Twenty-five million US dollars is a big investment in carbon removal credits. In fact, it’s the world’s largest investment to date to store CO₂ through carbon mineralization. So why has Invert, a specialized emissions reduction and offsetting company, made such a significant purchase, providing such a strong vote of confidence in CarbonCure’s carbon removal and reduction credits?
CarbonCure’s Eric Yee caught up with Invert's Co-CEO, Andre Fernandez, to better understand what prompted this milestone investment and what others looking to offset their emissions can learn from it.
Q. Can you share a little background about Invert and its mission?
Invert's mission is to scale solutions to climate change. We want to do this by being at the center of carbon offset transactions. There's really three parts of the business. One is to work with corporations to reduce and offset their emissions. The second is to fund companies and project developers to get their projects off the ground such as CarbonCure. The third is to be able to influence consumer behavior — we want to work with individuals to reduce and offset their emissions in a meaningful way as well.
At the heart, we're mission-driven. We're much less about transacting on carbon credits; we are most interested in investing in real solutions to climate change.
Q. What do your carbon credit investments look like?
For us, it's really about putting together a portfolio that includes everything from highly durable carbon removal offsets to the reduction and avoidance space. We are heavily focused on the removal side of things and we believe in long-term or durable removals, but at the same time, we recognize the value that reductions and avoidance offsets and projects bring. There is a large amount of emissions that we need to first reduce and, and of course, avoid, to get to net zero.
Q. When you’re looking to add to your portfolio, what are you looking for in the projects?
At the highest level, it has to address some problem when it comes to climate change, and because we’re for-profit, there has to be an interesting return so that investors are happy with the investment decision.
There’s things like additionality on the reduction and avoidance side; permanence on the removal side. We believe highly in the social impact these projects have, so we care tremendously about being able to tell the story of the work carbon credit developers are doing with local communities.
Of course we need to think about it from a risk perspective as well. What is the level of risk that each project — whether it's an individual project or project type or offset class — presents? How do we mitigate that risk? That goes from the risk of reversals, or the risk of natural disasters and catastrophic loss. But then also risk of actually scaling the project or getting it off the ground, to geopolitical risk and, more specifically, regulatory risk.
So when we look at projects, we look at all these factors or risks, and essentially try to mitigate risks by either making sure the return profile is appropriate based on the level of risk, or we search for other projects that are less risky. That’s part of the portfolio approach.
Q. When companies are looking at buying credits and asking you to help them, what are some of the things you recommend?
The first step in any engagement is understanding their emissions profile and educating them on the actions they need to take, first and foremost, to reduce their emissions. Second is to educate them about the carbon market. Through that process we can then recommend what we believe to be the offsets that best meet their corporate strategy. Generally, their corporate strategy revolves around credibility — making sure the claims they make today can stand up to the test of time.
Q. How did Invert learn about CarbonCure and our carbon removal credits?
We're a Canadian company, and when you do a little bit of research, the first highly credible Canadian company that comes up is CarbonCure. CarbonCure has obviously been in the space for many years. When you're looking for a product that is as credible as CarbonCure is, it's easy to stumble on as another Canadian company. Then, as soon as you start to do real technical due diligence, it's clear to see that CarbonCure is a leader when it comes to durable, highly credible offsets. Over the last few years, as we've done this work, it became obvious that CarbonCure would be a company that we would like to invest in, work with and partner with.
Q. How would you describe CarbonCure’s carbon removal credits in terms of their difference from other credits available in the marketplace?
Durability and scale are two primary differentiators that set CarbonCure apart.
One of the challenges in the removal space today is companies don't really have scale. CarbonCure has a highly scalable solution. When we look at the biggest problems to solve, concrete is one of them. CarbonCure has a solution that can scale to address one of the biggest problems. When it comes to climate change, scale is something that's critical.
Going back to the durability, there's more value that can be attributed to storing greenhouse gasses for longer periods. CarbonCure has one of the most durable solutions we've seen. Even when you look at biochar, it’s hundreds of years, which is still very durable. But CarbonCure is thousands of years. So, on the scale of ton-year value, CarbonCure's is on the extreme end of value when it comes to ton-year storage.
That said, I don't want any other company in the space to feel like they're doing the wrong thing by working on some other area of climate change. We are focused on long-term removals and believe they play a huge part in getting to net zero. We also believe that reduction and avoidance projects or offsets are required, and we will invest in ones we believe are high quality for that type of offset or offset class.
Q. How would you describe CarbonCure to a client looking to purchase carbon credits?
I would describe CarbonCure as a highly credible, technical, long-term removal player in the space. I would mention the fact that you actually provide a solution that is scalable. It's across five continents with 550 installations, so there's a real presence there that people can get behind. They know that when they're buying a CarbonCure credit, that credit doesn't go away in two years or in five years; there's no risk of reversal. It’s a highly credible offset, low level of risk, and the technology solution is highly scalable.
Q. What made you decide to do such a huge, long-term investment with CarbonCure?
First, CarbonCure is at a stage where the risk of the investment is actually fairly low. You’ve got the high-credibility, highly durable offset. The risk of this offset, no longer being an offset or no longer being viable in the offset market, is very low.
Second, as we saw in the latest IPCC report, long-term removals are unavoidable at this point and essential to getting to net zero. A long-term investment in a company like CarbonCure that is focused on long-term removals just seems like the right business decision, both financially and because, at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do.
Q. What is the perception of the long-term opportunity for carbon mineralization via concrete?
The perception is that it's a huge opportunity — there's huge potential with concrete being responsible for 7% of global emissions today. Having a scalable solution to address some of that 7% is a massive opportunity. When we think about greening the concrete sector, CarbonCure has the technology to get there. Mineralization will play a huge part in getting to net zero.
Q. When it came to engaging with us and purchasing from CarbonCure, can you describe that experience?
I can honestly say the experience has been great. Culturally, we've been very aligned, so working with the CarbonCure team was exceptionally easy to do and, at times, actually quite fun. At the end of the day, we had a common goal and a common mission. And when people can align on what that ultimate objective is, great things can happen.
To learn more about Invert's experience purchasing CarbonCure's carbon credits, download their climate success story.