Carbon Rationing Action Groups: An Innovation History

January 2013, Sabine Hielscher.

1Carbon Rationing Action Groups (CRAGs) are community-based groups who agree to reduce their carbon emissions through the creation of carbon targets. The members of each CRAG decide a carbon target per person at the beginning of the ‘carbon year’ and the price per kg of carbon. Over the year each member records his/her personal carbon emissions, using the same metrics. At the end of the year, members share their results and people who exceeded the agreed target pay a financial penalty. The penalty money is paid into a bank account and distributed to members who saved carbon as agreed by the participants. The Carbon Rationing Action Groups innovation history traces the origins of the network, through its height when about 25 groups operated across the UK in 2008, to its eventual demise in 2010.


Community Energy Innovation Histories

CISE is conducting 12 in-depth case studies of community energy projects, to better understand how these innovations emerge, develop, spread and grow.

Each case study is written up as an ‘Innovation History’, allowing participants to explain their own individual stories, with researcher reflections and insights inserted into the text.

Ro Randall – founder of Carbon Conversations – stated how the innovation history approach, and conceiving of Carbon Conversations as an ‘innovation’, had made her think about things in a new way. She says:

“Reading your draft has helped me reflect on the relationship between innovation/innovators and the networks of people and support that give them space to innovate. Innovation often gets seen as having an ’author’, rather than being a group or network product and although I was pivotal, Andy’s role was absolutely key. I could have innovated my socks off but without his technical expertise – from knowledge of the science and technology, through to his ability to manage the finances and website – little would have happened. Beyond that there has been a much larger network of people who have contributed to the project and perhaps don’t get recognised as they should. Maybe there are inevitable tensions between innovative projects and the environments that nurture them. Good reflective practice can certainly be helped by having people from the outside taking a look – they see different things, offer other frameworks and that can be really useful.”

We hope you enjoy our Innovation Histories, we will make them available here throughout 2012 as they are completed.