Nature-Based Climate Solutions
Under Nature-Based Climate Solutions, Greensphere has two strategies. The first is a venture and growth investment fund and incubator - GAIA Sciences Innovation (GSI) - investing in tech and supply-chain companies in biodiversity, botanical and fungal science, forestry, agriculture, food and habitat restoration in partnership with some of the leading research institutes in the world. The second strategy works with major institutional investors on large-scale sustainable agriculture, forestry, habitat restoration and sustainable land scheme projects.
Gaia Sciences Innovation
GSI brings together the world’s largest group of leading science institutes with a £150 million impact fund to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss
GSI brings together leading British partner institutions home to more than 4,000 scientists, including RBG Kew, ZSL, University of York, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and via the Anglia Innovation Partnership, the Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Quadram Institute, The Sainsbury Laboratory and the University of East Anglia.
GSI invests in and scales world-leading NatureTech and natural capital supply-chain businesses (start-up, spin-out and scale-up) that tackle climate change and biodiversity loss linked to both these institutions and from across the wider sector.
GSI companies benefit from ongoing access to cutting-edge science in plants, fungi, animals, ecology, hydrology, soil and microbiomes, and bioengineering. GSI institutes benefit through profit share, license fees and a virtuous loop of data which together directly funds and fuels future research.
The fund will focus primarily on three areas:
- Greening real assets: making commercial agriculture and forestry more sustainable and enhancing or restoring land and water-based ecosystems, with applications such as natural pest control, green fertiliser and products that enhance soil health, afforestation and habitat restoration advisory, enhanced carbon dioxide sequestration, and improved watershed management.
- Green fintech: providing technology and expertise that can underpin and unlock green financial markets. This includes technologies to measure, monitor and verify biodiversity and climate impacts, including technologies for environmental DNA collection and sequencing, sensors for tracking water and soil health, computational genetics, and AI for assessing climate and nature-related risks.
- Human supply-chain resilience: investing in solutions that improve the resilience of human supply chains (from food to medicine) and ease pressures on ecosystems or adapt to changing conditions, for example through climate-resilient food crops, developing alternatives that displace drivers of deforestation such as meat, dairy and palm oil, and using plants for drug discovery or producing bioactive compounds.
In December 2022, international governments agreed the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework with a goal of halting biodiversity loss by 2030, protecting 30% of the planet for nature. According to the World Economic Forum, $44 trillion of global economic value is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services, making up over half of global GDP. ZSL and WWF’s Living Planet Index reveals that since 1970, there has been a 69% decline in global monitored wildlife populations and it is predicted that by 2050 1 million species are on course for extinction. GSI sets out to address the interdependent challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Kew REACH is Gaia Sciences Innovation’s first investment. Kew REACH offers a holistic approach to nature restoration, enhancement, adaptation and creation. Based on Kew’s deep experience in researching, managing, and enhancing landscapes, it is powered by Kew’s cutting-edge science, and knowhow (the ‘Kew Method’).
Kew REACH works with major corporates, landowners and commercial agricultural and forestry owners and operators to create positive environmental impact. We advise stakeholders and clients on how to either improve or create outstanding natural habitats in commercial agriculture, forestry, real estate, and natural landscapes with science-led, high-credibility solutions. Powered by Kew Science, it provides scientific knowhow, transparency, data, and accountability, ensuring scientific rigour and data is at the heart of any project it advises.
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Natural Capital Projects
Greensphere is working with major institutional investors to invest in the structured finance of large-scale natural capital projects in sustainable agriculture, forestry, habitat restoration and sustainable land scheme projects. Such schemes range from continuous cover forestry projects to sustainable land schemes.
Some examples of projects that Greensphere is currently working on:
Greensphere and our partners are working with a state-owned forestry company to invest in continuous cover forestry, change composition of existing stock to increase biodiversity and introduce non-tree shrubs, wildflowers to improve ecosystem benefits. The project will improve the long-term resilience of the forests managed by the client while also improving biodiversity and increasing options for claiming other natural capital assets like carbon and biodiversity credits.
Greensphere is working with a number of counterparties on several sites to restore riparian borders and create a circular economy that includes comprehensive habitat restoration alongside a programme of managed harvesting. The project aims to improve the biodiversity of the sites, and on one site ensuring the site meets its ecological system benefits requirements to reduce flooding.
Greensphere’s working with a large landowner to create a sustainable agriculture scheme comprising over 10,000 acres to include removal of fossil based fertilisers, changing crop rotation schemes and introducing renewable energy source and carbon capture projects to provide more diversified sources of income.