Case Study

UNDO Partners with British Airways, CUR8 and Standard Chartered in Carbon Removal Financing Pilot

UNDO expands its horizons in a landmark collaboration with British Airways, CUR8 and Standard Chartered as part of the flagship UK airline’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050. 

While we are acutely aware of the environmental impact of flying and its urgent need to decarbonise, the industry reunites loved ones, allows for exploration and brings the world closer together. Addressing emissions in hard-to-abate sectors such as aviation is essential for our planet’s future. Solutions like enhanced rock weathering not only provide permanent carbon removal but also bring additional co-benefits, contributing to a more comprehensive approach to climate action across diverse sectors.  

Our Carbon Removal Partnerships are Rigorously Evaluated 

It is important to us that carbon removal partnerships are not perceived by businesses as a licence to pollute. At UNDO, we will only partner with companies that have a robust decarbonisation strategy and are committed to rapidly reducing emissions. To reach the global scale needed to hit the IPCC’s goal of removing 10 billion tonnes of CO₂ per year by 2050, the carbon removal market must engage with progressive partners as soon as possible.

Our decision to partner with British Airways was informed by a rigorous evaluation which included an assessment of the scale and source of their emissions, their current decarbonisation plan, their leadership in climate action, and their adherence to third-party standards. We believe that this partnership is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future and constitutes part of a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change, including both emissions reduction and removals.

British Airways’ Sustainability Strategy

British Airways is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They are pursuing this goal through investing in more efficient aircraft, the development and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and exploring new technologies such as carbon removals. By upgrading their fleet to new and low- or zero-emission aircraft and changing how they fly, BA estimates that they can reduce two-thirds of their emissions by 2050. High-quality carbon removal technologies then have a critical part to play in permanently locking away the hard-to-abate CO₂ emissions associated with flying. 

Highlights of BA’s Sustainability Strategy include:

  • Flying more fuel-efficient aircraft including A350s, 787s, A320 and A321neos, which are up to 40% more fuel-efficient than the older aircraft they are replacing. 
  • Electrifying all ground vehicles and trialling a state-of-the-art fully electric passenger bus at Heathrow, which uses 75% less energy.
  • Accelerating the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft and carbon capture technology. 
  • Supporting a variety of innovative carbon removal solutions, such as enhanced rock weathering.

“At British Airways, carbon removals form a fundamental part of our long-term strategy and so we are delighted to be a part of this ground-breaking pilot. Whilst this initial purchase is relatively small, the partnership hopes to pave the way to unlock future investment in carbon removals and help accelerate the future scale-up of carbon removals technology. This collaboration will reinforce our commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 and is a long-term and necessary solution to act on our carbon emissions.”

Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways

A Note from Jim

Image of Jim Mann 2

“Our approach represents one of the most robust carbon dioxide removal solutions available today because it is permanent, highly scalable, and provides a host of co-benefits. While flying brings the world closer together, it is difficult to decarbonise. The aviation industry will require large amounts of high-quality carbon removal to meet its net zero commitments, and British Airways is leading the charge. UNDO and the carbon removal market need many more progressive partnerships like this to scale to the IPCC carbon removal goal of 10 billion tonnes a year by 2050.”

Jim Mann, Founder and CEO at UNDO

A New Way to Fund Carbon Removal

This pilot demonstrates a first-of-a-kind financing model for carbon removal project developers. The partnership is brokered by CUR8, a UK-based company dedicated to building the global market for carbon removals, and financed by Standard Chartered Bank

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon removals need to be rapidly developed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. While grants and venture capital are generally available to CDR project developers during the early stages, traditional banking products needed for scale, such as commercial debt, are harder to access. This pilot creates a blueprint to enable ambitious carbon removal suppliers to scale with more available capital in the form of debt financing, secured on future client demand via advanced purchase agreements. 

“Rapid technological and scientific innovations require appropriate and often novel ways of financing. We are delighted to be launching this pilot with UNDO, British Airways and Standard Chartered to show that carbon removals are eligible for scalable debt financing as opposed to only equity. We aim to build a bridge to bankability for the most promising and innovative carbon removal suppliers who face a $5-50M scale-up financing gap.”

Marta Krupinska, CEO and Co-Founder at CUR8

What is Enhanced Rock Weathering?

Enhanced rock weathering is a scalable carbon dioxide removal technology with significant co-benefits to soil health and crop yields. It accelerates the natural geological process of weathering, whereby the CO₂ in rainwater interacts with silicate rocks such as basalt, forming stable bicarbonate ions which are transported to the ocean where it resides over geological timescales. As this mineral-rich volcanic rock breaks down, it releases magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients, increasing crop yield, raising and stabilising soil pH and reducing the need for fertilisers.

“Our commitment to carbon removals recognises their critical importance in the delivery of net zero. As a bank with a significant presence in many of the emerging markets most impacted by climate change, we are clear that high-integrity carbon markets and related removal activity can accelerate net zero progress when coupled with continued mitigation and adaptation efforts. Given this focus, we’re excited by the opportunity to partner with such mission-aligned counterparties to develop this financing structure in hopes that it will support more providers to scale up and be able to access a greater quantum of capital to remove carbon, at pace.”

Marisa Drew, Chief Sustainability Officer at Standard Chartered

Partner with UNDO for Your Carbon Removal Needs

Is your business committed to reducing emissions and meeting your climate goals? UNDO offers permanent, high-quality carbon removal via enhanced rock weathering technology that comes with co-benefits to the food systems we rely on, farmers and our oceans. Talk to our expert team about your net zero goals and how developing a partnership with UNDO can enable them.