“When we think transport, we think decarbonisation, which is so valid, but we don't necessarily think of air pollution. We don't think about making cities safer and cleaner. We definitely don't think about silent vehicles and the implication on chronic stress and health and wellbeing globally. Things like the implications of air pollution on child brain development. Those things are worth contemplating.”
Motion Energy is working to democratise access to carbon finance for the transport industry, to accelerate the global uptake of clean transport, and help scale the social, environmental and economic benefits of a zero emissions transport future.
The B Corp, headquartered in Australia, runs a unique platform focused on delivering truly meaningful carbon credits, specifically designed for the clean transport sector.
Its “Impact Credits” are a first-of-its-kind carbon credit designed to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) at scale globally.
Working alongside its partners in the EV industry, the company generates uniquely dual carbon certified credits, aligned with nine of the UN’S Sustainable Development Goals. Its framework properly measures and values the true breadth of clean transport benefitss.
The purchase of these carbon credits enables authentic changemakers to have a direct positive impact on their value chains, local communities and beyond.
I recently spoke to Motion Energy founders Ben Cavanagh and Dave Moore, along with Head of Impact Marina Hough, to get a better understanding of Motion Energy’s Impact Credits and what it seeks to achieve.
Numerous benefits from the shift to clean transport
In forming Motion Energy, Ben and Dave recognised that the electrification of transport and the shift to cleaner forms of transport were going to be really important, not only from an environmental perspective, but for a whole raft of reasons: for the community around human health, around ecosystem health, around fuel security, around access to better technology for vulnerable communities.
Their second key acknowledgement was that while traditional forms of finance would be really important in supporting the uptake of clean transport, on its own, traditional finance would not be enough to make the shift happen at the rate that it needs to happen.
Ben and Dave spent a long time looking at how to place a value on the numerous benefits that come from the shift to clean transport, so that the value could be fed back into the clean transport ecosystem to help uptake.
Having looked at a number of different ways to do that, they kept coming back to a carbon credit methodology developed in the US, specifically for the electric vehicle industry. This methodology enabled them to point in a really robust way to the avoided emissions that result from the shift away from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles.
Essentially, it meant that Motion Energy’s partners — who are participants in the EV transport space such as charging networks, fleet operators, software providers, anyone helping facilitate the uptake of electric vehicles — can identify the benefits they are facilitating on behalf of the environment and for the communities in which they operate.
Transportation, not just a climate change problem
Transport is one of the biggest emitting sectors in any developed or developing economy. Around a quarter of global emissions come from the transport sector and in most jurisdictions emissions have increased over the last 20 or 30 years.
However, transport has been a hugely underrepresented sector in the carbon market space. Carbon credits from projects in the transport sector comprised only 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of carbon emissions reduction in 2021, or 0.95% of volume.
But climate change is not the only issue to address. There are broader implications for tailpipe emissions and fossil fuel use to do with air quality, fuel security and are other important factors that impact vulnerable communities — around eight million people die every year as a result of air pollution.
The Motion Energy team say, “When we think transport, we think decarbonisation, which is so valid, but we don’t necessarily think of air pollution. We don’t think about making cities safer and cleaner. We definitely don’t think about silent vehicles and the implication on chronic stress and health and wellbeing globally. Things like the implications of air pollution on child brain development. Those things are worth contemplating.”
“What’s really important for investors and purchases of these credits to be able to point to the broader non climate change benefits that occur when they invest in these projects, the broader sustainable development benefits.”
ME Impact Credits
Motion Energy is bringing in metrics that allow the tracking of a whole host of transportation impacts, bringing into the narrative factors previously unaccounted for.
The measurement and verification process involves assessing the volume of energy supplied to EVs and the associated carbon intensity, as compared to the emissions that would have resulted if internal combustion engine vehicles were used. The difference represents the avoided emissions, with each credit representing one tonne of CO2 equivalent that’s been avoided.
Calculating and generating the impact credits, which are based on international carbon accounting methodologies, is a long process that involves an independent audit.
The credits have dual certification — a world first for the transport sector — that recognises the core community and ecosystem benefits of electric vehicles. This provides an essential framework to properly measure and value the true breadth of clean transport benefits an organisation is contributing for people and planet.
“The methodology recognises that if someone is charging an electric vehicle, they’re not refuelling an internal combustion engine vehicle. So there’s a displacement of fossil fuels.
“Then the emissions associated with the charging event must be considered. We need to look at the carbon intensity of the electricity and the volume of electricity that goes into the electric vehicle.
“We must then make some assumptions around the volume of fossil fuels of carbon emitters that would have been burned in an internal combustion engine vehicle.
“That enables us to calculate both the carbon emissions that have occurred as a result of the electric vehicle, and then the carbon emissions that would have occurred had that vehicle been an internal combustion engine vehicle. The difference is the avoided emissions that we’re able to account for.
“Each credit that we create not only reflects the avoided emissions that our partners are helping contribute towards, but it also reflects the broader sustainable development benefits that are happening in and around where that activity is taking place.
“That then means the buyers of our credits will hopefully see more value in the purchase of those credits because of the impact it’s having in and around where we’re generating the underlying activity.”
“The accuracy of the measurement, that comes from either sequestration or avoiding carbon emissions with our projects, is right up there. We know from the calculations that we do and the data tracking that we do as part of our projects, that when we say a tonne of carbon it is absolutely a tonne of carbon and it’s not going to go up in smoke. We call them transition credits because you are literally transitioning away from internal combustion engine vehicles forever.”
Changemakers seeking a cleaner future
Changemakers, or the buyers of the impact credits, are largely purpose driven organisations, seeking to contribute towards a cleaner future for their communities, supply chains and global spheres of influence.
These are corporate citizens that are genuine in their ambition for a cleaner world, who are likely to have some sort of emissions footprint as it relates to transport.
“It’s about corporate organisations demonstrating their commitment to addressing their own emissions within their supply chains. Have they got a credible transition plan? How are they contributing to sustainable development outcomes?”
Partners who recognise the problem
Motion Energy’s partners are organisations, first and foremost, that acknowledge that transport emissions are a problem.
These organisations have some sort of emissions footprint as it relates to transport and acknowledge that the uptake of clean transport is important for not only the environment, but for human health and want to support the uptake of electric vehicles in some way, shape, or form.
They can be established participants or those just starting out in the clean transport sector and include charging infrastructure businesses, software providers, fleet operators, and organisations shifting to electric that have accessible energy data allowing for Motion Energy to run its calculations.
Many of these organisations know they can’t eliminate their emissions overnight, but they want to do something about their own transport emissions such as gradually transferring their fleet over to electric. But in the meantime, they also want to support the uptake of clean transport in and around the communities that they might operate in and those globally that require additional funding to support clean transport.
To support its partners, Motion Energy provides complete end-to-end specialist project management support. It manages the full life cycle including on-boarding, reporting, auditing, issuance, sales and management, as well as absorbing carbon project development cost and risks.
While Australia is a huge market for Motion Energy, it has a much bigger pool of portfolio partners internationally. This includes other developed economies such as the UK, but also includes many parts of Africa, the Pacific and South America.
ME Impact Credit sale to Zilch Forwarding
In September the company made its first sale of ME Impact credits to Zilch Forwarding, a Melbourne-based global clean freight forwarding business that’s at the forefront of driving transport decarbonisation and promoting more sustainable approaches to transport supply chains.
Zilch purchased the Impact Credits to not to offset emissions, but to provide a financial commitment to support clean air and better health outcomes, initially for communities across Australia but eventually for communities all over the world.
Zilch has already committed to purchase more credits from EV activities in regions that are home to some of the world’s more vulnerable communities. In doing so it hopes to help kickstart a platform to provide funding certainty for parts of the world where EV uptake has been non-existent to date.
Electric Vehicle Council Chief Executive Behyad Jafari commented on the sale: “With transport due to become our highest source of emissions by 2030, we need as much innovation as possible in the sector to address climate change and improve the associated health benefits to our communities.”
“It’s terrific to see Zilch and Motion Energy working together to deliver a meaningful market based incentive for drivers and businesses to make the switch to EVs. Initiatives like this could be the catalyst for a really significant change in a fast-growing, dynamic EV industry.”