Brinc on Puro.earth’s APAC CDR Summit: A Recap

Janina Motter

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Puro.earth’s APAC CDR summit was, in the words of one panelist, a truly historic event as the first industry gathering in Singapore. Scheduled in the midst of Ecosperity Week 2024, it fit perfectly within the atmosphere of impactful action and networking amongst relevant sustainability professionals. I was excited by the opportunity to see familiar faces and better understand Brinc’s role within the vibrant ecosystem of financiers, CDR buyers, thought leaders, government stakeholders, and project suppliers at this invite-only event of ~150 attendees. 

For those less familiar with CDR market activity in the region, a few recent highlights include:


Kicking off with a series of presentations and fireside chats by government leaders from Singapore and Japan, one of the major take-aways was the need for both international and multi-stakeholder collaboration to scale the industry. In particular, both Benedict Chia, Director General (Climate Change) National Climate Change Secretariat Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office, and Ryota Yamada, Chief, Energy and Environment Innovation Strategy Office, METI, presented a long-term vision of the convergence of the voluntary carbon markets (VCM) and compliance markets. “What gets measured gets done,” Chia said simply, which was a theme repeated throughout the day underscoring the need for both clear measurement, verification, and reporting (MRV) protocols as well as standardized carbon accounting practices. 

Fredrik Ekstrom (Chairman, Nasdaq Stockholm)’s talk (and subsequent panel participation) in particular stressed the imperative to leverage building blocks from the financial industry to develop a more robust market. The need to standardize pricing across CDR pathways, account for durability, and establish forward pricing curves came up as a critical barrier. Addressing fragmentation across systems was another highlighted challenge, with increased automation as one potential solution.

In terms of scaling projects, partnerships was the mantra. Zarak Pasha, Head of Carbon Finance and Co-lead Carbon Innovation Hub, Standard Chartered Bank, highlighted Standard Chartered’s work to de-risk projects of interest by collaborating with Undo, an enhanced rock weathering startup, and British Airways to establish off-take agreements. Cross-border partnership agreements (G2G) to increase supply and buyer coalitions to aggregate demand were other examples highlighted throughout the summit. 

Compared to the atmosphere of early-stage startups and investors I remembered from the inaugural Carbon Unbound 2023, the major focus of this event seemed to be scaled (and scalable) projects. The majority of participants on the CDR investment and financing panel were wary of unproven technologies. Tasos Zavitsanakis, Co-Head APAC Sustainable Finance Office, UBS, stressed the need for a mindset shift towards roads-like infrastructure in terms of the direction to head in. May Liew (Director, Investment Group, GenZero) pointed out: “you can’t run away from unproven tech if you want to invest in CDR, but even if it’s new we want to see it can be proven out incrementally over time.” 

A question in the back of many attendees’ minds was how critical geography actually is for suppliers and the role APAC would play. Buyers were almost unanimous in voicing a lack of geographic importance in evaluating projects, highlighting instead the importance of a strong technical (and commercial) team to scale and access to low-cost renewable energy. Yet there was a full showcase of almost 50 suppliers from APAC. These were mostly biochar startups, unsurprising given the market potential in the regionrecent research highlighting durability (to be accounted for in upcoming puro methodology revisions), and technical maturity of this pathway. I was also excited to connect with a DAC startup from China with promising technology.

Brinc’s CDR program follows a similar strategy of connecting “Western” startups with opportunities to scale in APAC as well as nurturing the growing regional ecosystem. We are excited to witness firsthand the pace of technology innovation in the space, highlighted by Cecilia Tam from IEA at the summit. We recognize the importance of accelerators to strengthen ecosystems and will be working closely with our Spring 2024 cohort (stay tuned for our upcoming cohort announcement!) to ensure the companies are ready to meet the due diligence criteria shared by investors and buyers at the event. I’m looking forward to us playing a more active role next year, either sharing the early-stage investor perspective and/or showcasing startups from our portfolio. 

If I missed you at the event or you’re eager to explore collaboration opportunities supporting Brinc’s vision, please reach out to climatetech@brinc.io. 

Janina Motter

Janina is the Sustainability Program Manager at Brinc. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Stanford as well as a joint MS/MBA degree from Harvard. Janina has extensive experience working in research and development, operations, and business development at deep tech startups in Silicon Valley and Boston. She also has venture capital experience at SOSV and Clean Energy Ventures. Janina was involved with ecosystem-building initiatives during business school, such as the sustainability track ("Eco") of the biotech incubator Nucleate and the Harvard Circular Economy Symposium.

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Janina Motter

Janina is the Sustainability Program Manager at Brinc. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Stanford as well as a joint MS/MBA degree from Harvard. Janina has extensive experience working in research and development, operations, and business development at deep tech startups in Silicon Valley and Boston. She also has venture capital experience at SOSV and Clean Energy Ventures. Janina was involved with ecosystem-building initiatives during business school, such as the sustainability track (“Eco”) of the biotech incubator Nucleate and the Harvard Circular Economy Symposium.

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  • Janina Motter

    Janina is the Sustainability Program Manager at Brinc. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Stanford as well as a joint MS/MBA degree from Harvard. Janina has extensive experience working in research and development, operations, and business development at deep tech startups in Silicon Valley and Boston. She also has venture capital experience at SOSV and Clean Energy Ventures. Janina was involved with ecosystem-building initiatives during business school, such as the sustainability track ("Eco") of the biotech incubator Nucleate and the Harvard Circular Economy Symposium.

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