💡 ClimateHack Vol 10: non-venture backable ideas

PLUS: fish are getting bigger, and cows less-milkier

Is Climate Tech recession-proof?

A question I'm sure some of us might have been wondering as valuations and funding drops across the board in the tech sector.

According to Sifted - the answer is "yes".

Whilst VC funding deal count is down from an average of 80 per month in 2021 to 61 so far in 2022, Investors remain confident that climate is the place to be.

What’s in today's edition? 🔎 46% of consumers cite climate change as a top concern. 💨 Blackrock backed carbon management software raises $60M.💡 Some non-venture backable Climate businesses ideas, from a VC.

Digest x Climate

📈 Whats up? A consumer survey from Mintel shows that consumer concerns around climate change have increased as more people around the globe experience extreme weather events, with 46% of consumers citing climate change as a top three environmental concern this year compared with 39% in 2021. And, per Innova Market Insights, more consumers are doing something about their worries, with 55% of shoppers in the United States and Canada engaging in actions to help the environment.

🐟 A study by the University of Oklahoma's Fish Evolution Lab shows that the gradual cooling of ocean temperatures caused by climate change have led to increasingly larger fish. Is anyone else imagining super-sized cod and haddock next summer?

📉 Whats down? A global shortage of sulphur caused by the world moving away from fossil fuels could see the green tech sector facing a “crisis”, warn researchers from University College London.

🚧 Copper is key to rolling out climate tech—but supply may not keep up. In 2030, the world’s supply of copper—which is absolutely key for rolling out climate tech—may only be enough to meet 80% of the demand, per the IEA.

💡 Good Reads: “Climate science is going to become the new computer science,” said Billionaire John Doerr on a recent Bloomberg interview. “It’s where all the young people want to work for all the right reasons.”

Carbon x Climate

🌍 New York-based Carbon Direct, Inc. raised $60 million in a round led by Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between Temasek and BlackRock, and Quantum Energy Partners’ Innovation Fund. Its science-first carbon management software enables organisations to reduce their emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

🇳🇿 The Westpac New Zealand Government Innovation Fund awarded $1.075 million to four decarbonisation projects in the country, including precision fermentation startup Daisy Lab and an ambitious seagrass restoration project by Cawthron Institute.

🤔 John Oliver’s main segment on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight covered the concept that “we cannot offset our way out of climate change” (aka corporate net-zero proposals are greenwashing, at best).

Food x Climate

🇳🇴 Norway’s Research Council is committing €2 million annually for a 5-year research project covering cellular agriculture and precision fermentation, in order to bring sustainable meat, egg, and milk products to market.

🐄 Arla Foods launched a sustainability roadmap for the UK dairy industry, called Climate Roadmap – Towards Carbon Net Zero Dairy, which it claims is an industry first. The roadmap details how Arla will deliver against its 2030 climate targets.

🥛 Research published in the Journal of Dairy Science claims that global warming will reduce dairy milk production, due to cows experiencing heat stress, increased insulin levels, and eating and drinking less in higher temperatures.

💸 A case for diversification of funding? Whilst funding has poured into solutions across Vertical Farming and Alternative Protein, some argue that more could be done (and bigger impacts could be gained) by investing in solutions that actively regenerate natural capital.

Materials x Climate

👔 New York-based self-funded fashion brand Gomorrah launched a 100% compostable menswear line, designed to combat microplastic-heavy, unsustainable fast fashion.

👚 FoodHack put out an extensive list of 32 biomaterials companies creating alternatives to plastic derived materials - from lab-grown leather to mycelium, biofabricated collagen to cell-based fur, the future is bright and the

Energy x Climate

🧯 Dryad, based in Berlin, raised €10.5 million Series A funding for its solar-powered environmental sensor networks that provide rapid wildfire detection, especially important with global heatwaves.

🔎 Swedish startup Worldfavor secured €10.2 million Series A funding for its data platform that gives insights into a business’s environmental, societal and economic impact and helps shape its sustainability objectives.

🏭 As the world grows hungrier for electricity, interest in nuclear-power innovation has taken off: over the past year, venture-capital investors have poured $3.4B into nuclear fusion and fission startups.

Transport x Climate

🔋 British startup Anaphite claims to have found a way to cut EV battery charging times in half, and raised a £4.1 million seed round to further develop its tech.

🚗 The UK government unveiled a £20 million scheme to install 1,000 electrical vehicle charge points across the nation, ahead of its 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales. And the California Air Resources Board just voted to phase out new gasoline cars in the state by 2035.

🌎 The people at What Car? set a new world record for the number of countries visited in 24 hours in an electric car. The team entered 14 countries in a Porsche Taycan, which has an 800-volt system that allows it to charge ultrafast.

Funds x Climate

📉 Environmental, social and governance funds are coming under fire, and have underperformed the market by nearly 2% during the first half of this year. Are they greenwashing? Do they need tighter regulations? New EU rules mean they’ll get them.

🇬🇧 The UK government is set to invest an additional £16.5 million into agritech research and development as part of its £270 million Farming Innovation Program, designed to address productivity and sustainability in farming.

💡 Good Read on why hard problems require hardtech, why hardtech is so hard, and why funding hardtech is, you guessed it, hard.

Conversations x Climate: Non-Venture backable ideas

This week I reached out to Jessica Burley, investment analyst at Planet A (and featured here in Vol 4). Jessica studied Politics and International Relations at Cambridge and worked as a Climate Venture Researcher for the United Nations. She got deeper into the world of climate tech when leading the authorship team for the European chapter of the world's first textbook on lab-grown meat and developed this interest by working at a pre-seed sustainability startup, before joining Planet A.

Last time she told us about the intersection of the Biodiversity x Climate - this time I asked her for some non-venture backable with big impact.

What are some non-venture backable businesses in climate that you think can still have great impact?

Two things: Women’s health and education. 💁🏽‍♀️

These topics are overlooked as a climate issue yet, according to Drawdown’s comprehensive calculations, increasing women’s access to clean cookstoves, secondary school education, and family planning could reduce or sequester more than 140 gigatonnes of CO2e*. To contextualize that, converting all cars to be electric would at most save 9.76 gigatonnes. Below I explain the top three ways in which women’s rights benefit climate, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation:

1) Agricultural resources and education 🌾 Currently, women do 43% of agricultural labour, producing 60-80 percent of food crops in poorer parts of the world, yet they receive a small proportion of agricultural advisory and support services globally, and nine out of ten countries have laws restricting their economic activity, such as borrowing credit or owning land. Rectifying this would see increased productivity, reducing the pressure on land-clearing to create space for crops, and resilience by reducing food insecurity. In fact, the UN’s FAO reported that if women were given the same access to resources as male farmers have, they could increase crop yields by 20-30 % and reduce malnutrition 12 to 17%.

2) Clean cookstoves 🥘 Women worldwide spend up to 2x more time on chores and 40% of humanity’s cooking fuels are wood, coal or other dirty sources. These cause 4.3 million premature deaths each year and produce 2-5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing wood stoves with low-emissions fuel sources has the potential to directly avoid these emissions and reduce the deforestation and forest degradation associated to the harvesting of fuel wood. It would also reduce sickness, thereby increasing resilience to the increasingly extreme climate events.

3) Education and Family Planning 🎓 Today, economic, cultural, and safety-related barriers impede 62 million girls around the world from realizing their right to education and 225 million women in lower-income countries want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack access to contraception. Women with a secondary school level of education are likely to only have two children, compared to five for women who are forced into child marriage, and are better able to enable their families to prosper, further increasing resilience.

Above all, allowing women into education and their voices, perspectives and creativity into the global sphere has proven to be invaluable in collaborating and innovating to improve systems - which is more than critical in light of the current crisis.

While it is hard (and likely unethical) to get the hockey-stick curve needed for the VC model from supporting women's rights in less economically developed parts of the world, the more we recognize women as inextricable from the climate fight the more (I hope) policymakers will treat women's rights with the weight they deserve both intrinsically and for the entirety of our planet.

*This is from the combination of Low-emissions cookstoves (up to 73.35 GT) and Female Education (68.9 GT)

Memes x Climate: The AI Takeover

At this rate - it might take awhile

That's for reading, and have a great weekend ahead

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Curated by Nicola & Arman