The earthquake On the morning of January 12, 2010, Onel Dossou (Director of Operations) said goodbye to his mother and went to the Universite Moderne d’Haiti, where he was studying agronomy. On his way home a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked Leogane and Port-au-Prince. A quarter of a million people died, and he came home to a pile of debris where his home had been. 80% of his hometown was destroyed.
Meanwhile, Tim Lewis (Founder / CEO) had quit his job in Sydney, Australia and was motorcycling around Colombia. Hearing about the earthquake, he travelled to Leogane and helped with the cleanup, volunteering with All Hands Disaster Response to clear away the rubble. Tim lived in a tent for four months, leading teams deconstructing condemned houses so the families could relocate back onto their own properties from the tent cities that sprung up after the quake. One of the sites he cleared was Onel’s family home. Tim left Haiti in September 2010 but promised he’d be back.
In January 2015 Onel wrote: Haiti is 98.5% deforested and Onel’s dream is to reforest the country. Could Tim help raise some money to plant a few hundred trees? The idea resonated. Tim is a firm believer in mitigating climate change, which inspired his interest in the energy sector: in 2012 he completed a master’s degree in which he correctly predicted the limited uptake in carbon capture technology, and that global coal prices had peaked. He has written newspaper articles and a book on the geopolitical impact of changing weather patterns in SE Asia.
Meanwhile, Onel had become an expert in his field, completing degrees in agronomy and financial economics, and conducting forestation projects in the US. By this stage, Tim was in London, and had been observing a growing trend amongst Fortune 500 companies to offset their emissions and demonstrate good corporate citizenship. He recognized that the growing market for corporate social responsibility programs and carbon offsetting represented a big opportunity for Onel and Haiti. OsierCarbon was born.