MaRS Purchases Carbon Credits From Five Canadian CDR Startups

MaRS Purchases Carbon Credits From Five Canadian CDR Startups - Carbon Herald

MaRS Discovery District, Canada’s largest urban innovation hub, is taking a trailblazing step in the fight against climate change. It announced the purchase of carbon removal credits from five Canadian ventures through its Mission from MaRS program.

According to CDR.fyi, the most comprehensive database for tracking CDR credits, MaRS is one of the first Canadian charitable organizations to purchase carbon removal credits.

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Carbon removal is a critical technology for achieving climate targets. It is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it away for centuries. Organizations trying to achieve their climate targets can purchase carbon removal credits as a mechanism to reduce their emissions. This allows them to compensate another party for removing carbon on their behalf. When a company buys a carbon credit, it represents one tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, typically from legacy or hard-to-abate emissions, such as industrial processes.

“Canada is already showing leadership in carbon removal, including being home to world-class innovations like the companies we are purchasing from through this initiative,” says Krista Jones, chief delivery officer at MaRS. “We just need to jumpstart the market. We hope that through this purchase, MaRS will inspire others to take action.”

As a pre-purchase, MaRS will be receiving the credits over the next three years and intends to use them toward lowering the emissions footprint of the annual MaRS Climate Impact Conference. This purchase will total 84 tonnes of carbon dioxide — equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 19 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

This purchase may seem small, but as one of the first charitable organizations in Canada to do this, it is expected to have an outsized impact by supporting the initial development and adoption of this crucial technology while also creating awareness of its need and potential. MaRS will also share learnings from the purchase process with corporate and ecosystem partners with the aim of building domestic demand for Canadian carbon removal solutions and the carbon credits that result from their deployment.

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The carbon dioxide removal purchases, amounting to $60,000, are generously supported through funding from RBC Foundation, Peter Gilgan Foundation and Consecon Foundation. “We’re delighted to support these innovative companies as they begin to scale and turn this vital sector into a real climate solution and driver of economic growth in Canada,” says Geoff Burt, CEO at the Consecon Foundation.

The carbon removal credits will be purchased from the following five Canadian ventures:

  • Halifax company, CarbonRun, restores polluted rivers while combating climate change through the safe and responsible addition of natural limestone.
  • Planetary Technologies, headquartered in Halifax, uses a process called Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 
  • Gaia Refinery, based in Halifax, captures carbon dioxide from both air using direct air capture (DAC) technology and biomass (BiCR) sources.
  • Ottawa-based TerraFixing has developed an adsorption-based DAC technology. The company’s solution is designed to work in cold remote locations where competing DAC systems find it difficult to operate. 
  • Vancouver-based cleantech venture, Arca, re-processes tailings from nickel mines to make them reactive to carbon dioxide, which radically accelerates a natural geochemical process called carbon mineralization. 

The Mission from MaRS: Carbon Management program is focused on supporting the commercialization of early-stage ventures with negative-emission solutions. Through partnerships with organizations aiming to enable the Canadian carbon dioxide removal industry, MaRS will prototype a model to build awareness, educate customers and develop the marketplace for carbon removal in Canada.

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