Sustaintech Xcelerator launched by DBS, Google, NUS, Temasek, Verra and the World Bank to boost confidence in nature-based carbon credits
- Sustaintech Xcelerator will support climate innovators who are developing solutions that increase confidence in nature-based solutions
DBS, Google, the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Temasek and the World Bank launched the Sustaintech Xcelerator, a six-month global virtual accelerator focused on increasing confidence in carbon credits from nature-based solutions (NbS). NbS are actions that harness the power of nature to tackle social and environmental challenges; examples include protecting and restoring ecosystems like forests, mangroves and coral reefs.
Sustaintech Xcelerator will support climate innovators who are developing solutions that build more confidence in NbS – through improved monitoring and verification of their environmental, social, and economic impact.
echnologies and solutions that are considered under the accelerator include remote sensing technologies, artificial intelligence and climate science models that improve estimation of carbon sequestration and biodiversity, and IoT technologies for monitoring NbS projects.
“The NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions is a focal point for world-class research and thought-leadership on nature-based solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region. We look forward to collaborating with leading innovators through the Sustaintech Xcelerator, furthering the development of technologies that protect and preserve our natural ecosystems.” – Professor Koh Lian Pin, Director, Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore
Bidyut Dumra, Executive Director and Head of Innovation at DBS said, “We are delighted to partner with world-leading organisations like Google, NUS, Temasek, Verra and the World Bank to empower climate innovators in developing solutions that build trust for nature-based solutions. Nature-based solutions have immense potential to achieve the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement, and as a member of the United Nations Global Compact, DBS is committed to driving progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and creating positive social and environmental impact through the Sustaintech Xcelerator.”
The critical role of Nature-based Solutions
NbS play a vital role in absorbing CO2 emissions and their development is critical for achieving the targets set out in the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. As only a certain amount of global emissions can be reduced by improved technology, the remainder will need to be addressed by carbon offsets.
NbS, including forestry, marine and agricultural projects, have the potential to supply a majority of these credits. NbS projects also often embody significant co-benefits, for example, by supporting biodiversity and providing income for rural communities.
“We see a substantive business opportunity for nature-based solutions as a legitimate tool for companies looking to reduce their carbon. Establishing greater trust in NbS and their impacts is key to further catalysing this market. Through our partnership in the Sustaintech Xcelerator, we are excited to help foster impactful solutions in this area and support Singapore’s development as a regional hub for climate innovation.” – Frederick Teo, Sustainability Director, Temasek
Although demand for carbon offsets is growing, a number of challenges surrounding NbS are limiting their further development. For instance, the monitoring and verification process for NbS projects relies on infrequent manual auditing. There is also limited transparency for carbon credit buyers around the level of impact and any potential risks associated with different NbS projects.
Boosting confidence in NbS through the Sustaintech Xcelerator
The Sustaintech Xcelerator will invite start-ups, established companies and academics commercialising new opportunities to help to transform NbS verification into a more continuous and efficient process – transparently monitoring the performance and outcomes of an NbS initiative and enabling ongoing issuance of carbon credits. Importantly, these technologies should complement necessary groundwork required for verifying the more intricate social impact of a project.
“At the World Bank, we see a strong potential for technology to reduce cost and increase the accuracy of monitoring and verifying emissions reductions. Through our partnership in the Sustaintech Xcelerator, we look forward to supporting innovators who are developing and bringing these technologies to market.” – Marc Sadler, Manager, Climate Funds, World Bank
Selected applicants of the Sustaintech Xcelerator will present tangible solutions that address any of the NbS opportunity areas below:
- Reducing the cost and/or improving the efficiency of monitoring and verification of emission reductions and sequestration
- Valuing social- and biodiversity co-benefits
- Providing ongoing monitoring of NbS assets
- Improving financial transparency of NbS projects and programmes
Benefits for Sustaintech Xcelerator applicants
To facilitate their innovation journey, the Sustaintech Xcelerator will provide mentorship to the selected applicants through its world-leading partners and their networks. For example, Verra, who manages the world’s largest voluntary greenhouse gas program, the Verified Carbon Standard, will be joining as a knowledge partner to guide teams on the important intricacies of the verification process.
In addition, each selected applicant will receive a SGD50,000 grant; have access to leading research expertise; as well as given in-kind resources including office space in Singapore (for local teams). All teams will have the opportunity to engage in frequent pitching and speaking opportunities, including a public showcase with investors and media during Ecosperity Week in June 2021. The Sustaintech Xcelerator will also support applicants to remain engaged in the Singapore ecosystem following the program – through academic partnerships and commercial opportunities.