[also posted to the BiodieselBlog and EnviroTech]

Last week I heard from Adam Stein of TerraPass via email:
"The idea behind TerraPass is simple. TerraPass allows individual consumers to tap into the growing market for carbon emission credits traded by large companies such as DuPont and IBM. These markets are structured in the same way as as the markets for sulfur emissions that were so successful in reducing acid rain."
I promptly read through their entire site — the concept is fascinating. Their FAQ sums it up nicely:
Isn't buying a TerraPass essentially just a donation to preserve the environment?

Let's put that question in another context. Is cleaning up after your dog essentially just a donation? Is picking up your trash in the woods essentially just a donation? Cars make a mess; even if not as visibly as your dog. Clean up after your car.

Does TerraPass physically modify my car?

No. TerraPass is a market mechanism that tips the economic balance in favor of efficiency and renewable energy. This mechanism results in exactly counterbalancing the carbon emissions of your driving, without modifying your car physically.


  1. I am trying to understand this TerraPass concept. I read through all the FAQs and everything, but I can't figure out how the company makes any money? They take money from individuals and invest in environment-friendly projects, but where is the payback, the profit to TerraPass? How do they pay their bills?

  2. Hi Anjali,

    We support ourselves the same way any for-profit or non-profit entity supports itself. Most of the cost of a TerraPass is invested in renewable energy, but a portion of it goes toward keeping the lights on in our offices.

    Right now, like most start-ups, we're actually losing money, but out long-term goal for profit margin is 10%. This is in line with overhead for most large non-profits. The rest of the money is used to fund carbon reduction projects. You can read about the investments we've made here:


    Thanks for your interest in TerraPass!


    Adam Stein
    TerraPass founder and web monkey