Wren is a San Jose, CA-based company that offers a monthly subscription for people who want to offset their carbon footprint. It was founded in 2019 by Landon Brand and Benjamin Stanfield, who both graduated from the University of Southern California in 2019.
Customers who buy offsets using Wren will support projects that the company has selected for their additionality (meaning the projects would not have been done without the support of organizations like Wren). Once the offsets are purchased, Project Wren retires them from circulation so they can't be traded on any exchange after their creation. The company makes money by taking a 20% commission above the price of the project for operating expenses and marketing.
Users start by going through a carbon calculator that pulls up the average carbon footprint for people living in their country, and then they are asked a few key questions, such as whether they drive and the size of their home. Users can elect to get a more detailed footprint by answering more questions, from the size of the electricity bill to how much is spent on clothing each month. Once the user knows their footprint, they can purchase a subscription plan to offset it.
Projects include a program in Peru that works with indigenous community members using drones and satellite data to spot early warning signs of deforestation. Wren subscribers would get updated on any activity and patrols that happened to protect the trees. In East Africa, users support a project that trains farmers to plant trees and then pays them to maintain the trees as they grow. Updates include satellite images showing where specific trees were planted and data about the size of each tree as it grows. In some cases, the startup is working with nonprofits to help make data they're already collecting easier for people buying offsets to quickly understand. Project Wren sources its offset investments from Project Drawdown and is trying to choose the projects that the company's founders consider "most additional".
Mimi Tran Zambetti
Y Combinator-backed Project Wren is aiming to make carbon offsets more consumer friendly
July 7, 2019
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