When we picture the world of tomorrow, we see a world where environmental accountability is an integral part of the culture. Hopefully, knowing the environmental impact of every product and service we use will become the norm.

Today, we're all painfully aware of the monetary cost of our activities, from buying a new phone to doing the groceries. Carbon provides a way for us to become aware of the environmental cost of those activities.

What it does

Carbon is a framework for tracking the environmental cost of transactions in an economy. It introduces a new currency, carbon, that’s traded alongside regular money.

carbon is indexed to a real environmental metric, such as volume of carbon dioxide emissions.

carbon starts with companies in primary industries that directly cause emissions. A company's emissions are monitored by a third party. Then, the company takes on environmental liability in the form of an amount of carbon proportional to its emissions.

All companies, be they producers, manufacturers, or vendors, must break even financially. In terms of Carbon, companies must be carbon neutral. They get rid of their environmental liability by setting a carbon cost to each product they sell. When a company or a consumer buys a product, the seller transfers the carbon cost to the buyer, passing on the environmental liability.

End users only accumulate Carbon: this makes sense, since our current economy is environmentally unsustainable.

By tracing the carbon cost of products through the economy, the need to perform expensive, in-depth environmental impact analyses is avoided, since carbon cost naturally reflects the environmental cost of each product.


Using Carbon, vendors can display the real environmental cost of the products they sell, equipping buyers with the information they need to make more ecological choices.

It doesn't stop there. Carbon offers a useful metric for tracking environmental liability throughout an entire economy, giving researchers a valuable tool for assessing environmental impact.

The possibilities are endless.

How we built it

We built the server with a MongoDB Atlas database and an REST API created in Node.js and Express.js. The user client was a website created in ASP.NET, utilizing the .NET framework and C#.

Challenges we ran into

We had issues with token authentication initially, and creating a website client (as none of us previously did web development). Thankfully, all those challenges were taken care of! Unfortunately, that was at the cost of sleep :(

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the fact that we learned how to create a website from start to finish without any prior experience, setting up a MongoDB database without prior experience, and creating a secure REST API.

What we learned

  • Learned how to use HTML/CSS to create a frontend
  • Successfully built an ASP.NET application for the first time
  • How to use MongoDB to create a database
  • Sleep is a commodity that we couldn't afford :(

What's next for Carbon

  • Additional security features for transactions
  • QR code labels for products, so consumers can check product sustainability for in-store products as well
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