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Low Carbon Funerals

A platform to plan low carbon funerals, including purchasing of low carbon goods and services to reduce and offset the environmental impact.

Photo of Kate Rushton
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

This idea is targeting the growing number of environmentally conscious people worldwide who want to ensure that their death has the lowest impact possible, so they can simply and easily leave a green legacy. It allows people to calculate and offset the carbon impact of their death and to offset this by investing in specific local and international green grassroots projects.

Traditional means of burial and cremation have a high carbon footprint. It is reported that “Cremating one corpse requires two to three hours and more than 1,800 degrees of heat — enough energy to release 573 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, environmental analysts have calculated” (source 1).

Furthermore, many of the funerals I have been to have flowers, which also have a water and carbon footprint (source 2). 

However, more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious. Therefore, why aren’t funerals more environmentally friendly? Why don’t they have an option for people to leave a green legacy? Many people ask for money at a funeral for a local charity. Why can’t they also ask for donations for local grassroots green and environmentally friendly projects?

My idea is a website that provides information and advice on planning a green funeral and leaving a green legacy. 

This is site also has an e-commerce platform, which links to suppliers of green goods and services for a funeral with their estimated footprint. 

There is also an option to select green projects they would like to fund as part of their legacy. 

The person can plan their funeral using this site and, on their death, people attending the funeral can receive a link to all the different green projects the person would like mourners to fund.

Years later on the day of the funeral mourners can receive email updates on the green projects as part of a legacy of that person. 




What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Discuss with a local funeral director the carbon footprint of various funeral options Survey the local community to determine demand and an acceptable price point (% mark-up) on goods and services Connect with local and international green grassroots projects to determine demand and possible options for users of the site Identify companies and individuals providing goods and services that are low carbon and would be interested in being part of the site

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Survey their local community to determine demand and an acceptable price point (% mark-up) on goods and services Connect with developers and designers that could help produce an early prototype of the site for feedback with the target market

Tell us about your work experience:

I have a background in entrepreneurship and innovation and have previously worked in market research and intelligence.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of marco mihambo

Hello Kate Rushton! thanks for sharing your innovative and promising ideas .....keep it up..... I would also like to request you if you don't mind to pass through my idea under feedback stage and advise accordingly for further improvement from the title, its modes if operation and others e.t.c

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Everyone! Sorry I have not been focused on this challenge recently. I will see what I can do in the next 24 hours. 

Photo of Angel Landeros

I thought you might find this different take on sustainable burials interesting:
I know they also have a lot of data on the impact standard burials and cremations have on the environment.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Kate, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Aii Arisma

Hi Kate, excellent idea to create a website on a green funeral. Perhaps you can also include some of the options like tree burial concept like Grow as A Tree When You Die  and eco-friendly coffin as recommend by Shauna Curry . I agree on the movement to reduce and offset the environmental impact, particularly from the funeral activity. This idea needs to be widely spread.