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The regen generation

How to offset carbon and biodiversity footprints with maximum impact
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Thomas Richardson, founder of Global Environmental Investment Agency

This article first appeared in our COP28 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 30 November 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Main image: Thomas Richardson, founder of Global Environmental Investment Agency

The current carbon credit market is far from perfect; its opacity makes it at best confusing and at worst downright shady.

There’s little clarity for time-strapped business owners who simply want to make a difference, and the sector has a murky grey area that’s ripe for manipulation and greenwash.

‘The carbon market, in my opinion, is obsolete’, says Thomas Richardson, founder of Global Environmental Investment Agency (GEIA). ‘It is an incredibly reductionist way of dealing with a very complex set of issues. That being said it is currently all we have to work with.’

That won’t be the case for long; GEIA has just launched its GEOBLOCS platform in a bid to bring ‘radical transparency’ to project sponsorship via an interactive dashboard and blockchain tokenisation.

The goal is to create funding mechanisms to kickstart regenerative projects around the world.

Legitimate regeneration

GEOBLOCS will focus on the social, economic and biodiversity aspects of a given project, and ensure they are all in harmony to guarantee its long-term viability.

‘The GEOBLOC NFT is a catalyst fund to get the land regenerated’, Thomas explains; ‘we then use third parties to help the landowners to make the most of the natural capital, and help to bring the products – such as coffee, cacao, cashews – to market.’

The launch of GEOBLOCS comes at a time when the carbon market is experiencing an overdue shakeup; on one hand change is a good thing but on the other it has caused mistrust and confusion for company executives that lack expertise in this area and are simply trying to do their bit.

Platforms like GEOBLOCS, OFP and Gainforest are bucking the trend by using blockchain-verified credits to give companies an opportunity to support legitimate regenerative projects in a simple and transparent way.

The companies can then use the GEOBLOCS platform to show the real-time impact of their contribution through a QR code on their product or service.

‘Recognising the invaluable role of Indigenous communities is crucial. They are the driving force, particularly in restoring the land and nurturing future generations. Equipping them with tools and incentives empowers them to create a profound impact.’

Founder of Global Environmental Investment Agency

People power

Thomas has a vision of a world in which biodiversity, rewilding, carbon sequestration and human wellness are integral parts of our economic system, not external to it, and an entire industry has been built out of people-powered regeneration.

‘In practice, that means people at the coalface being justly rewarded for their labours and those labours being Earth
positive’, he explains. ’It means a move away from the extractive scarcity model and the adoption of a regenerative economy. There is no other choice; business as usual has run its course.’

One of Thomas’ biggest achievements was rallying a community to regenerate its ancestral land and see other options beyond selling sacred forest off to be logged.

He builds GEIA’s projects around people and sees Indigenous empowerment as a necessary part of regeneration.

‘Unless people are part of the equation then we have no chance of creating long-term viable solutions’, Thomas tells us. ‘When we get the balance right and people are fairly rewarded, we will see an exodus from the slums back to the land.’

‘We need to keep innovating and expanding our geographic footprint’, Thomas continues. ‘There is so much work to do in this space that it will take multiple lifetimes to get the job done. I, for one, will dedicate what’s left of mine to the cause.’

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