Co-founders of carbon tracking app Capture Abdul Aziz and Josie Stoker sit down with Hive Life to discuss the importance of living a carbon-conscious lifestyle in the age of global warming.
Before Capture brought the duo together, co-founders Aziz and Josie were two worlds apart. Originally from the UK, Josie spent nearly seven years in Asia, first studying psychology and business management in London and then continuing her education in Singapore. Aziz, on the other hand, worked as a software engineer, eventually bootstrapping a software development agency in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in Stockholm, Sweden. The pair initially crossed paths in July 2019 when they joined Antler, a talent incubator programme located in Singapore, which aims to introduce people of tech and business backgrounds to test out different startup ideas.
When asked about their decision to take the leap and join forces as co-founders, Aziz replied, “When you start working on something that you’re going to spend years of your life on, you need to work with the person first to see how compatible you are when it comes to working with them day-to-day. In our case, it took a couple of weeks for us to understand that we were very compatible – that our skill sets were really complementary and that we could make a great team.”
It didn’t take long for the duo to come to that conclusion. In October 2019, just three months after meeting, Aziz and Josie founded Capture, an app designed to transform users from ‘climate worriers’ to ‘climate warriors’ by helping them track and capture their daily carbon emissions from the convenience of their phones. Touted as the “Fitbit for your carbon footprint,” the initial idea behind Capture was born after the pair noticed a clear gap in the market. “There are lots of trackers available for the things that people care about – health, fitness, eating, spending. But, we saw this big gap between a lot of people caring about climate change and not knowing what to do,” she explains. “That’s why we wanted to create Capture – to be able to empower individuals to track CO2 emissions just as easily as they could track their footsteps.” According to the 2019 Emissions Gap Report, yearly global greenhouse gas emissions would have to fall by at least 7.6 per cent over the next decade in order to stay below the 1.5 degrees of warming stipulated in the Paris Agreement. “What we wanted to do is bring this concept to life for the individual,” Josie explains. “We created Capture to empower individuals to understand what their impact is on the planet and to help them take measurable steps to reduce that impact.”
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According to Josie, there are four different categories of life in which an individual can leave a carbon footprint: mobility, emissions from food choices, home energy usage, and goods and services. With Capture, the pair aim to create something that can help individuals track carbon emissions based on various modes of transportation. “Right now, what the app does is help you to track, reduce and remove CO2 emissions from mobility choices,” Josie continues. “And we’ve done that through creating a really cool algorithm, which is able to predict your mode of transport and how long you’re spending on that piece of transport.” By collecting GPS information from its users, Capture can keep track of their everyday transportation choices and create an estimate of their climate footprint. The app then assigns users a carbon allowance for every month by subtracting the recommended 7.6 per cent from their baseline carbon emission, providing real-time feedback on user progress towards a carbon-conscious lifestyle as well as offering tips to reduce carbon usage.
Josie wasn’t always the eco-warrior she is now, however. It wasn’t until she worked with various indigenous communities around the globe that she truly understood the detrimental effect climate change was having on the environment. “I spent time in Mongolia, Kenya and Kalimantan and what I found was that all three were very, very heavily impacted by climate change. From extreme droughts that would persist year on year to extremely unpredictable winters or an increased likelihood of forest fires, it was these sorts of extremes that really started to pique my interest in climate change. I wanted very much to be part of the solution instead of continuing to be part of the problem.” Paired with Aziz’s incredible passion for building software products, the two knew that they had stumbled upon an ideal project that could solve a real-world problem.
With the successful launch of the Capture app, the pair are well on their way to achieving their goals in promoting a carbon-conscious lifestyle. Looking forward, Aziz and Josie envision a bright future for the app. Although Capture currently only offers mobility tracking, the pair plan to expand the carbon tracker to include emissions from food choices, home energy usage and the spending on goods and services. Aside from working with individual users, Capture has also started working with organisations to bring the app to businesses that want to engage their employees in sustainability. “We want to help our users decrease their carbon emissions by 7.6%, year after year between now and 2030,” Josie says. “That’s what we’re setting out to help our users do and ultimately, we hope that that will be something that we can see as a tangible result from Capture.”