Climate and Clean Tech | May 17, 2021

Sylvera rakes in $5.8 million to strengthen ratings for carbon offset projects

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, May 17

Ambitious net-zero emissions targets by corporations are driving a boom in carbon offset projects, such as farming practices that sequester carbon in soil, wetlands preservation and restoration, and sustainable forestry. But the market suffers from a lack of transparency and measurement that makes it hard to determine exactly how much carbon, if any, is being avoided or captured. 

London-based Sylvera uses satellite imaging and machine learning to assess the performance and quality of offset projects and assign a score, much like Moody’s and S&P do for bonds. 

Wild West

Carbon offset markets today are a “wild west,” wrote Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas of Index Ventures, which led the seed round. Of 35 projects analyzed by Sylvera, for example, nearly half didn’t live up to promises. Three projects received ratings were equivalent to junk bond status, Sylvera’s Sam Gill told Bloomberg.

Sylvera, added Gonzalez-Cadenas, “exists to set the global standard and act as a stamp of quality for projects as an independent carbon-offset rating provider.”

Seedcamp, Speedinvest and Revent also participated in the deal. Separately, Sylvera landed a $2 million research contract from Innovate UK, a government research agency.