After getting more and more concerned about the environment, Christian Niyigena Gasaro, the founder of Isaro Econext Ltd, developed an application dubbed “Isaro App” which encourages people to adopt 51 practices and actions that could reduce carbon emissions by between 70 per cent and 90 per cent and trade eco-friendly products. His team includes the company’s CEO, Bernice Kanyambo Ishimwe, whose expertise is in animal production, the technology – such as feeding, breeding, housing and marketing – applied to the keeping of animals for profit. Then there is the chief operating officer, Eric Museme Amudala, a software engineer. Gasaro graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture engineering from University of Rwanda. He told Doing Business that the application is embedded with an e-commerce platform where eco-friendly products are traded. “The idea came in 2016 when I was in year one. I launched a campaign to sensitize students at university to switch from using charcoal to clean cooking gas by saving part of their monthly stipend. So, I realised that there was a need for an application that can be used in educating and raising awareness about eco-friendly products and also serve as an eco-commerce platform,” Gasaro said. To implement the idea, Gasaro, who is also a photographer, registered the company in 2019 when he graduated and started to develop the application in May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. “This is my second year working on this application. The App development is at 80 per cent. We plan to launch it in January next year. We will be grading and rewarding users depending on the green practices and amount of reduced carbon emissions. The application will be counting the reduced carbon footprint based on each eco-friendly action.” “Every practice that reduces carbon emissions will gain grades. After gaining the green points, the recognition will be in the form of an incentive or discount to buy an eco-friendly product through the eco-commerce platform. The application has outlet shops or market place eco-friendly products,” he said. Examples of the 51 practices – to be rewarded – on which users will be enlightened on using the App include using tooth brushes that are not plastic, cleaning, cooking, and riding bicycles instead of fuel-powered motorcycles. “The application counts carbon footprint reduced by each individuals’ action, institutions and businesses such as hotels and the community. These businesses can also buy eco-friendly products through our e-commerce platform and help them to count the amount of carbon emissions they can reduce,” he said. 500 eco-friendly products Gasaro said that they “want to trade more than 500 products-through our eco-commerce platform” that reduce carbon emissions. “We will help businesses to trade and sell low carbon products through the platform and charge them a fee to generate profit,” he said. The products are those that are biodegradable, non-plastic, reusable, recyclable and refillable and others. “Each product on the platform can be measured in terms of reduced carbon footprint,” he said. As revenues increase, he said, those who will buy the eco-friendly products through the App will get more incentives such as seedlings to boost afforestation. “We want to distribute 10,000 seedlings to individuals playing a role in reducing carbon footprint. We will recognize users in different ways such as visiting eco-parks among other incentives,” he said. He said they have also imported bamboo species that can be processed into different products including toothbrushes. Gasaro urged both public and private institutions to partner in boosting the private sector’s role in reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change. “We are looking for partners with whom we will collaborate in recognising those who will adopt practices that reduce carbon emissions through the application. We will launch the project in January 2023. We need partners to build the financial muscle in implementation,” he said According to Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), there is a need for contribution by civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to contribute to the implementation of Rwanda’s $11 billion 10-year climate plan by planning and integrating climate change in all projects. Rwanda targets to reduce carbon emissions by 38 per cent, equivalent to 4.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, in 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Domestic financing will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent while external financing will reduce the emissions by 22 per cent.