July 01, 2022

What is EcoCart and Why it Matters

This is a green and black word cloud featuring the words CARBON NEUTRALITY in the center.

What is EcoCart? If you've placed an order with us recently you may have noticed an optional line item in your shopping cart at check out, and I'd like to explain why.

Many of us increasingly rely upon directly delivering individual parcels to our homes or offices rather than purchasing them from a central location. According to a recent Forbes article, eComm provider Shopify estimates worldwide e-commerce sales would nearly double from 2019 levels to $6.5 trillion by 2023. This means more packaging, more weight, and more small delivery vehicles on the road making multiple stops--not a good thing. It also means that understanding and providing a means to offset that impact is a tremendous opportunity for all of us as individuals.

To mitigate the pressure this puts on our planet and offset the carbon, we've simplified our packaging and added a feature called EcoCart which analyzes the carbon footprint of each transaction, recommends an offset amount for your specific order, collects the funds when you check out, and applies 100% of that offset to a certified program to reduce greenhouse gases or otherwise help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The people at EcoCart have developed a robust algorithm which calculates carbon emissions from production and shipping using variables such as raw materials, production process, product weight, shipping distance, and more. That is expressed as a dollar value which you can to apply to your purchase if you'd like.

Where does my money go?

All funds collected are passed directly to EcoCart, and as a starting place we've asked that monies that are collected be allocated exclusively to the McCloud River project located 20 miles southeast of Mt. Shasta and 80 miles north of our olive trees. McCloud River is what is known as an improved forest management project generating carbon emissions reductions through sustainable practices in commercial timberlands. Improved Forest Management (IFM) is an agriculture, forestry, and land-use project category that relates to forest management activities that result in increased carbon stocks within forests and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forestry activities when compared to business-as-usual forestry practices. By using sustainable practices, landowners have preserved more forest and actually increased the amount of carbon stored by the property over time. The McCloud River project in Northern California sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and provides safe habitats for wildlife. This project addresses three of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

    How do they know?

    EcoCart uses research from 9 independent sources:  the Carbon Trust, Yale University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Iowa State University, University of San Diego, Greenhouse Gas Protocol, US Department of Transportation, and WRAP.  

    The certification partners, illustrated below, include American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, United Nations Climate Change, Verified Carbon Standard, and Gold Standard Climate Security and Sustainable Development.

    The estimated cost of offsetting the carbon for your order will appear in your shopping cart at check out, and you have the choice to either offset or delete the line item each time you shop.

    Based on the size of our products and the distance required to ship, the suggested amounts so far come in at about 1% of the purchase price to offset the carbon associated with an order. Taxes are collected on this transaction, and funds that are collected are sent directly to EcoCart®. American Olive Farmer does not profit in any way from this transaction, our shopping cart is a pathway to optional participation by you.

    What is Climate Positive?

    According to Plan A, climate positive means that activity goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon negative means the same thing as “climate positive.”

    As a small business we're on the path to offering a fully climate positive shopping experience by matching your carbon neutral donations during key times of the year, namely peak holiday season and during Earth Month each year to start. Our goal is to be 100% climate positive starting in 2024.

    We're taking steps ensure we remove more greenhouse gases than we emit, and while we're not there yet, this is an ongoing process which Donald and I eagerly embrace. 

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments!