Canada: A Springboard to Scaling Our Enhanced Rock Weathering Solution

Canada is poised to become one of the world’s strategic hubs for carbon removal. Momentum and appetite for the burgeoning sector is quickly building in the country which has passed into law its commitment to net zero by 2050. Canada already boasts more than 70 carbon dioxide removal (CDR) companies with more sure to come. These startups are converting mining products into carbon sponges, injecting CO₂ into concrete, restoring river and ocean health to make them better carbon sinks, and partnering with farmers to spread carbon-absorbing minerals on agricultural land.  

Canada is also well known for its abundant natural resources and geographic expanse. As an enhanced rock weathering (ERW) project developer, UNDO sees these incredible advantages as a way to enable and scale permanent, community-based carbon removal. The country has more than 190,000 farms spanning 62 million hectares of agricultural land. Our mission in Canada is to engage these farming communities across the country so that we can remove megatonnes of carbon and promote the socio-economic benefits of our solution as widely and as justly as possible. 

Canada Has Incredible Carbon Dioxide Removal Potential

In the past year, Canada has developed major political, business and financial backing for carbon removal. Its 2024 Budget contains the Low-Carbon Fuel Procurement Program, a $135-million fund meant to help reduce hard-to-abate emissions associated with the government’s transportation fleets, which has been expanded to include carbon removal solutions. Carbon Removal Canada, a policy non-profit established in 2023, is bending the ears of government and policymakers while collaborating with advocacy groups and local communities to promote the scaling of carbon removal solutions. State-backed ventures like Deep Sky are building centres that will house multiple CDR projects so economies of scale and expertise under one roof can be leveraged. (With nearly 20 CDR projects to be co-located at their labs, technologies are being validated and tested by collaborative scientific efforts before being scaled.) 

For corporate Canada, momentum is also building. Organisations, such as Shopify and Air Canada, are turning to carbon removal to meet their climate commitments. Given the number of projects now actively removing CO₂ from the atmosphere across the country, Canadian businesses can look domestically to build a portfolio of groundbreaking solutions that can help them achieve the range of net zero ambitions on the horizon.

From a wide lens, the stage is set for Canada to be a major player on the global CDR stage. 

Here’s why UNDO is particularly excited to expand its enhanced rock weathering operations there.

Our Path to Gigatonne Scale is Paved through Canada

In September 2023, we formed a strategic partnership with Canadian Wollastonite (CW). CW is an Ontario-based mine with access to 17 megatonnes of fast-weathering wollastonite rock. They have led research on wollastonite’s uses as a soil amendment, its co-benefits on agricultural land, and its carbon capture potential via enhanced rock weathering for the better part of a decade. Crucially, wollastonite captures CO₂ much faster than other silicate rocks, can be spread on the same land annually, and needs significantly less material volume to lock away one metric ton of CO₂ relative to basalt. 

Wollastonite is the ideal safe, abundant and fast-weathering feedstock for the current ERW market that has the capacity to reach megatonne scale by 2030. While the way to get to gigatonne scale removal for ERW is via abundant global feedstocks of slower-weathering basalt, corporate buyers in the short term are looking for quicker impact over more immediate timeframes. They want to offset their hard-to-abate emissions with fast-weathering rock, like wollastonite, that rapidly removes CO₂. We are meeting this demand through partnerships like the one with CW. It is through our operational partners that have access to faster-weathering rock which will build critical buyer and financial trust, enable future expansion, and give us resources to solidify our approach to ERW Measurement, Reporting and Verification.

The UNDO – Canadian Wollastonite Partnership

Canadian Wollastonite and UNDO have aligned values and the desire to deploy nature’s resources to pioneer radical climate action. Less than 15% of the property’s 220 hectares of land will be disturbed by mining activities, allowing plenty of space for future environmentally beneficial projects. Canadian Wollastonite also plans to increase the renewable energy mix it utilises to power its operations through solar panel installation. UNDO’s lifecycle operations with Canadian Wollastonite are incredibly carbon efficient, boasting 95% carbon efficiency. (For every 100 tonnes of CO₂ removed through the spreading of wollastonite,  only 5 tonnes of CO₂ are emitted in the process of getting it from mine to farm.)

Image of Bob

“The decision to work closely with UNDO was an easy one and I think I can speak for all involved when I say that we are extremely excited about the partnership. We highly encourage farmers in eastern Canada to get in touch with us if they want to take advantage of this great benefit model.”

Bob Vasily, President of Canadian Wollastonite

In 2023, Canadian Wollastonite spread 8,600 tonnes of wollastonite on farms in Ontario on behalf of UNDO. In 2024, the plan is to expand operations to more than 10X that. Canadian Wollastonite and UNDO’s partnership is a win-win-win scenario: a win for local farmers whose soils are enriched, a win for the community members (hauliers, field techs, spreaders, etc.) engaged in making this process happen and a win for the planet, as we continue to remove carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere.

Enabling Permanent, Community-Based Carbon Removal with Socioeconomic Benefits

UNDO works in communities where land is livelihood. We maintain close relationships with rural communities through our regional managers and listen closely to those who enable and benefit from our operations. By providing our crushed rock to farmers free of charge, our solution supports a sector that is increasingly vulnerable to climate change and operating on tight margins. Our operations also directly drive local SME growth and green jobs. This includes our haulage and agricultural spreading contractors, soil samplers, lab testers and research in academic institutions and universities. 

In Canada, there are 262,045 farm operators. 5,405 (2.1%) of them identify as First Nations People. Ontario, our operational headquarters, has significant land governed by treaty-based agreements with First Nations people. As an organisation focused on climate justice, UNDO is committed to developing relationships, having open and informed consultation and providing equitable access to any green jobs and training opportunities for First Nations people that result from our work in Canada. 

In the coming years, we will be spreading millions of tonnes of rock in Canada. To do so, we will need to grow our stakeholder base significantly. But more importantly, our community relationships and trust will scale first. We look forward to working with landowner and farmer networks to grow our solution to where communities, farming and the planet will benefit. 

For more information on our promise to the communities we operate in and the stakeholders we work with, please read our Community and Stakeholder Engagement Statement.

Contributing to Canada’s Carbon Removal Economy

For Canada in particular, the CDR industry also makes good business sense.  A report commissioned by Carbon Removal Canada says that a CDR industry removing hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere by 2050 could create over 300,000 jobs, add CAD $143 billion in GDP and support other critical industrial sectors like construction, equipment manufacturing, steel and cement. Investing in this industry would position Canadian companies to develop world-leading Intellectual Property and sell carbon removal credits into global carbon compliance markets worth more than USD $800 billion. Demand for high-quality CDR is only rising and the voluntary carbon market where it is sold is predicted to be worth between USD $10-40 billion by 2030. 

Since 2019, every jurisdiction in Canada has had a price on carbon pollution. With market mechanisms already in place to promote climate stewardship and a government poised to become a corporate confidence-increasing customer, the corporate landscape will look to other environmentally impactful solutions to meet its ESG goals. 

Despite Canada being poised as a CDR powerhouse with the number of suppliers steadily increasing, there is expected to be a significant supply crunch in the next 5 years as corporate buyers lock in supply to meet their net zero goals. Forward-thinking companies not wanting to miss out on high-quality supply are investing in relationships with project developers close to home to achieve their sustainability commitments.

Interested in Carbon Removal in Canada

Canada is set to become a key player in the global carbon removal industry, and we’d love you to be part of this journey. If you are interested in discussing your carbon removal needs and learning more about UNDO’s recent launch in Canada, please get in touch.