The Brinc team was excited to attend Carbon Unbound with the inaugural climate tech cohort and connect with a variety of stakeholders in the carbon removal (CDR) space. It was refreshing to finally meet in person many contacts whom we’d chatted with online. The two days were packed with meetings and panels.
A few of the recurring themes included:
- The need for a responsible approach to scaling (especially in terms of measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) and community engagement)
- Collaboration (particularly to tap into skill-sets from other industries), and
- How to bring more funding into the space (from financing gaps to the need for more carbon credit buyers).
“There’s a danger we could spend forever looking for the next disruptive technology…if we don’t build the first big project, we’ll never build the second one and it’s absolutely a both/and situation.” — Anna Stukas, Carbon Engineering
A few other concepts were major take-aways for me personally:
- Lisa Coca of Toyota Ventures proposed that certain CDR pathways will work better in certain geographies. This makes intuitive sense based on the uneven global distribution of natural resources, but feels a bit too early to predict once considering related factors such as government initiatives (still nascent in many regions), the permitting process, where countries are in their energy transition, and the local community impact. Brinc in particular is interested to see how over the next few years this could affect which pathways its program should support to help companies expand into the Asia-Pacific market.
- Philip Moss of South Pole dispelled the myth that the price of credits indicates quality, highlighting in particular how the same CDR supplier may offer different price points to different companies for various reasons. A related consideration was to contextualize the high price a buyer might pay today with their longterm spend to underscore how small a percentage of the total cost these high-priced credits actually represent.
“It doesn’t matter how much they’re buying. It just matters that they’re there” – Stacy Kauk, Shopify (on the need for more corporate buyers)
- John Auckland of Seafields Solutions in our campfire session talked about the importance of building a brand as a founder/startup. This step is critical in communicating effectively with potential investors as well as establishing trust with relevant stakeholders. It’s also one of several areas where founders in our upcoming program will receive support as they prepare for their next stage of development.
“The only real questions when it boils down to it are: ‘Is it real? Can it scale?’ ” – Adam Wolf, Eion
We are looking forward to future Unbound sessions to further brainstorm and unpack solutions to these and other challenges for the nascent CDR industry. If we weren’t able to connect at the event or if you’d like to support our upcoming program as a mentor, partner, or follow-on investor, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.