“RSA launches first ever trial to enable real-time ‘personal carbon’ calculation”

London, 9 June 2008

Pilot developed by Atos Origin shows the potential to measure personal carbon footprints using technology already in place.

The RSA today launched the first ever trial to enable real-time calculations of personal carbon emissions using technology already in place from Atos Origin, an international IT services company. Energy use and carbon emissions of participants in the trial will be recorded and calculated in real-time, providing them with an accurate picture of their own carbon footprint, initially for personal vehicle use. The trial will increase our understanding of people's willingness and readiness to record and measure their own carbon emissions. It will also show whether having an accurate view of their carbon footprint, people are more likely to make lifestyle changes.

The trial will run across the UK for five months and is open to up to 1000 volunteers. On registering for the trial each volunteer will be given carbon credits to cover their carbon emissions. Each time that a volunteer buys fuel at a BP petrol station and uses their Nectar loyalty card, carbon credits will be deducted in real-time from their carbon account. Volunteers can review their carbon usage via their on-line account which will be updated automatically. Volunteers using less credit than they are allocated can trade the surplus with people using more, for virtual currency. In this way, the project will simulate the provision of incentives to encourage volunteers to take steps to reduce their ‘personal emissions', in other words, the emissions for which they are directly responsible, such as car use and home heating and lighting.

Atos Origin through its subsidiary, Atos Worldline, a major European player in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions, has designed, built and is running the card transaction processing systems at all BP forecourts across the UK. When participants in the trial purchase petrol at a BP forecourt, Atos Worldline will manage the real-time, secure transfer of the purchase details to the RSA's CarbonDAQ – a personal carbon trading platform – which then calculates the carbon credits based on fuel grade and volume purchased.

“With almost half of all UK carbon emissions relating to behavioural decisions made by individuals, the role of citizens in moving to a low carbon future is vital,” said Matt Prescott, director of the RSA's CarbonLimited project. “Thanks to the technology solution provided by Atos Origin, we are able to undertake this innovative trial to understand how a personal carbon trading scheme could operate in practice, and gain some understanding about how people will interact with it, helping to take the debate about personal carbon trading forward.”

“This trial is one example of how technology can be instrumental in helping the UK to achieve its objective of reducing its carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050,” said Anne Ware, Vice President for Public Sector at Atos Origin. “For this trial we are using an existing technology infrastructure to help deliver information that will help address one of the pressing issues of the 21st century.”

"We are very pleased to support this trial, through our loyalty programme Nectar at our sites, said Clive Head, BP Retail's UK Loyalty and Alliance Manager.“ This fits well with the BP managed online carbon off-setting scheme for motorists called www.targetneutral.com. "At the end of the day it's all about encouraging responsibility and encouraging people to take action, whatever that action might be to help reduce their carbon footprint.”

The trial forms part of the RSA's CarbonLimited project which is investigating how a future personal carbon trading scheme could work.

First results of the trial will be available in autumn 2008.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.8 billion and it employs 50,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About the RSA
The RSA has built a well deserved reputation for generating new and imaginative ideas to promote social progress. Our aim is to continue to be a force for change by delivering far-reaching and realistic practical solutions that will produce a more prosperous, more just and more environmentally sustainable world. The RSA's aims are delivered through a portfolio of projects and a lecture programme consisting of well over one hundred events a year.

A progressive, wholly independent, multidisciplinary body supported by a professional network of 27,000 Fellows worldwide, the RSA is well-placed to disseminate information and initiatives to the public, industry, commerce and government.

For more information, please contact:
Matt Prescott Caroline Crouch
RSA Atos Origin
Tel: +44 77 75 943 427 Tel: +44 77 33 310 086