The news just broke over Reuters. Ford Motor Company and TerraPass have a joined in a partnership to market TerraPass-branded carbon offsets to all drivers of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars and trucks.
We’re calling the joint marketing program Greener Miles. You can read the Reuters scoop here, or get the official version put out by Ford’s friendly and capable PR people (when formally announced). I’m sure dozens of other versions will appear over the next few days.
We’ll be analyzing the deal ourselves from a few different angles in the days to come. For today, though, we’ll just some provide some highlights and context:
- The products we’re selling have new names and spiffy new decals, but they are otherwise unchanged. We’re still selling carbon by the ton. The same amount of carbon goes into each TerraPass, and the price remains the same.
- We’ve selected two wonderful renewable energy projects to be the first beneficiaries of the offsets sold under the Greener Miles program. The first is the Ainsworth Wind Facility in Ainsworth, Nebraska. The second is the Haubenschild dairy farm, near Princeton, Minnesota. (If you’re ever having a bad day, you should check out this slide presentation about the Haubenschild farm. It will cheer you up.)
- Ford derives no revenue from the sale of TerraPasses through the Greener Miles program. Ford is funding the program as part of their broader initiative on climate change.
- TerraPass receives both some money and some in-kind promotion from Ford to promote the Greener Miles program to Ford customers.
- The deal is exclusive for a short period. Then TerraPass is welcome to make similar arrangements with other automakers.
We’re pretty sure this deal is the first of its kind, which means we’re facing a lot of unknowns. No one at Ford or TerraPass really knows how people will react to the news, although we’re pretty sure that some will be enthusiastic, some will be critical, and many will just be confused.
For us, this day marks the culmination of a year of negotiation, months of effort designing the program, and many sleepless nights. It also comes hot on the heels of our biggest sales week ever, pushed along by the triple whammy of Earth Day, Yahoo!, and a front-page article in the New York Times. So you’ll excuse us if we retreat to the hotel bar for a little while and just stare at our hands.
Obviously we’re very excited about this opportunity to bring carbon offsets to a much larger audience, and we’ve got a bunch of interesting marketing programs in the works to help us get the word out. As I mentioned, we’ll also be using this space to provide our own thoughts on what the deal means for Ford, for TerraPass, for consumers, and for the environment.
Finally, a few word of thanks. First, thanks to the Ford team for also putting in long hours to make the deal happen, for demonstrating patience with an overeager partner, for taking a risk on a small company, and for taking a risk on a big idea. And most of all, thanks to our 5,500 TerraPass members, who have gotten us this far.