“Carbon Removal Is At An Inflection Point And It’s Now Of Critical Importance For There To Be A Dedicated Gathering For Industry Leaders” – Oliver Katz, Carbon Unbound CEO

"Carbon Removal Is At An Inflection Point And It's Now Of Critical Importance For There To Be A Dedicated Gathering For Industry Leaders" - Oliver Katz, Carbon Unbound CEO - Carbon Herald
Source: Carbon Unbound

Carbon Unbound is shaping up to become the most prominent event on the carbon removal calendar. With the industry growing at a rapid pace and starting to deliver on its potential, the need for connecting and addressing challenges has never been greater.

After the success of its New York event back in May, the team is now focused on the first edition of Carbon Unbound Europe, which will take place in London on October 3 and 4, 2023. We caught up with founder and CEO Oliver Katz to talk about the idea behind the summit, its next lineup and the most important themes the carbon removal community will be discussing.

What is Carbon Unbound Europe and what are the industries and technologies it aims to connect?

Carbon removal is at an inflection point and it’s now of critical importance for there to be a dedicated gathering for industry leaders to share ideas, collaborate and attract outside interest if we are to remove carbon by the gigaton. 

That’s why Carbon Unbound was created. The two day, in-person summit brings together global pioneers of carbon removal, storage and utilisation solutions to accelerate progress. Over 300 start-up founders, corporate leaders, policy purveyors and climate investors will be in attendance, promoting a holistic conversation around gigaton-scale removal. 

How did you come up with the idea for the summit?

After spending 4 years hosting senior leadership summits in the food-tech sector, I took some time out to travel. During this trip, and whilst seeing the intensifying effects of climate change, I started to become obsessed with carbon removal. I saw huge potential and an ever-increasing need for it to succeed. But there were really no focused events on the topic, only broad climate summits that MAYBE had a session around DAC or carbon removal more broadly.

I had experienced, first hand, the transformative power of leadership events on helping to scale novel technologies. After speaking with a number of pioneers in the space, it gave me the confidence to launch Carbon Unbound. Since February Elliot, Joana and Kat have joined the mission and, as a team, I think we’ve built something very special. I’m excited for us to continue developing the series whilst highlighting all the incredible CDR solutions out there. 

What are the broader themes that the agenda will focus on? Why are they important at this point in the industry’s development?

Our process is heavily focused around research with experts, working with key industry leaders to understand the main challenges for each summit. We want the series to be led by the industry, for the industry. This means every aspect of the summit strongly reflects the state of CDR, creating a forum for our audience to see (and work on) opportunities and challenges in real time.

Our European summit will bring both macro and micro trends to the fore. On the macroside, our opening panel discussion is focusing around how carbon removals fit into the wider climate agenda. There currently seems to be this divide around removals and reductions, and it’s very clear that both are needed to have any chance of slowing and, ultimately, preventing.

Relevant: Carbon Unbound Europe Tickets Now On Sale

Other macro sessions will focus on european CDR policy, MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification), investment landscape, social equity as well as carbon markets. 

We’re also diving into solutions-specific opportunities, looking at everything from enhanced rock weathering, BiCRs, Ocean-Based CDR + more. Our tech spotlights are also giving early-stage companies a space to showcase their unique solutions in specific areas; Frontiers of CDR (truly novel ideas), Carbon Utilization and Direct Air Capture. 

The speaker line-up has a broad variety of organizations – from startups and scaleups through carbon accounting and ratings companies to investors and industry organizations. Do you think this is a sign of how the industry is maturing?

Definitely! Below is a graphic of all the companies taking part in our Europe summit, showing the breath of the CDR ecosystem. As we highlighted a few weeks ago, there are three particularly impressive stats confirming this;

  • CDR deliveries have increased from 136 tons to over 74,000 in 4 years
  • CDR market has grown into a $400m market in just three years
  • CDR sales have risen 300% since April 2023 (data from June)
Source: Carbon Unbound

We’re not only seeing record-breaking funding rounds (like Isometric’s $25m seed raise recently), but major banks, private equity and large corporations becoming very interested in removals. When traditional, risk-averse entities become invested, it’s another very strong signal of a maturing sector. 

What do you think were the main benefits for participants at the New York edition earlier this year?

#1, Knowledge: the sharing of business-critical insights, supplied by trusted sources and leading voices in the industry, allowed anyone in attendance to make more informed decisions about their strategy. 

#2, Time: We know that, for anyone who is building a business, working on a novel idea or helping support solutions of the future, time is the most precious resource. By giving attendees unrivalled access to the CDR market and a curated audience of top executives, it allowed them to schedule the meetings they needed for the year, across two days. As over 70% of attendees are director-level or above, almost everyone in the room made decisions onsite, without the need for lengthy back and forths or approval processes. 

#3, Energy: In our eyes, there is nothing that comes close to in-person events. Stepping away from your desk, being in a room full of people passionate about this industry and our planet, gives an energy that few (if any) other experiences can compete with. Everyone came away inspired, more motivated and with new ideas. That’s what Carbon Unbound is all about!

Read more: “Direct Air Capture Is Going To Be As Big As The Energy Industry” – Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture Inc.

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