UT startup IMPULSE is one of the five most promising web startups in the field of sustainability, according to The Next Web. IMPULSE offers consumers the unique opportunity to offset the precise carbon emissions of consumer goods at the time of purchase. Our motto is “make change with change”, says founder and third-year student of Advanced Technology, Werner Schouten (20).
The innovative concept attracted the interest of The Next Web, a platform for online startups. The nomination means that three IMPULSE team members will be sent to the 2019 Science and Technology Conference at the NDSM shipyard in Amsterdam on 9 and 10 May. More than 17,500 investors and representatives of tech companies attend this annual conference. In addition to conference tickets, the nominated startups are given the opportunity to set up a stand and pitch their innovative concept to a jury of potential partner companies.
“I spent several months in the US in 2018, and while I was there I discovered that you can pay a fee on top of your air fare to offset the carbon emissions of your flight,” explains Werner. “Turns out compensating for the carbon footprint of your flight is easy and feasible. I discovered that offsets for consumer goods were not available yet. The idea for IMPULSE was born and on my return in January 2019, I joined forces with ambitious UT students of Creative Technology Lefika Otisitswe and Raul da Silva and launched the startup.”
Raul Da Silva is also the founder of Shira International Group, a consultancy for other startups.
In collaboration with online shops, IMPULSE calculates how many greenhouse gases are released in the manufacture and transport of each individual product. Currently, the organization is mainly focusing on the fashion industry. In the production of a pair of jeans for example, consider the following in terms of CO2 emissions: what is involved in sewing, weaving, in terms of chemicals and the energy involved. Based on this calculation, a fee is determined for each product based on precise emissions estimates. IMPULSE then offers consumers the unique option of offsetting the carbon emissions of the product they’re purchasing upon payment, by paying a small extra fee. The compensation amount for consumer products is much lower than for purchasing an airline ticket and amounts to approximately 10 to 15 eurocents per product, making it easier for consumers to purchase carbon neutral products. Hence the motto: “Make change with change”.
IMPULSE uses these consumer contributions to create sustainability opportunities. IMPULSE invests in projects that prevent future CO2 emissions, by compensating for the precise carbon emissions of consumer products. Examples of projects are a wind park in Costa Rica and solar parks in Uganda. In this way, the startup creates a sustainable impact and contributes to social and economic development in developing countries. For both consumers and collaborating online shops, this is an easy and accessible way of contributing to a sustainable future!
“We want to boost the sustainability of the supply chain of retailers, until we become superfluous. In the short term, we want to offset at least one million tonnes of carbon emissions within the next five years”, explains Schouten.
Schouten: “This gives us access to investors and major potential partners in retail and the opportunity to scale up our concept faster. At the Science and Technology conference, we will also have the opportunity to have 1-on-1 meetings with potential partners. For us, the award opens doors to the sustainability offices of the major players in the retail sector.”