Sharing the steps we’ve taken to mitigate our climate impact and our commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2025
Today, we’re proud to announce that Flexa has become the first payments network to make its activities completely carbon-neutral, and has invested in additional carbon removal strategies to reduce its impact going forward. Anthropogenic climate change is real and emergent, and its effects are already being felt around the world. We believe that in order to limit these impacts and ensure the health of our planet for posterity, individuals and businesses will need to not only reduce the emissions we produce, but also work to remove carbon that’s already been released into the atmosphere.
The question of carbon emissions in payments is not new. As a matter of fact, facilitating payments around the world is an extraordinarily inefficient process, on both a cost basis and an environmental one: it’s these inefficiencies that were the driving factor in our decision to create a new payments network when we formed Flexa back in 2018. However, the climate impact of payments is especially relevant to Flexa given that our network processes digital currencies, which have long been scrutinized for the energy usage associated with proof-of-work consensus (the verification system that Bitcoin and many other blockchains use to secure transactions).
For the past several months, Flexa has been working to prove that better, faster, and more affordable payments don’t have to correspond with a larger and more harmful carbon footprint. And today, we’re excited to share our progress toward making our payments carbon-neutral and our plans for achieving net-zero emissions in the future.
Flexa is now a carbon-negative payments network
Many companies work to achieve carbon neutrality by estimating their current-year emissions in terms of tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO₂e), and then purchasing carbon offsets that help remove that same amount of carbon emissions from the atmosphere—in effect, canceling out the emissions they plan to produce by investing in activities that can offset those emissions. At Flexa, we believe that offsets are an important tool to help reduce the overall climate impact of industrial activities, and that investing in a diverse portfolio of carbon offsets backed by various technologies is an important first step toward reducing that impact now and in the future.
With the support of Canopi, a software platform that specializes in helping companies create and run their climate programs, we analyzed the carbon emissions of Flexa’s activities from inception to date—including all transactions related to collateralizing Flexa payments with Amp on the Ethereum blockchain. We found that:
- Flexa’s total emissions to date were 990 tCO₂e.
- Flexa payment activities on the blockchain were—as expected—the largest driver of our impact, coming in at 65% of our total emissions.
- The secondary drivers of our climate impact included air travel (18% of our total emissions), computer hardware (4%), and lodging (4%).
With the above data in hand, we used Canopi’s platform to select a mix of innovative carbon removal solutions providing innovative and sustainable solutions to the climate emergency—from reforestation to improved forest management and crop production. From there, we purchased a set of high-quality, verified carbon offsets from Canopi’s portfolio of carbon removal partners (each of whom were initially selected based on Canopi’s criteria of verifiability, additionality, enforceability, permanence, transparency, and co-benefits such as social factors).
Then, beyond simply offsetting emissions related to the Flexa network’s past and present activities, we effectively doubled our investment in carbon removal by purchasing additional tons of carbon dioxide equivalent—without regard for the price per tCO₂e—from initiatives at the forefront of climate science and carbon removal innovation. The initiatives we invested in work to remove carbon from the environment via direct air capture, biochar, stimulated natural rock weathering, and more, and each offered solutions with the potential for removing exceedingly large amounts of carbon from the environment and storing it for long periods of time. It’s our hope that by investing into these providers and similar technologies, we can help to drive down their costs over time, so that these forms of carbon removal can become more broadly adopted and promoted by other companies like ours.
What this all means is that Flexa is now not just a carbon-neutral payments network—it’s a carbon-negative payments network. The offsets we have purchased balance out the entirety of Flexa’s historical emissions (from our founding in 2018 to present), and our additional investments into cutting-edge, science-based solutions will help drive the future of climate innovation. This is important not just for Flexa and our merchant partners, but also for each of us individually who call this planet our home.
Flexa will achieve net-zero emissions by 2025
However, even to the scale that Flexa has pursued it, carbon neutrality will not be a sufficient strategy for reversing the course of climate change on Earth. We are recognizing the need to look further—beyond the scope of carbon offsets and toward a net-zero emissions future, in which all businesses and individuals are limiting their overall emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the greatest extent possible while continuing to ensure a net-negative GHG impact on the environment.
Flexa has committed to achieving net-zero emissions for its own activities by the end of 2025, twenty-five years sooner than IPCC targets. And while we have not yet solidified the concrete actions that we will take to get there, here are some examples of actions that illustrate our thinking:
- Flexa may find ways to access cloud computing regions that use renewable energy sources, and either purchase or prioritize renewable energy options for its processing infrastructure (including the blockchain).
- Flexa may look to establish remote work and travel policies that are consistent with our climate goals, such as providing green benefits to employees that include subsidies for household solar panels and batteries.
- Flexa may work to sponsor and solicit initiatives that eliminate the overall climate impact of our payments and their underlying distributed ledgers.
The available options for achieving net-zero emissions will evolve over the course of the next four years—especially as other companies begin to prioritize their reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and as the related technologies improve. As we build out our climate program over the course of that time, we are committed to pushing the envelope of climate renewal, and will continue to invest in frontier climate technologies to achieve our goal.
Net-zero emissions is a critical target for the blockchain and payments industries
Limiting the impact of climate change requires commitment from all of us. We’re well aware that Flexa’s current carbon impact—and therefore, our offset effort—is relatively small compared to that of the more established companies in the industries in which we participate. This is where we need your help. While Flexa aspires to continue scaling our carbon removal efforts in order to eventually effect a meaningful and outsized impact relative to our peers, we’re also looking to help make carbon removal activities easier and more accessible for those very same companies.
And that’s why we’ve been working with Canopi to support the development of accurate, reliable, and real-time carbon emissions APIs for cryptocurrency activities—software that will help companies in our industry monitor and eliminate their blockchain-related emissions in a streamlined and programmatic way. As of today, we’re delighted to support the launch of Canopi’s Clean Crypto Initiative, an integrated solution that does just that for digital currency exchanges, NFT auction houses, miners, and more.
With Canopi’s help and guidance, we will be taking a science-first approach to limiting our own emissions, and will be publishing our findings in the open. We also know that overall climate renewal is an effort that will require participation from many others. And so, we’re placing a call to action for other companies and individuals in the blockchain and payments industries to consider evaluating and eliminating their own climate impact.
Ultimately, what we’re proposing is only a starting point. We already know that digital currencies and distributed ledger technologies are here to stay, and we firmly believe that they offer myriad opportunities for improving the lives of people all over the world through access to more efficient and affordable commerce. We also believe that by applying a certain degree of thoughtfulness to the question of climate impact, these blockchain-based technologies can both inspire conversations about sustainability and climate change (as they already have) and serve as part of the solution to an increasingly urgent problem that confronts us all.
So please, join us. If you’re a founder, a HODLer, an entrepreneur, an enthusiast, or anyone in-between, we hope you’ll participate in the conversation that we’re kicking off with Canopi in the new #climate channel of Flexa’s Discord server. With your help and support, we’re looking to make our planet a better place to live — by way of developing the fastest, most fraud-proof, and now, most sustainable payments network in the world. To learn more about what we’re doing and Canopi’s efforts in the space, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter or Discord, and contact the Canopi team directly for details on their climate platform.