Blockchain payments firm Ripple has announced a $44-million environmental, social and governance (ESG) joint venture partnership with fintech provider Nelnet Renewable Energy to fund the adoption of environmentally conscious solar energy initiatives across the United States.
According to the announcement, the new fund is expected to offset over 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over 35 years, equivalent to the energy usage of 180,635 homes for one annum.
In March 2021, Nelnet Inc. received a commendable E1 ESG accreditation from the S&P Global Ratings evaluation board for the former’s $9.9-million solar tax equity fund. The project entails the financial backing to build four photovoltaic solar projects in Upstate New York.
The evaluation was assessed across three parameters of environmental priorities: transparency, governance and mitigation, for which the project scored 88, 86 and 80, respectively, out of a maximum of 100.
Ken Weber, head of social impact at Ripple, spoke of the environmental precedent that the partnership with Nelnet could instigate across the broader market:
“We’re excited to work with Nelnet as we pursue our commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of financial services globally and to deliver on the promise of a carbon-negative cryptocurrency industry.”
In October 2020, Weber told Cointelegraph that Ripple practices environmental consciousness through the purchase of carbon offsets and choosing sustainable products and services, in addition to investing in carbon-removal technology. Around the same time, the company also outlined plans to have become carbon net-zero by 2030.
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In April 2021, Ripple joined the Crypto Climate Accord — an initiative inspired by the values of the Paris Climate Agreement — which has collated a consortium of 20 firms from the crypto, finance, technology and energy sectors to unify behind the goals of transitioning all blockchains to fully renewable energy by 2025, as well as evolving the crypto space to net-zero carbon by 2040.
To gain a greater insight into the importance of environmental sustainability measures in this sector, Cointelegraph spoke to Peter Zhou, chief scientist at VeChain.
Zhou shared his perspective on crypto and blockchain firms adopting open, transparent and accountable systems for carbon tracking and reporting:
“In pursuit of our goal to cultivate a healthier planet through green technologies, we intend to prove that a blockchain platform can support green business and be a truly sustainable infrastructure for companies to build their smart contract solutions from.”
VeChain recently published a report sharing the carbon footprint of the entire VeChainThor public blockchain network, summating that “the total carbon emissions per year generated by VeChainThor is around 4.58 metric tons, approximately 2.4% of the carbon emission generated for mining a single Bitcoin.”