Identifying the best
Knowing that the planet needed urgent action on climate change and that permanent carbon removal was a critical yet under-explored component, we went about identifying the best projects that we could support as part of Sourceful Climate.
Balancing the fact that carbon removal is a relatively young industry, with the fact that the planet cannot wait until these are mature technologies, meant we needed to take project validation and scientific due diligence into our own hands. Industry-standard verification doesn't yet exist for these technologies.
To do so we brought onboard two independent academic advisers, Dr. Corey Myers and Dr. Martin Chan, to help us answer the following question:
What are the best projects that represent a scientifically robust permanent carbon removal process?
What we were looking for
To structure this assessment we identified 5 key criteria to assess each project against. This is based on the Oxford Offsetting Principles, launched in 2020 and the CarbonPlan carbon removal framework.
These criteria ensure the project contributes effectively to the fight against climate change. They ensure we are taking climate action that moves beyond tree planting and traditional offsets.
Meaning they represent a carbon removal that otherwise would not have taken place
Meaning the ratio between emissions required to deliver the carbon removal and the carbon removal itself
Meaning the length of time for which the carbon is safely stored. We are looking for at least 1000 years
Path to Affordability
Meaning a demonstrable path to achieving a significant reduction in £/ton as a result of our contribution
Meaning that by aggregating demand from multiple brands we are enabling unique access for the projects and the brands
Identifying the Shortlist
We identified a shortlist of credible permanent carbon removal projects utilising the independent assessment conducted by Carbonplan and project-provided information. We engaged the founders and/or chief scientists these projects. This process of speaking to project founders highlighted that the major barrier to achieving scale in this space was capital; capital that would allow these projects to scale to a climate-relevant scale. In other words, big enough for the planet to hit its climate targets.
Based on these criteria we were able to narrow down to a shortlist of 3 projects. Each of these three projects represented...
...with a balanced emissions profile;
...with high confidence additionality;
...a clear path to significant price reduction and;
...beneficial commercial terms with an at scale purchase.
Detailed Scientific Due Diligence
As our final step in the process we wanted to ensure we went deep on assessing the science behind the projects. Given these are new companies operating in a relatively new industry, there aren't established verification methods. To plug this gap we utilised our academic advisers to assess the projects one by one.
All 3 projects passed the assessment, each representing a scientifically robust implementation of permanent carbon removal.
To summarise what got us excited about these 3 projects:
New to market - the team have identified a new approach that leverages the best of engineered and natural solutions and is new on the market.
Category defining - the team are first to implement a novel process to utilise bio-oil for carbon removal. The process, once matured, can also play a big role in de-carbonising one of the hardest to de-carbonise industries, steel production.
Simple & effective - leaders in the use of Olivine, their process swaps out an existing construction material with one that permanently removes CO2. Simple, affordable and natural.
Below you can find the project write-ups developed in collaboration with Dr. Martin Chan and Dr. Corey Myers:
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