December 13, 2022
When we started Carbonfuture as a project 4 years ago, carbon removal was basically nonexistent in the voluntary carbon markets. Our hypothesis was, that tracking and reporting the carbon’s way from the atmosphere to its final storage destination will be the foundation to allow scaling.
Fast forward to today, and the removal sector has grown from a tiny experimental niche into a nascent industry. Top tier companies like Microsoft and SwissRe have taken the lead on the buyer side and larger, established carbon markets actors such as South Pole or Verra have entered the field, helping the market to mature and ultimately, get ready for the unparalleled growth we need to mitigate the climate crisis.
In short, durable carbon removal credits are and will continue to be highly sought after. Which approaches are coming out on top? The market is absorbing prices which make the most resource efficient removal technologies economically viable. Up until this day, by far the largest group in this bucket are biochar applications.
Our work leading up to and in 2022 has created a window to scale carbon removal with a new layer of quality. Today’s market coins the core of Carbonfuture’s services “dMRV”, which stands for digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification, and is the secret to a scalable carbon removal market built on transparency and trust.
Leading buyers and investors are putting the minimization of risk and the maximization of rigor on the top of their agenda, and it is an encouraging sign to see that they are asking for carbon tracking as an inevitable, quality-stamped, means to this end.
These developments not only verify our hypothesis that tracking and reporting are key, they also encourage us to continue on our mission of creating a just and liveable future.
On behalf of myself and the entire Carbonfuture team, I want to thank all of you for the trust you put in us. Thank you to our customers, partners, and everyone else in our network who has been supporting our mission from day one.
That’s a wrap for 2022. May the coming year bring even more concrete climate action and the sense of urgency this global climate crisis - the biggest challenge and opportunity of our times - deserves.
With that, we wish you a wonderful Holiday season and a very Happy New Year!
CEO of Carbonfuture
2022 has been a huge year for carbon dioxide removal policy on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, we saw the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) as well as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which together will pave the way for more than $1 trillion of investments, including many into the CDR space such as the 45Q tax credits or the DAC Hubs program. In the EU, we have seen the progress of a groundbreaking piece of legislation, the Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF), which plans to define both what a carbon dioxide removal is as well as set up the systems for certifying it. The CRCF could be the missing building block to include CDR across European climate policy.
Looking ahead to 2023, we are incredibly excited. CDR is finally hitting mainstream politics. In the US, the focus will be on how billions of dollars already assigned to CDR will be best spent and implemented. In the EU, we will push for tech neutral approaches and clarity within the CRCF. Expect a lot of movement as we inch closer towards the eventual inclusion of high-quality CDR in compliance markets.
In 2022, one of our big achievements was the closing of a 5.5 M EUR financing round. 5.5 M EUR of trust. Not only did existing investors entrust us with more capital, but we were able to convince new investors, such as Sustainable Future Ventures and 4impact ventures to back us in a tough economic environment. Together with these core partnerships, we are paving the way to continuous scaling of the business, onboarding further technologies whilst becoming even more international in the process.
In 2023, our US hub is turning fully operational and a further subsidy in Switzerland will be incorporated, as well. Fast scaling on the business side also means a lot of housekeeping internally. So, we are setting up new processes, streamlining the existing ones and incorporating useful tools along the way.
In 2022 our growth accelerated. We were delighted to see more than 50 clients actively using our platform, and to close long-term, market-shaping deals with major partners like Microsoft, Swiss Re, South Pole, and Swiss Helicopter. Through these partnerships, we were able to place nearly 30,000 Carbon Removal Credits, securing their market-leading quality via our platform.
Looking ahead to 2023, we are confident that we can achieve 4-5 times the growth we saw in 2022, whilst maintaining the highest quality standards as an active part and partner of the carbon removal ecosystem. To enable this growth, we have implemented several measures including hiring a full-time product manager as well as a product designer to help us improve product-market fit and make carbon tracking for high-quality assets even more intuitive and powerful. We are sharpening our communication strategy and brand to better tell our story and create a consistent experience for our users across all channels. Additionally, we are building a supply and sales organization on both sides of the Atlantic to scale our success and strengthen partnerships in the ecosystem. Our ultimate goal remains to help reach 10 Gigatons of Carbon Removal and Climate Impact, with your support and collaboration. We greatly appreciate the expertise, support and partnership you have been contributing to this journey and look forward to a successful year with you.
We’ll look back at 2022 as the beginning of the exponential growth curve for durable carbon removal with an amazing response we’ve been seeing from a burgeoning cohort of CDR producers with innovative business models and ambitions to fit the urgency of the climate and market need. I was excited to be the first full-time hire in the US at the beginning of 2022, and coming out of the year, I am even more excited to see the growth of the industry, the demand with new buying groups being announced and more corporates getting serious about net zero.
Within Carbonfuture, we are building a rapidly growing US and global team and an operational US subsidiary in place as a foundation of dramatic growth to come. On this, we’ve seen incredible people join Carbonfuture and leading organizations reach out to find out how we can build the carbon markets we want, together. This is a gesture we deeply appreciate as a company that knows we play but one needed role in a greater ecosystem that will touch every country, company, and generation on the planet. We couldn’t be more excited about our partners and the evolving ecosystem in this grand challenge of addressing the climate crisis.
One of the core pillars that make our carbon removal credits a new class of quality, are its strong foundations in Independent Standards. We offer mature governance with third-party methodology, auditing and certification, essential to the objective and accurate quantification of carbon removal projects and the credits that result from them. 2022 was the year our collaboration with third-party Standard Carbon Standards International (CSI) intensified further.
In the beginning of 2023, we expect to see Carbonfuture’s close interactions with CSI to be complemented by additional service offerings to other well-known standards. By working with collaboration partners, our tracking system will be used for a Grouped Project under the VCS’ biochar methodology VM0044 jointly with South Pole, as well as for a Gold Standard Microscale project jointly with First Climate.
It was very exciting to launch the Catalyst program in May, with a mission to help new carbon removal ventures formally enter the carbon removal market and foster their growth. We have received dozens of applications, had many fascinating conversations and continue to be impressed with the level of ingenuity, innovation and inspiring ambitions in the CDR space. In the last 6 months we have welcomed 5 companies developing novel CDR projects in enhanced weathering, ocean alkalinity enhancement and direct air capture. We look forward to further scaling the program in the coming year and increase our capacity to pre-purchase credits from promising CDR ventures.
Significant first deliveries from early CDR producers across the globe were made in 2022, with Pacific Biochar, Biochar Life, and Mash Makes, all making their first of many successful on-time deliveries. This has enabled us to significantly scale up and secure over 100,000 tonnes in offtake to help drive the nascent industry. And this is just a fraction of carbon removal tracked on the Carbonfuture platform in the near-term to ensure quality and transparency.
For 2023, Carbonfuture is humbled and honored to be working with exceptional producers across the globe. This includes the largest durable CDR projects in the world to date, which will be announced in 2023. We are excited to connect these dramatic and cost-effective volumes in the coming months as well as the next few years to follow. We will accomplish this feat by working with leading and new corporate buyers alike that have committed to climate action and net zero.
What about trends in the industry? We expect to see large suppliers entering the market, amongst which we find large industrial corporations with a focus on biochar production, sawing mills processing their own wood residues, as well as projects utilizing purpose-grown crops. We expect the biggest increase however to come from the Artisanal projects in developing countries, where biochar is getting valued as a very useful additive for soils, increasing yields and making crops more resilient against climate change.
From a People & Culture perspective, 2022 was a fast-paced year for Carbonfuture. We have grown from 6 to 23 heads, are now represented with a subsidiary in the USA, have employees in Switzerland, Italy and Spain, and of course in our ‘home-base’ in Freiburg, Germany. We have established organizational structures, anchored communication tools (some of which have already been discarded again ;-), taken care of the health of our employees, put together benefit packages, organized team weeks, and worked hard but also had a lot of fun together! We cherish most when we come together as a whole team, when our heads smoke over projects, when we go bouldering or for a drink in the evening. At the end there is this feeling of - it's the right place to be, the right place to work!
2023 is already off to an exciting start, with three new employees in Europe. We also expect some exciting new hires in the US in the first months of the year and are planning to launch our Swiss subsidiary. In terms of content, we will focus in depth on aspects of culture and communication and refine our organizational structure and recruiting tools. And – as always – trying to provide the best service for our peeps on this fast-moving ship!
To keep up to date with all happenings at Carbonfuture as well as valuable insights into the carbon removal market, sign up to our newsletter!
See you in 2023,
The Carbonfuture Team