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Venture Capital Group to Boost Climate Actions

Three wind energy turbines

Wind energy turbines in Brooklyn, Iowa, Apr. 2023 (A. Kotok)

25 Apr. 2023. A venture investor coalition in the U.S. and Europe announced plans to reach net zero emissions by 2030 and help start-up companies quickly achieve their zero emissions goals. The Venture Climate Alliance in San Francisco, a group of 23 venture capital companies, says it now asks its early-stage portfolio companies to establish practices that decarbonize their operations in the near term.

Ten venture capital firms founded the Venture Climate Alliance: Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, DCVC, Energy Impact Partners, Galvanize Climate Solutions, S2G Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Tiger Global, World Fund, and 2150. One of the founding companies, Union Square Ventures, is co-leading the first venture round for CarbonChain, a company developing systems for businesses to calculate their carbon footprints and track progress on reaching their climate goals.

Also taking part in Venture Climate Alliance are Obvious Ventures, Congruent Ventures, Valo Ventures, Clean Energy Ventures, Fifth Wall, Overture Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Spring Lane Capital, Azolla Ventures, Systemiq Capital, The Westly Group, Innovation Endeavors, and ReGen Ventures.

Venture Climate Alliance says its members are first setting tighter carbon reduction goals for themselves. The group says member companies are committed to calculating their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from portfolio companies, to reach net zero or negative emissions by 2030. To reduce carbon emissions by downstream companies, known as Scope 3 emissions, the group says it will encourage and help its early-stage investment recipients to report and establish best practices for decarbonization as part of their growth strategies over the next year, to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

Climate insights across supply chains

“Our goal” says Venture Climate Alliance chair Alexandra Harbour and principal at Prelude Ventures in an organization statement released through Cision, “is to bridge the gap between what’s happening in public markets, where hundreds of companies have made bold forward-looking net zero commitments and early stage innovation, which has the potential to decarbonize legacy industries through a combination of better products, more efficient processes, and lower costs.”

CarbonChain, a four year-old enterprise in London, develops systems as a service for businesses to track their climate footprint and impact, using client companies’ own data. Data uploaded from client companies, says Carbon Chain, are analyzed with artificial intelligence algorithms from 135,000 assets in more than 20 commodity classes to return comprehensive and granular insights for clients to take appropriate actions across supply chains to reach their climate goals.

CarbonChain says its analytics are accredited by CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, and it supports the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. In Oct. 2022, the company received certification from two testing and inspection services that its accounting methods align with Greenhouse Gas Protocols for measuring carbon emissions. CarbonChain was part of the summer 2020 Y-Combinator start-up training class and incubated at London Business School.

The company is raising $10 million in its first venture funding round, led by Union Square Ventures in New York and Voyager Ventures in San Francisco. Adam Hearne, CarbonChain CEO and co-founder, says in a company statement released through Cision, “CarbonChain helps climate-critical sectors take action by filling the data gap for supply chain emissions tracking with accuracy and granularity.” Rebecca Kaden, Union Square Ventures general partner, adds that CarbonChain’s accounting platform “is becoming the go-to solution for leading companies in the commodities, metals manufacturing, trade finance, and logistics industries.”

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