Shopify and Stripe backing expensive projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere in a bid to seed new technologies that will green the economy. The payment processors are unlikely players in the carbon offset market, since neither of their business models directly involve pollution-intensive industrial activity.
Ottawa-based Shopify has committed to spend US$5 million annually on carbon removal, and just published its playbook to “kick-start the carbon removal market.” The document details its strategy down to the technological approaches it favors and the stages of commercial readiness it will support. Stripe has a roster of projects ranging from direct air capture and sequestration to growing and sinking kelp in the open ocean.
Tom Rand, managing partner at ArcTern Ventures, told Yahoo Finance Canada that carbon sequestration begins to become economically viable at a cost of about $20 or $30 per tonne. Shopify and Stripe are paying hundreds of dollars per tonne, he said. The company’s financial backing is intended to help the projects in their early stages.
Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.