San Francisco-based Pachama has raised $55 million in Series B funding for its tech-focused carbon credit platform the company says can bring more integrity and accountability to forest carbon markets and reporting.
Future Positive led the round with participation from existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures and LowerCarbon Capital. New investors include celebrity couple Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi, as well as Plus Capital, ReGen Ventures, Harry Stebbings’ 20VC, and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.
Pachama will use the funding to continue building its “scientifically rigorous, technology-based approach” to forest carbon credit verification. Funding will also go to talent acquisition, outreach efforts to corporate and forest developers, and research and development.
Forests play a critical role in the fight against climate change thanks to their ability to draw down atmospheric carbon. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that halting deforestation and promoting forest restoration could contribute to over one-third of all climate change mitigation needed by 2030.
Pachama says that measuring this forest carbon capture is underdeveloped because of a lack of reliable data, which results in some pretty foggy reporting around forest projects’ ability to reduce net emissions. As a recent article by the Yale School of Environment pointed out, this lack of transparency makes it difficult to see whether the many forest conservation projects underway today are having a meaningful impact on emissions; more often than not, these projects instead lead to “well-intentioned greenwashing.”
To address this and also to modernize the forest carbon market, Pachama has developed monitoring software that can independently verify the impact of reforestation projects. The technology leverages satellite imagery, LiDAR imaging, and remote sensing to measure the carbon stored in forests over time as well as detect changes to the forest in the event of, say, illegal logging. Pachama shares insights from this monitoring with both offsetters and project developers.
“Scaling carbon markets will play a critical role in our collective ability to decarbonize,” Fred Blackford, founder and managing partner of Future Positive, said in a statement. “Pachama is building the infrastructure to support functioning carbon markets by providing vital transparency and accountability around how carbon credits are issued and transacted.”
Pachema says it has worked with 46 different forest project developers across 14 countries over the last three years and counts more than 800 “sustainably-minded” organizations among its customers, including Salesforce, Microsoft, Netflix, Nespresso, and Softbank.