Most students spend their last semester at university yearning for downtime and recovering from the stresses of final exams – but Samantha Sutherland is full of beans.
In her final semester, the Bachelor of Global Studies (Sustainability) student launched Carbon Clear – a social enterprise aimed at offsetting the carbon associated with cups of coffee.
“Three in four Australians drink coffee, so there’s huge market potential there. I thought, why not capitalise on that?” Ms Sutherland says.
“People are becoming more environmentally conscious. They want to know that their coffee has been curated guilt-free, and that it’s carbon-neutral before they take a sip.”
Carbon Clear works as part of the tap-and-go payment system offered at cafes.
“Customers will be asked if they want to pay an extra five cents at the counter, which will redivert the funds into a separate account to be forwarded to a carbon farmer, who will offset the associated emissions,” she says.
“The sale of 735 cups of coffee will generate enough money to plant a tree. According to the National Coffee Association, an independent coffee shop can sell roughly 200-300 cups per day, whereas a large chain coffee shop can sell an astounding 700 cups of coffee per day.”
Ms Sutherland, who currently works at an environmental consulting firm and interns with an organic certification company, believes carbon labels influence consumer purchasing decisions.
“We are seeing a change in the way consumers make decisions, and I believe that if consumers have the ability to make carbon positive purchases, they are becoming more inclined to do so.
“I believe Carbon Clear presents a huge opportunity for cafes and coffee consumers across the nation.”
Carbon Clear received a boost as part of the Transformer Launchpad competition, run by Bond University’s Transformer Program – an Australian-first entrepreneurship program offered as a fee-free, extracurricular option to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines.