These are the projects supported within the Climate Transformation Fund so far.
Klarna has contributed over 1 million USD to projects selected for the fund (previously called portfolio) in collaboration with Milkywire and WRLD foundation. In addition, the WRLD foundation (previously Milkywire foundation) has also received and allocated donations from Klarnas customers to projects in the fund.
Milkywire now opens up for contributions from other companies to the fund. Future contributions could go to the projects listed below, but it is not guaranteed and in part depends on how funding needs and availability develops. Milkywire will also continue to search for high-impact opportunities within the different areas to evolve the initiative. By mid 2022 a batch of new projects will be supported in addition to those already listed.
Read about the selection process and framework here.
Heirloom is a new company developing promising, novel technology to extract CO₂ directly from the air using common minerals. The process starts by maximizing the mineral surface area exposed to the ambient air. Then, after absorbing CO₂ like a sponge, the minerals are heated, releasing the CO₂ from the mineral to be captured and stored underground permanently.
Their goal is to be able to do this at the cost of just 50 USD per ton. Being an early customer is helping them capture their first tonnes and get started on their journey to remove and store CO₂ cheaply and at scale.
Motivation for including Heirloom in the portfolio:
Heirloom technology is safe, peer-reviewed (1), scalable and has the potential to become a cheap way of permanently storing CO2. At the same time, the costs of removing their first tonnes are very high, and they need early adopters that can tolerate a high-price tag in exchange for the potential for a high catalytic effect.
(1) Ambient weathering of magnesium oxide for CO2 removal from air, McQueen et al, Nature Communications (2020) Link
Climeworks empowers people to reverse climate change by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the air with its direct air capture technology. The air-captured CO2 is returned to earth, stored safely and permanently away for millions of years.
Motivation for choosing Climeworks:
We chose Climeworks due to the high quality of the solution. Climeworks uses renewable energy in Iceland to store CO2 for thousands of years without any direct side effects. Their solution has been analysed in a peer-reviewed LCA (2). In order to scale direct air capture to the climate-relevant level required, a market demand for carbon dioxide removal must be created to show there is a growing interest in such solutions. Our support contributes to building a critical mass of customers required for this scale-up. Climeworks is also recommended by Giving Green.
(2) Deutz, S., Bartow, A. Life-cycle assessment of an industrial direct air capture process based on temperature–vacuum swing adsorption. Nat Energy 6, 203–213 (2021). Link
When you grow rice, you get leftover husks that can either be burnt or decomposed, releasing the carbon stored in the plant. Husk in Cambodia creates biochar from the rice husks instead, stabilizing the carbon. Together with nutrients, this biochar is used as fertilizer by organic farmers, restoring soil health and increasing yields. Our support is helping Husk build their second biochar facility.
Motivation for choosing HUSK:
HUSK uses a feedstock (rice husk) that otherwise would have decomposed rapidly when used as chicken bedding and transforms it into biochar to create a fertilizer sold to organic farmers, which increases yields significantly. Their model contributes both to increasing farmers' incomes, restoring soils, and removing carbon. There is considerable potential for them to scale up, but they need more customers for their carbon removal certificates for that to happen.
MASH Makes creates biochar from leftover biomass. The company is active in India, targeting regions with arid and semi-arid soils that benefit significantly from the added biochar. This process creates carbon storage and simultaneously contributes to reduced air pollution, using agricultural residues that would otherwise have been burnt. Our support is helping them build their second biochar facility and enabling MASH to remediate the lands involved for farming, thereby enhancing the livelihoods of the local community. All carbon removal credits created in this project were issued through a fully-digitized marketplace and platform, Carbonfuture, whose science-based approach ensures the carbon sink certificates generated remain traceable, transparent, and thus trustworthy.
Motivation for choosing MASH:
This project has a large number of important co-benefits. Reduced air pollution, remediated soils, increased crop yields, carbon removal, and lesser dependence on traditional NPK fertilizers and irrigation. The project targets drought-prone regions and aims to address a core issue of crop residue burning in India by providing a carbon-negative and easily scalable solution. Scalability is driven by MASH's decentralized, modular and cost-effective approach to biochar production and application.
Motivation for using biochar as a carbon removal solution:
Biochar is a carbon removal solution with the potential for significant co-benefits. If applied to degraded soils, it can increase yields significantly. It can also lower emissions of other greenhouse gases from soils (3, 4). When using feedstocks that would have decomposed quickly if not for the biochar production, the positive effect on climate is fast.
Biochar is not as permanent a storage solution as, for example, direct air capture. Still, the available science points to a potential storage time of well over 100 years for quality biochar made with high temperatures (5, 6, 7). However, there are some uncertainties around how different feedstocks, soil types, and soil temperatures affect the permanence (8). The darkening of the soil when applying biochar could decrease its climate benefit somewhat, but soils covered with crops throughout the year would minimize this (9).
The biochar carbon removal certificates bought through Husk and Carbon futures/ Mash are EBC-sink certified, which stipulates the quality of the biochar, how it must be produced, and the final use (10). The EBC also does what they call a conservative calculation of the permanence of the biochar, assuming 74% of the carbon remains after 100 years, and only allows project developers to credit that part when issuing certificates.
The ClimAccelerator Program. CDR accelerator
While identifying projects, it has become evident that there is a need for many more companies to develop carbon removal solutions. Therefore, two research institutions, TU Delft and ETH Zurich, have partnered with Climate KIC and other partners to create an accelerator for new European carbon removal startups to develop new solutions. Our support contributes to getting the initiative off the ground.
Motivation for choosing The ClimAccelerator Program:
By supporting an accelerator program specifically devoted to carbon removal companies, we help get more shots on target. In addition, our funding of the program is matched by Climate KIC, helping to get more money for new carbon removal solutions.
This is a project that has started and is now fully funded for this year.
(3) Biochar in agriculture – A systematic review of 26 global meta-analyses (Schmidt et al 2021) Link
(4) How biochar works, and when it doesn't: A review of mechanisms controlling soil and plant responses to biochar. (Joseph, Cowie et al 2021) Link
(5) Feedstock choice, pyrolysis temperature, and type influence biochar characteristics: a comprehensive meta-data analysis review, Ippolito et al (2020) Link (Also see reference 3 and 4)
(6) Stability of biochar in soil.” In Biochar for environmental management, Lehmann, Johannes, Claudia Czimczik, David Laird, and Saran Sohi, pp. 215-238. Routledge, 2012.
(7) IPCC: Appendix 4 Method for Estimating the Change in Mineral Soil Organic Carbon Stocks from Biochar Amendments: Basis for Future Methodological Development (2019) Link
(8) Pyrogenic carbon capture and storage, Schmidt et al (2018) Link
(9) Albedo Impact on the Suitability of Biochar Systems To Mitigate Global Warming (Meyer 2012) Link
WithOneSeed is using a unique approach for forestation, paying small-scale farmers in Timor Leste to grow and maintain new trees on their land. The farmers get paid every year to take care of the trees, with each tree being tracked via an RFID chip and visited by project staff each year. This Gold Standard certified project has led to significantly higher incomes for the local population and captures CO₂ sustainably.
Motivation for choosing WithOneSeed:
Reforestation can be an effective carbon removal solution if done right. The fact that WithOneSeed continuously pays farmers to take care of the planted trees is an integral part of why we chose them. So often, the people who plant trees are left with the cost of taking care of them, harming the individual farmer and leading to more trees dying. WithOneSeed works closely with communities, increasing their incomes and achieving impressive results regarding tree survival. They also have a follow-up model where each tree has an RFID chip, and each farmer is visited by project staff every year.
Many small farmers in warm countries would like to have more trees on their farms. These trees contribute to more water remaining in the ground and create shade for plants to grow. Justdiggit and their partner LEAD Foundation are teaching farmers to use simple and natural methods to grow the tree stumps they already have into large mature ones.
Motivation for choosing Just diggit:
Just diggit is using a method called farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR). Many of the pitfalls of reforestation are avoided by enhancing the growth of the small trees farmers already have on their land. There is strong evidence for FMNRs positive effects on incomes, biodiversity, and carbon capture (11, 12). Just diggit also has an impressive track record and is working long term with the farmers, following up the project for 20 years. This project is also part of the World Resource Institutes' (WRI) Terramatch service, which includes vetting by the WRI
(11) Dryland tree management for improved household livelihoods: Farmer managed natural regeneration in Niger, Haglund et al (2011) Link
(12) Effects of farmer-managed natural regeneration on livelihoods in semi-arid West Africa, Binam et al, Environ Econ Policy Stud, (2015) Link
It's a huge problem that rainforests are being cut down to make room for palm oil plantations or livestock. Stopping deforestation is one of the key aspects of solving the climate crisis. Warsi in Indonesia helps local communities get forestry licenses for their land, so they have the legal rights to it and can prevent it from being cut down. Our support enables them to create new projects and protect approximately 40,500 hectares through community land tenure in 4 villages. In total, the estimated carbon dioxide prevented will be 700,000 tonnes.
Motivation for choosing Warsi:
Giving local communities the right to their land is a method that has proven successful in reducing deforestation (13, 14, 15, 16). Warsi has a long track record of successfully helping local communities access forestry licenses to protect their lands. They are also a long-standing partner of the Rainforest Foundation Norway, one of the world's leading NGOs engaged in rainforest protection. By funding this project, we help them expand Warsis work into new areas in Indonesia.
(13) Does secure land tenure save forests? A meta-analysis of the relationship between land tenure and tropical deforestation. Link
(14) Community managed forests and forest protected areas: An assessment of their conservation effectiveness across the tropics. Link
(15) Geospatial Data Brings Indigenous and Community Lands to the Forefront of Forest Management. Link
(16) Collective property rights reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Link
Biomass gasifier Atmosfair and Kisiwa Farming Limited
Fifty thousand people live on Mafia Island in Tanzania. However, as it is not connected to the national electricity grid on the mainland, it is almost entirely dependent on diesel generators. A new renewable power source is being developed by a local company, utilizing residues from old, unproductive coconut trees and native coppice crops, gasified to generate electricity and heat. Our support enables this project to scale up and move from a pilot facility to a bigger one. Renewable energy reduces the amount of diesel burnt, leading to lower emissions.
Motivation for choosing Biomass gasifier Atmosfair and Kisiwa Farming Limited:
This type of "high-hanging fruit" project needs carbon finance to happen since its high risks render it uninteresting for investors. Providing baseload power 24/7 helps create a fossil-free electricity system that can also include solar and wind power. This model, when proven, can also spread to other places.
Human rights watch - Phasing out coal
Reining in coal power is essential to solve the climate crisis, but unfortunately, it is still a large part of the world's energy mix. The organization, Human Rights Watch, focuses on the health damages coal power plants have on the local population to help deter government support for them. By pressuring decision-makers and mobilizing public support, Human Rights Watch hopes to accelerate the transition away from coal.
Motivation for choosing Human rights watch:
If successful in shutting down or stopping just one of the smallest coal power plants, the cost-effectiveness of supporting this project would be several orders of magnitude higher than buying regular carbon credits. Results are not guaranteed, of course, but Human rights watch is a highly capable organization with many successes in its environmental work, such as advancing efforts to stop deforestation. Moreover, focusing on the adverse health effects of coal is also a promising new approach that we think has high potential.
Clean Air Task Force - The Africa Energy and Climate Innovation Program
Africa is the continent with the greatest need for more energy. The energy needs to be clean, affordable, and reliable. The organization Clean Air Task Force is building on their previous highly successful decarbonization work in the US and has created an Africa energy and climate innovation program to lay the foundation for a clean energy future. They are focused on local needs, enabling growth and economic development, not just microgrids for household consumption. We believe their work has a high chance of influencing clean energy development in Africa and our support helps them scale up the project.
Motivation for choosing Clean Air Task Force:
Clean Air Task Force has a long history of policy work being successful in bringing down emissions. The Founders pledge and Giving Green, organizations that advise donors on philanthropic giving, have put the Clean air task force as their top recommendation.
They also need more funds to expand their work into new areas such as this project. Clean energy access in Africa is an under-prioritized area, and due to CATF's excellent track record, there is reason to believe this work too could become catalytic.