Natalia Rialucky Marsudi
“You are more capable than you think you are, your belief can take you places.”
Founded in: 2022
Natalia (Ria) Marsudi will always remember the crisis that affected the working class, small business owners and farmers in Indonesia in 1998, during the Asian Financial Crisis. Although she was only in high school at the time, she made a commitment to herself that when she grew up she would do something to improve the lives of the people around her.
“I was very young and naive and at one point, I really wanted to be the president. I said to myself, I can do it!”
This strong desire to create change led her to choose political science and international relations as an undergraduate, where she learnt about the political and socio-economic histories of other countries. At the same time Natalia also took up a couple of internships within the government to learn how to create change from within the system.
After graduating, Ria was encouraged by her friends to try management consulting for social enterprises. She joined BCG and later worked on a project to create a predictive analysis tool to prevent deforestation for the WWF. Indonesia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world and the tool helped predict which area will experience deforestation in a six month time frame. This made her realise that technology has a large role to play in conserving nature.
After working with several social entrepreneurs over a decade-long stint at BCG, followed by an MBA, Ria joined an agritech startup which helped farmers grow their business by selling produce on an online platform. This involved a lot of groundwork and interaction with farmers on site.
“It was a very eye-opening experience. Going from consulting to being an operator and realising that not everything you design works! You have to go back to very practical reasons about why people need to change their behaviour. I learnt that building a tech solution that is very simple for people to use is very hard to do!”
In her conversations with farmers, the impact of extreme weather conditions on yield – spanning lack of rain when it was supposed to rain and floods during dry season – kept coming up. That nudged Ria to think about the macro issue of climate change and the importance of helping farmers adapt to it. She also realised that there weren’t many solutions addressing this.
“Agriculture provides us with food for survival. Then why aren’t there enough solutions on the ground to make the most important sector become more resilient to climate change, I asked myself. That’s when I knew that I had found something I was passionate about.”
After more research and conversations with experts, such as Dharsono Hartono, the founder of the world’s largest nature conservation project with carbon credits in Indonesia, she learnt about the carbon market, which provides economic incentives to farmers and other small communities who adopt climate-friendly practices to reduce the carbon footprint, and how it can be a tool to fight climate change. However, the carbon market was not really easily accessible to farmers in Indonesia.
The problem statement was thus clear to her. What would a solution that ensures the benefits of carbon markets trickle down to farmers, look like? She envisioned a tech solution to simplify the journey of a farmer whose conservation project is eligible for a carbon sequestration project to get carbon credits. This led to the launch of her venture, Fairatmos.
Fairatmos is an aggregator of carbon offsetting projects in Indonesia. It provides an E-KYC process to verify the eligibility criteria for carbon credit projects. Fairatmos’ methodology will also estimate the number of credits users can earn. Once eligible, project developers can submit project proposals through guided steps, connect with experts, utilise remote sensing tech, fundraise and access the credit market. On the other side, Fairatmos is a carbon credit marketplace to offset personal or a company’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by purchasing carbon credits from the platform, which are sourced only from premium and curated projects. Ria’s vision is to build Indonesia’s largest carbon credit marketplace to deliver high quality carbon offsetting projects.
“With Fairatmos, we hope that ten years down the line, farmers will be able to get additional income via carbon credits earned from their sustainable farming practices. Farmers will be financially stronger and will therefore be able to continuously adopt sustainable practices.
Worst case, I might fail. But I still want to do this to also set a precedent. I think that when it comes to climate change, people shy away from jumping in because they don’t think they have enough technical or scientific know-how. I trust the experts to guide me on the technical areas and my job is to make it simple for people to join the fight against climate change. Someone has to do that too, right? Why not me?
Before launching Fairatmos, Ria was a Chief Strategy and Social Impact Officer at Tanihub. She is based in Jakarta.