Why I Founded UNDO

The harsh reality is that we’ve left things too late.

Even if we eliminate fossil fuel use and decarbonise all areas of our lives, such as transport, manufacturing, energy, infrastructure and food production, we’re still going to have CO2 lingering at elevated levels in our atmosphere. The problem with CO2 is that it hangs around for hundreds of thousands of years – and it will keep increasing the earth’s temperature unless we can remove it. For this reason, carbon removal technologies are so crucial to the future health of our planet.

Combining a love of nature with entrepreneurship.

I’ve always been interested in the natural world, which is why I chose to study Ecology. It was during this time at Durham University that I first became deeply aware of climate change. Like many people, I assumed it was up to governments to solve this enormous challenge, given the scale of the required intervention. My career subsequently took me into business, and I watched and waited for our leaders to act in a meaningful way. However, nothing happened. Consequently, our climate is now rapidly approaching irreversible tipping points.

About five years ago, I entered a privileged position in my career and life where, for the first time, I could work on whatever I liked. Given my passion for the natural world, it was a no-brainer. I wanted to improve the climate. So, I co-founded The Future Forest Company with Jade Rein to remove CO2 at scale from the atmosphere, stop global warming, fight climate change, and protect biodiversity through reforestation. I’m a huge fan of tree planting and rewilding as part of the solution, especially in terms of protecting biodiversity.

Even if we could reforest all available land on earth, it wouldn’t be enough to solve the climate crisis.

However, once I began looking at the challenges the world faces on a macro-scale, I realised that even if we could reforest all available land on earth, it wouldn’t be enough to solve the climate crisis. Even if we were to achieve the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – which we are not on target to achieve – then our climate will become a lot less stable. This means that while the trees we plant in Scotland will be fine, many being planted elsewhere in the world won’t be. Due to greater exposure to wildfires, droughts, floods, high winds and other extreme weather events, some of these trees won’t keep absorbing CO2. At this point, the enormity of our situation really hit me, and I started looking at different technologies and processes that could be more scalable. I dug into hundreds of scientific papers and became increasingly fascinated with enhanced weathering, which is a naturally occurring process that I’m excited to focus on with UNDO.

Why enhanced weathering?

Natural weathering has been occurring for millions of years because rain absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. When rain interacts with rocks on the ground, it enables them to capture CO2 and mineralise it. Enhanced weathering dramatically speeds up this process by increasing the surface area of rocks. Enhanced weathering, as well as sucking CO2 from the air and turning it into rock, releases several nutrients that plants need for healthy growth. Furthermore, because it doesn’t require large infrastructure installations, it can be deployed quickly at a massive scale.

We must act quickly.

Scalability and speed are crucial when it comes to carbon removal. The world needs to remove approximately 10 billion tonnes of CO2 from our atmosphere every year if we want to return to pre-industrial levels. Currently, we’re only removing a few thousand tonnes a year. We need to start now if we are going to be able to scale carbon removal technologies quickly enough to meet the coming challenge.

This is why we’ve started UNDO.

I want UNDO to become the world’s largest carbon removal company.

Enhanced weathering will play a significant role in removing CO2 from our atmosphere. Our expertise in this high-potential technology is why I have huge goals for UNDO. I want UNDO to become the world’s largest carbon removal company. We’re already starting to scale this technology and build our organisation to support fast growth to achieve this. We’ve set an initial target of removing a million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Looking further ahead, we have a plan to become the first company to remove a billion tonnes. The Future Forest Company will continue doing the vital work of reforestation to address biodiversity loss and store carbon through nature-based solutions. Meanwhile at UNDO, we will take a more direct approach and prioritise removing the CO2 that needs to leave our atmosphere to keep our life-giving systems in balance.

My vision for the future?

“I’m optimistic that there is a far better world in our reach.”

I want future generations to have a liveable planet where everyone can enjoy a similar standard of living, which I am fortunate to have experienced. Crucially, we have the technology to achieve this future. I’m optimistic that there is a far better world in our reach where we’ve reduced pollution, stabilised our climate, electrified our transportation, decarbonised our grid and maintained our living standards.

The situation is clear, we must stop damaging the planet further and harming the life support systems we rely on, and we must undo the mess we’ve made. UNDO is ready to take on this challenge, so come with us as we embark on this critical journey. Help us put carbon back in its place.

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Jim Mann

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

With a background in ecology and scaling businesses, Jim founded UNDO to combat climate change via enhanced rock weathering. His vision is to realise ERW’s potential for relatively low-cost, large-scale carbon removal with a permanence of 100,000+ years. UNDO strives to create durable, high-quality carbon removal credits with added co-benefits.