ClimateTrade: 4 years pioneering tech-enabled investment in decarbonisation

This week, ClimateTrade turns four years old. It’s hard to believe that it was only four short years ago that we attended our first Sustainable Innovation Forum at COP23 in Bonn, with a nascent business and a head full of dreams. 

Blockchain for the decentralisation of climate finance

We started out in 2017 by presenting ClimateCoin, the world’s first carbon crypto asset. Our idea was to leverage blockchain technology to make the accounting of reductions and offsetting more transparent, therefore powering its expansion on the global scene. It was exactly what the market needed: in 2018, the United Nations recognised ClimateCoin as “a basis for creating a global market for carbon emissions, allowing peer-to-peer exchange of carbon credits and a direct connection with the Internet of Things”.

In 2018, we rebranded as ClimateTrade and launched the world’s first blockchain-enabled carbon offset marketplace, with a clear purpose: decentralising climate financing to ensure no organisation or country, no matter how small, is left behind in the transition. Now that we had proven the value of representing real-life carbon credits as digital assets for transparency and traceability, we were able to remove intermediaries between companies looking to offset emissions and the nature-based projects that needed financial backing. 

A key moment in the development of this project was the partnership signed at the beginning of 2020 between ClimateTrade and Acciona, a market-leading renewable energy developer with hundreds of sustainable projects around the world. Through the agreement, Acciona began offering the carbon offsets generated through its mitigation projects to companies looking to compensate their carbon footprint on the ClimateTrade platform. Today, we are proud to support pioneers like Santander Bank, Suez, Cabify, BME-SIX, Norauto, IAG, Danone, Lluch Essence, Beauty Cluster, Sacyr, ITeC and others in mitigating their impact and achieving their decarbonisation targets.

Towards gigaton decarbonisation

And we didn’t stop there: in 2019, we launched the ClimateTrade API, the first Application Programming Interface for carbon compensation, allowing the integration of the marketplace’s offering into any commercial transaction. Through the API, industry leaders such as Telefónica (telecoms), Iberia (airlines) or Melia Hotels (hospitality) were able to give customers the option to compensate the carbon footprint of any of their products and services at check-out, receiving in return an official certificate with information about the corresponding mitigation project.

Today, the ClimateTrade marketplace has enabled the offsetting of more than 1.5 million tons of carbon. More than 500 companies are registered on the platform, purchasing carbon credits from projects in 20 countries. And through our API, we have reached over 2000 end users. 

Our work involves helping businesses compensate their environmental impact. But if we are to be a credible partner in this journey, we also need to walk the walk ourselves. Blockchain provides the transparency and traceability the market needs, but it is a notoriously energy-intensive process that comes with a significant carbon footprint. So earlier this year, we migrated all our blockchain activities to Algorand, the first carbon-neutral blockchain infrastructure, compensating all its emissions via ClimateTrade. 

Commitment to international cooperation

We didn’t get here overnight. ClimateTrade is the result of all the hard work and dedication of a multidisciplinary team that has grown from just three to more than 20 people in the last few years. We won’t stop until ClimateTrade is the number one climate marketplace in the world. And to achieve that, we strive to continuously integrate new and innovative solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

ClimateTrade is also fully aligned with international agreements and negotiations to combat the climate crisis.This month, our CEO Francisco Benedito was at COP26 in Glasgow, representing ClimateTrade at various meetings and sessions. He made the case for investing in nature-based solutions at the Sustainable Innovation Forum panel ‘How do we make nature bankable’. 

There, he announced the addition of Spain and Colombia onto the ClimateTrade marketplace. This is the first time a carbon trading platform has connected directly with national registries, allowing for real-time offset cancellations and transfers. It marks yet another step in the creation of a reliable and transparent international carbon market that prevents double-accounting, one of the hardest targets in the Paris Agreement and the topic of the much disputed Article 6.

With this move, as with everything else we do, ClimateTrade also facilitates the flow of financing from wealthy countries to those most vulnerable to climate change: this has been one of the main topics of discussion at COP26, where almost 500 financial services companies committed to align US$130 trillion with climate goals. Our marketplace makes it easier for companies in the developed world to make direct investments in certified projects abroad, and with a traceable impact.

Continuous innovation

A lot has changed in the past four years, but this is just the beginning. ClimateTrade has a lot of innovation still in store: before the end of the year, we will be announcing new products, new capabilities and new partnerships, all making it easier than ever for businesses to compensate their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals. Stay tuned!

Since Day 1, we have only had one motto: The Time is Now. Join us in the movement:

  • Register for free on the ClimateTrade marketplace to browse dozens of environmental projects and begin compensating your carbon footprint now.
  • Contact us if you would like more information before you begin your journey to carbon neutrality.
  • Join us on social media to keep up with all our updates: LinkedinTwitterInstagram.
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