Terraset Wrapped: 2023 year in review
12 highlights from the last 12 months
Friends of Terraset,
‘Tis the season for end of year reflections! Heads up, this is a long one. Turns out there’s a lot worth celebrating.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the first one, because what really counts in this game is the magic word: impact. We’re here to remove carbon from the atmosphere. And we’re excited to remove even more of it in 2024, thanks to you all.
Now, without further ado, the top 12 Terraset highlights from 2023:
1 — Purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars of carbon removals and signing four new CDR partners
Terraset launched in October 2022 with two pioneering CDR partners: Charm Industrial and Heirloom. Supporting them and watching their progress has been inspiring and humbling—like seeing Heirloom open the first Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant in the US and Charm sign massive contracts with Frontier and JPMorgan. But the success of the sector (and the future of the planet) requires bringing new ideas and innovations to scale, and we want our capital to play a crucial role in the early phases of additional promising projects.
So after reviewing dozens of applications and running due diligence on the finalists, we were excited to welcome four new companies to the Terraset portfolio and purchase hundreds of thousands more dollars of removals. Huge thanks and kudos to the teams at Octavia Carbon, Andes, Capture6, and Spiritus for bringing innovation and optimism to the CDR market. Can’t wait to see what comes next!
Want to apply for our next CDR cohort? Tell us about your company and we’ll be in touch.
2 — Passing our first $1M in donations
We passed $1M in total donations in August, when Terraset was still just eight months old (we know, we know, we look older). These moments are often fleeting—especially given how fast life and carbon removal developments move these days—but we wanted to stop and appreciate every dollar from each one of our supporters. Every cent is crucial, from the six-figure checks to the six dollar donations. We believe that carbon removal is for everyone, and everyone should be able to make a difference. We know that people care about the climate crisis, and yet only a tiny percentage of philanthropic giving comes to this work. $10 here and $20 there does matter, and it does add up! Here’s to moving the decimal point further to the right.
Want to make a tax-deductible donation? You can give (anytime) on our website.
3 — Welcoming Grantham Foundation and Conscience Bay Research as strategic supporters
We’re incredibly grateful for some of the most incredible pioneers in this space for believing in Terraset’s mission. The fact that the Grantham Foundation for the Environment and Conscience Bay Research, with all of their climate experience and expertise, looked at this work this year and said “yes, we need this” is a huge endorsement that goes above and beyond their (absolutely critical) financial support. We’re lucky to have them, and wouldn’t be able to do this work without their support.
Want to help drive this work on a strategic level? Drop us a line, we’d love to talk.
4 — Hiring our first CEO
We’ve got an ambitious mission to catalyze carbon removal, and in August we welcomed an equally ambitious CEO to chase it! Adam Fraser spent the last four years as CEO of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the global nonprofit founded under the Patronage of Nelson Mandela. Laureus has raised more than $200M and funded more than 300 programs in 50 countries, and Adam was a key player in building and scaling the organization over almost a decade in senior leadership roles.
It’s only been five months since he took the helm, but Adam’s ambition, passion, and determination to make philanthropy a catalytic lever for the carbon removal market are undeniable and just awesome. (Obviously we didn’t let Adam touch this section, sorry Adam!)
5 — Signing an agreement with Stripe to purchase removals from the Frontier portfolio
Frontier has quickly earned a reputation as a trailblazer in the CDR space, and for good reason. The advanced market commitment, founded in 2022 by Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey, plans to buy $1B+ of permanent carbon removal by 2030. Its team of climate scientists and experts is best-in-class and its steady drumbeat of agreements and purchases is proof of progress in its mission to catalyze the CDR sector.
That’s a mission we’re obviously very aligned with, so we were excited to be early pilot users of Stripe’s Climate Orders (alongside Watershed and Patch), which allows us to directly access and purchase from the Frontier portfolio. This complements our own work in identifying, evaluating, and selecting projects, and ultimately helps us move more money faster to the projects that need capital to scale.
Want to purchase carbon removal from the Frontier portfolio through Terraset? You can make a donation today.
6 — Joining 1% for the Planet, the environmental nonprofit started by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard
We were invited to join 1% for the Planet, the global organization started by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard that connects environmentally-conscious businesses with vetted sustainability-oriented nonprofits. Member companies—like our friends at Bend, who nominated us (check them out!)—commit to giving one percent of their annual revenue to nonprofits like ours. As longtime 1% for the Planet fans, we’re proud to be an environmental partner.
7 — Giving a sneak peek into a Terraset board meeting on the Entrepreneurs for Impact podcast
Terraset co-founder and Board member Chris Wedding is a Renaissance man of many talents and experiences. He’s a serial founder and university professor with $1B in investment experience, and the host of the Entrepreneurs for Impact podcast, where he leads fascinating conversations with CEOs, founders, and investors tackling climate change.
This episode is a little different than the others: Chris played both host and guest in a conservation with Terraset CEO Adam Fraser and co-founder and Board member Alex Roetter! We recorded it just a few weeks after Adam joined the team in August, and covered everything from why Adam took the leap from CEO role at an international NGO to an ambitious new CDR nonprofit, the types of donors that support our work, and how we prioritize project selection. It's the best place to hear straight from the Terraset team without actually joining one of our weekly board meetings.
8 — Going international to Kenya, Canada, and Europe
The climate crisis is a global problem, so our approach is intentionally international. This year, we started purchasing from the great people at Octavia Carbon in Kenya, pioneers in driving CDR leadership in the Global South; we built a partnership with CAF Canada, which allows us to receive tax deductible donations north of the border (thank you to our first Canadian donors and to the great people doing incredible CDR work up there!); and we added our support to the conversation about carbon removal policy in the European Union.
9 — Speaking about the catalytic role of philanthropy in CDR at the Global Direct Air Capture Summit
We’re proud members of the Direct Air Capture Coalition—an incredible non-profit led by our friend Jason Hochman that exists to advance the development of direct air capture (DAC) technology. They hosted a jam-packed Global DAC Summit this fall and we had fun taking the stage to talk about the crucial and catalytic potential of philanthropy in scaling CDR.
Want a snappy, 4-minute Terraset pitch? Watch Adam deliver the story at the Global DAC Summit.
10 — Bloomberg and Tim Ferriss talking about individuals supporting carbon removal through Terraset
‘Carbon Removal Isn't Just for Corporations. Individuals Are Paying For It, Too’ boomed a Bloomberg headline in October. We loved it—not just because our founder Alex Roetter got to weigh in with Terraset’s perspective, and not even because it featured so many of our wonderful partners and peers in carbon removal, but because we couldn’t agree more strongly with the sentiment. We won’t solve the climate crisis purely by waiting on businesses, or governments, despite how important their role is. We all have the chance to make a difference, and we believe that Terraset is part of democratizing climate action around removals.
In the same sentiment, we were pleased as punch when Tim Ferriss, one of our earliest and longest-standing donors, shouted out our work on his podcast and 5-Bullet Friday email in December. Telling the story to more people matters.
Where should we tell our story in 2024? Send us your favorite podcasts, journalists, newsletter, blogs, and events!
11 — Getting nominated for the Earthshot Prize by the Direct Air Capture Coalition
Back in 2020, Prince William and the Royal Foundation launched the Earthshot Prize—a global award that discovers, spotlights and helps grow innovative solutions to repair and regenerate our planet, with the goal of funding 50 solutions to some of the planet’s most urgent environmental problems by 2030. Big thanks to the great people at the DAC Coalition for nominating us for the 2024 Award! It’s an honor to be in the company of the other nominees, who are all committed to this same fight for the planet. Watch this space…
12 — Building our Carbon Council for 2024
Including this one is a bit cheeky of us, because the real announcement is coming after the New Year, but if you’ve read this far, you deserve a sneak peek. We’re putting together a Carbon Council to advise on both our high-level strategy and our individual purchases of carbon, and while we’re finalizing a few spots, we’ve already got a handful of amazing climate experts—people we’ve long looked up to!—committed.
Want to nominate a CDR expert for the Carbon Council? Email us before January 1st.
It’s been an exciting year for carbon removal. But we’re only scratching the surface of what needs to happen, and the challenge is only getting bigger. Let’s make 2024 another giant step forward.
Happy holidays! See you on the flip side.
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