies to form an impact of product(s) and impact of decarbonisation. From farm or mining production processes, through processing plants, to final product and consumer choice, the uniform eco-accounting methodology is applicable across the entire supply chain.
Preserving our Environment
The myEcoCost® methodology can contribute significantly to the five priorities targeted by the EU:
1. The protection of biodiversity and ecosystems:
The myEcoCost® method will include a measure of land use intensity which is not a direct quantitative measure, but an indirect measure to be monitored over time to quantify changes in land use. This is particularly applicable to the responsible sourcing of products within forestry and agricultural supply chains, including timber and other wood products, palm oil, soy, beef, sugar and cocoa.
2. The reduction of air, water and soil pollution:
myEcoCost® can be used by companies to monitor their emissions to land, sea and air. Eco-innovation applied to business processes is reflected in the accounting of material flows, and the results reflected in the content of the certificate passed on to the customer.
3. The move towards a circular economy:
The myEcoCost® methodology includes all materials embedded within a product, which becomes the physical input at the point of circularity. Upon re-entry to the circular economy, the historical inputs and outputs are re-set, using the embedded materials only.
4. The improvement of waste management:
Each company will have an account of all waste produced by operations. Once a product or service has been made or completed, and the materials involved in this process have left the operation (and therefore out of sight), these materials and quantities remain on the company’s eco-accounting books to be used as key performance indicators (KPIs) in improving production methods.
5. Ensuring the sustainability of our blue economy and fisheries sectors:
myEcoCost® aims to account for all human-made fishing operations including those at sea, which covers fuel usage, consumption of nets, deployment of feed, increase in biomass, oil consumption and the general servicing of fleets. Both open sea fishing and intensive aquaculture are included. The ecoCost certificates produced can then be used by restaurants, canteens and individual consumers to assess environmental impact and wider sustainability.
Each of these EU-adopted principles will be better understood when cross-border material flows can be analysed. The ecoCost certificate (passed from supplier to customer) equips the market with a comprehensive impact statement from the extraction of natural resources up to the last point of sale. This is fully integrated and interconnected, and in a digital format.
myEcoCost® addresses this ambition by embracing the complexity of biological processes (production processes that span days, months or years rather than hours) for food production. One predicted extension to the myEcoCost® methodology includes an understanding of biodiversity loss by measuring land intensity of producers. myEcoCost® does not directly reduce the footprint of food production, but it does accurately measure the impact of existing and future processes.
Although it does not contribute to food resilience, an envisaged extension to myEcoCost® is to couple it with a blockchain-based chain-of-custody record that would provide a traceability solution for food provenance.
With its comprehensive identification of material consumption, myEcoCost® provides a direct, near real-time measurement of GHG emissions, pollutant emissions, consumption of tyres and maintenance of fleets. It could also be extended to measure unsafe noise levels (e.g. at factories and foundries).
With increases in market demands for eco-performance and monitoring, comes a need for a substantial market change towards eco-innovation. myEcoCost® provides a direct economic measurement and accountability point of reference for low-emission technologies. As these technologies are utilised, the reduction of environmental impact will be expressed in the ecoCost certificates of the products and communicated to customers.
Research and Innovation
Eco-efficiency is a highly desired output when deploying, demonstrating and de-risking solutions. With myEcoCost®, this can be measured directly. As the ecoCost of products is designed to be delivered to individual consumers to understand the wider impact of everything they buy, citizens can directly participate in reducing their environmental impact. This is a novel concept never before offered to consumers. It therefore provides an exciting opportunity for citizen engagement and innovation.
|| We’re looking for like-minded investors: Our initial research was backed by the EU, and now we’re looking to make our concept a reality. If you share our passion for sustainability, planetary health and the circular economy, join us today with as little as £120 (must be UK-based).
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