British Airways and Standard Chartered back carbon removals finance pilot

Image: UNDO. Pictured: Volcanic rock being prepared for use in advanced rock weathering

Through this initial test phase, the companies are striving to develop a blueprint for unlocking debt financing – secured on future client demand via advanced purchase agreements – for carbon removals.

Several big businesses are already making multi-year advance purchase agreements for carbon captured using man-made technologies ranging from direct air capture to rock weathering. Early proponents include the likes of Microsoft, Meta, Shopify, Stripe and Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

But the four firms involved in the new pilot argue that carbon removal suppliers are still relying on bespoke financing structures because traditional banking products such as commercial debt are harder to secure for this nascent, fast-evolving market. This is a major bottleneck for suppliers and platforms in reaching commercial scale.

CUR8’s chief executive and co-founder Marta Krupinska said: “It is clear that rapid technological and scientific innovations require appropriate, novel and abundant financing. We are delighted to be launching this pilot with UNDO, British Airways and Standard Chartered to show that debt financing in addition to venture capital is needed to unlock scalability for carbon removals. We aim to build a bridge to bankability for the most promising carbon removal suppliers who face a $5-50M scale-up financing gap.”

Company roles

CUR8 is a British tech company providing carbon marketplace verification and transactions. It aims to build on this pilot to further develop scale-up financing products for the carbon removals industry, with the help of financial institutions such as Standard Chartered.

UNDO, for its part, is a supplier of carbon credits generated by advanced rock weathering. British Airways has committed to purchase more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon removal credits delivered by UNDO, joining the likes of Microsoft and McLaren Racing as supporters.

British Airways’ director of sustainability Carrie Harris said: ”Whilst this initial purchase is relatively small, the partnership hopes to pave the way to unlock future investment in carbon removals and help accelerate the future scale-up of carbon removals technology.”

All airlines operating in the UK are required to reach net-zero for domestic flights by 2040, and for international flights by 2050. British Airways has been investing in next-gen carbon removal solutions since 2019 and, through to mid-century, sees offsets and removals addressing a third of the necessary emissions to meet net-zero.

Related feature: Are loopholes looming in government plans to scale carbon capture?

Comments (1)

  1. Alexander Vaidian says:

    CUR 8 a private initiative?

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