Tallinn-based Arbonics has just raised €1.8 million to launch its platform that aims to unlock carbon income as the fight against climate change intensifies. The climate tech startup has created a data and science-driven tool that harnesses the power of nature in a shake-up of the growing VCM.
Tacking the climate crisis is a number one priority for all of us at the moment. It’s the challenge of a generation that requires collective action, fresh thinking, consistent analysis, and investment. The scale of the crisis cannot be underestimated, but there’s still hope. Across Europe, in the past year, we’ve seen a lot of investment and innovation in the climate tech and green tech space. Forward-thinking ideas, big-money commitments and a clear desire from the startup and innovation ecosystem to proactively address the crisis.
The Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) and the use of nature-based solutions are areas that are showing a lot of promise, for example, which have a strong potential to make a real impact in the fight against climate change – benefitting the planet, people and profits all at the same time. It’s reported that nature-based solutions (including forestry) can help address up to 37% of climate change mitigation.
Now, shaking up the VCM with a nature-based approach, Estonia’s Arbonics is ready to launch after closing pre-seed funding.
Founded by Kristjan Lepik and Lisett Luik in early 2022, Arbonics has raised €1.8 million in its pre-seed round. Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of Wise) and Plural led the round spearheading the development of the platform.
Arbonics will now continue the development of its product portfolio – comprising a unique data and science-based tool for calculating carbon revenue that covers the entire lifecycle of a forest.
The Arbonics team combines forestry, carbon and business experience from Apple, American Express, Starship Technologies, and World Wildlife Fund with support from scientists from the University of Tartu.
Taavet Hinrikus, founding investor, said: “I am a big fan of technologies that can speed up carbon capture – direct air capture is one example. But those technologies are only a small part of the solution; we need to empower nature and combine it with data-based technologies to help nature-based solutions scale.”
Unlocking the power of carbon income
Arbonics has been launched with a vision of enabling nature-based solutions to fight climate change, focusing particularly on forestry. By transforming how landowners analyze and calculate their carbon sequestration potential – the process of capturing, securing and long-term storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – Arbonics will unlock new income sources for forests and landowners, whilst improving the voluntary carbon market.
So, what exactly does this entail?
Carbon credits – a fairly new term but becoming very familiar in 2022 – have become a way for carbon emitters to offset emissions by investing in projects that remove or reduce emissions from the atmosphere. It’s one of the key ways that businesses and organizations are contributing to the journey towards net zero. It’s created the VCM, where companies can buy/sell carbon credits.
Europe has about 160 million hectares of forested land – and this holds immense power for our climate and environment. It’s reported that Europe’s forests have the potential to capture and store up to two gigatonnes of additional carbon annually – equivalent to 73% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions in 2021.
Demand is set to grow by a factor of 15 by 2030 as more businesses and consumers want to be able to invest in carbon reduction schemes to offset their emissions.
The Tallinn-based startup wants to make it easier for landowners to analyze and calculate the ability of their land to absorb carbon. In less than one minute, the platform can analyze the carbon opportunity of a given area of land or forest, using a dozen data sources combined with the team’s forest expertise. It can carry out analysis of unused land and also provides a custom solution for existing forests which generates carbon credits through adapted forest management practices.
This enables landowners to generate additional income whilst also providing proven, high-quality nature-based carbon credits that are certified by leading verification providers like Verra for the voluntary carbon market. Through this, Arbonics is at the forefront of a movement towards a more localized impact by providing opportunities for European credit buyers to invest in European forests through carbon markets.
Lisett Luik, co-founder of Arbonics, said: “Landowners can be a powerful ally in combating climate change – by storing millions of tons of carbon dioxide in forests and protecting biodiversity. To make this happen, they need someone in their corner to provide critical data and analysis. With the help of our flexible data models and deep understanding of voluntary carbon markets, Arbonics can help landowners realize their land’s positive climate impact.”
It’s certainly an innovative approach to tackling the climate crisis – harnessing the natural resources we have to empower local actors to make a difference. In this way it also opens up the VCM, creating a forest economy that is more accessible – helping people, the planet and profits. It’ll be interesting to see where this startup goes -we are certainly watching!
Kristjan Lepik, co-founder of Arbonics, said: “Timber can still be used as a revenue source, but we are adding two new revenue streams in carbon and biodiversity. Our aim is to create a new forest economy and change how forests are valued. We’re excited to work with our investors to grow and develop Arbonics to help combat climate change.”