👾 ClimateHack Vol 7: NFTs and Conservation

PLUS: Climate VC's are sitting on ~$20B of dry powder

Last week I might have been a little hard on Crypto / NFTs and had some pushback (see comments)

So this week I reached out to hear from Adrian Dellecker (12+ years in conservation) to see why he's excited for the role of NFTs and Blockchain in conservation.

While I still might not be fully convinced - much like our planet, I'm warming up to it 🌡 (bad joke, I know).

What’s in today's edition?

🌴 British food tech develops a yeast-based alternative to palm oil.💰 Climate VC's are sitting on a lot of dry powder (around $20bn).💨 The world's largest offshore wind farm brings in £400M in funding.

Digest x Climate

📈 Whats up? The US Department of Agriculture plans to continue to push climate change as a policy issue in farm and export programs, as farmers “have an opportunity to be a real hero in our ability to address climate change”.

📉 Whats down? Austria’s Zermatt glacier, famed for its year-round skiing, has had to temporarily shut down its operations after Europe’s record-breaking heatwave.

💡 Good Reads:- A new report by The Food Foundation reveals how Brexit, climate change and Covid have helped break the UK’s food system.- This article, by GreenBiz, explains why local food isn’t the climate solution you (and we) want it to be.- Former Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer explains his recent focus on climate change.

🐊 This Siamese Crocodile exhibit by London Zoo hits hard.

Carbon x Climate

🔎 London-based climate tech startup 51-0 raised £400,000 to further develop its platform, designed to automate data collection and administration for clients looking to decarbonise their business.

🏭 Hydrogen fuel pioneer Compact Syngas Solutions secured €295,000 from grant specialist Catax to perfect carbon capture technology that will help mitigate the environmental impact of its waste-to-hydrogen plants.

🌱 Research published in the journal Horticulturae claims that rewilding two plants, zinnias and tobacco, into polluted soil could help to heal soil, promote biodiversity, and sequester carbon.

Food x Climate

🌴 British food tech Clean Food Group closed a £1.65 million seed round, led by Agronomics, to develop a yeast-based alternative to palm oil, a major driver for global deforestation.

🧑‍🍳 Food Safe System, based in Northern Ireland, has been awarded a £5,000 grant to launch their F*Waste smart scales, a platform to help reduce food waste within hospitality and food service businesses into local restaurants.

🌳 The Food Forest at Browns Mill in Atlanta is the largest free food forest in the US, allowing anyone to enter and pick fresh produce in order to fight hunger and tackle food insecurity.

🌿 Just Eat and UEFA partnered with sustainable packaging startup Notpla to launch a biodegradable seaweed-coated food packaging at the UEFA Women’s EURO Final this weekend.

💡 Good Read: Here are three questions food companies must answer to hit their climate target.

Materials x Climate

🧑‍🎨 New York-based specialist in interior design and architecture Nea Studio launched a new collection of sconces and chandeliers made with locally-sourced marine algae, to help step away from plastics and wood contributing to pollution and deforestation.

🏍 Norwegian startup Carbon Crusher is making sustainable roads from recycled asphalt and plant-based glue, instead of traditional bitumen, saving significant volumes of CO2 emissions and air pollution.

🔋 A team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology has been working on a disposable water-activated paper battery that could reduce the environmental impact of single-use electronics.

Energy x Climate

💨 Hornsea One Wind Farm, the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, secured £400 million from Octopus Energy and UK pension scheme Nest, which is investing billions in green energy on behalf of its 11 million pension savers.

☀️ Solar startup Terabase Energy closed a $44 million funding round joined by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures. It is aiming to rapidly build new solar farms “at the terawatt scale,” by employing robotic arms that lift and connect heavy solar panels to sun trackers.

🌊 US-based Aurora Hydrogen raised $10 million Series A funding in a round led by Energy Innovation Capital for its green hydrogen technology, which uses 80% less electricity than electrolysis.

🔋 British firm Cheescake Energy raised £3.5 million to scale its low cost way of storing energy in the form of heat and compressed air, which it says has the potential to displace established lithium-ion batteries.

Funds x Climate

💰 According to the latest data by CTVC - Climate VC's are sitting on a lot of dry powder (i.e. funds not yet deployed). This in-line with what we're seeing in other sectors too. Takeaway: There's funding there for those building great things and know where to look.

🌍 Carbon 13 venture builder has hit 32 climate-focused investments, with each startup receiving an investment of £120,000 plus support to accelerate their development into highly scalable net-zero ventures.

🛒 Sainsbury’s UK is planning to invest at least £5 million over the next four years into startups focused on sustainability, including reducing carbon emissions and water usage, as part of its Sainsbury's Innovation Investment program.

Conversations x Climate: Conservation and NFTs

This week I reached out to Adrian Dellecker, co-founder of the blockchain x conservation platform TLDR.earth and with a long (12+ years) career in conservation spanning across WWF and the Luc Hoffmann Institute to talk about the role of NFTS in conservation.

What's the pitch for NFTs and conservation and why should we care?

🦓 The current situation: Conservation is dominated by a small set of large actors acting as intermediaries. The way it operates and fundraises hasn’t changed much in years. Like the taxi market in the 1990s, it is ripe for disruption. Conservation NGOs need an Uber-like event to shake things up and make them more efficient and more responsive to user needs.

📈 The market: If you think of conservation as a market – conservation being something that people want and pay for via donations to Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) – then the market is anywhere between US$10 and US$22 billion. Every year, millions of people give billions of dollars to conservation NGOs and individual donations along make up a US$2+ billion market.

💡 The opportunity: Imagine a new actor capturing just 2% of that. Providing a better way to fund conservation and bring a layer of transparency and gamification to the space that makes donors feel a bigger part of what they're funding.

NFTs are one way of doing this. They can be used as new fundraising tool. People have always liked to buy and own things IRL, and with more and more people spending more and more time online, digital assets ownership is a major future market. Blockchain and NFTs are a way to do this that is not platform-dependent and they very will might soon have their role to play in certain sectors.

❓ How it could work: In the conservation sector, NGOs are sitting on valuable assets (wildlife and stories). People spent US$40 billion on NFTs in 2021, and US$37 billion just in Q1 2022, so it’s not a stretch to think NGOs could leverage and sell NFTs to represent the animals and lands they are conserving, instead of the plush toys and tote bags as they do now.

More importantly, NFTs have strong communities and NGOs can use this approach for engaging audiences better, and injecting more transparency about their activities and spending. People are less and less satisfied with giving money to a large NGO and hearing very little back; there’s now a greater expectation for engagement and feedback. NFTs offer the opportunity for that kind of granularity, storytelling and engagement that can help with the growing anxiety over nature loss and climate change.

👀 What we're seeing: There’s already been some interesting experimentation in this sector in the past few months. A profusion of bottom-up projects led by impact-oriented technophiles (we keep a database of these on tldr.earth), which include things that are not possible with plush toys, like royalties on secondary sales.

Some, like Belugies, have raised hundreds of thousands for conservation already. There’s also projects that are starting to bring real data into dynamic NFTs like 100,000,000 mangroves; those seek to tokenise carbon credits like Toucan to make them accessible to more people; others that use gamification (US$180 billion market) as extra incentive like Nemus and Anibles; and many more trying to create digital representations of real conservation data for purchase like Rebalance Earth.

It’s all experimental, but the future is exciting and the alternative dire. And with $40bn already being spent on NFTs last year - maybe we can put some of those ape jpegs to good use.

Memes x Climate

The actual state of NFTs and conservation.

That's all for today, have a great weekend + here's a bonus meme for you while we're on the topic of NFTs.

How did you like today's email?Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

Curated by Nicola & Arman

Until next time 👋