The Sustaintech Xcelerator is a 6-month virtual accelerator focused on increasing confidence in nature-based solutions (NbS).
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions that harness the power of nature to tackle social and environmental challenges. Examples include protecting and restoring ecosystems like forests, mangroves or and coral reefs. NbS play a vital role in absorbing CO2 emissions and their development is critical for achieving the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.
The Sustaintech Xcelerator will invite climate innovators who are developing solutions that increase investor and buyer confidence in NbS –– through improved monitoring and verification of their environmental, social and economic impacts.
The Sustaintech Xcelerator is seeking innovators to present tangible solutions (e.g. minimum viable products and proofs-of-concept) that help to increase confidence for NbS. The solutions should address any of the opportunity areas below:
Reducing the cost and improving the accuracy of environmental verification (carbon sequestration)
Valuing social- and biodiversity co-benefits of NbS projects
Providing ongoing monitoring of NbS assets
Improving financial transparency of NbS projects
Our Sustaintech Xcelerator 2021 Cohort
Rainforest Connection (RFCx) has created the world’s first scalable, real-time acoustic monitoring system for protecting and studying remote ecosystems.
Our Sustaintech Xcelerator 2021 Experts
Senior Carbon Finance Specialist, The World Bank
Global Lead for Disruptive Technology in the Sustainable Development Practice Group
Who has applied?
SustaintechX is a global accelerator. We invite start-ups, established companies and academics commercialising new technologies to join the challenge.
Some examples of technologies and solutions we would consider:
Remote sensing technologies (e.g. satellite, drones, SAR, LiDAR etc) for monitoring NbS projects
AI- and climate science models that improve estimation of carbon sequestration and biodiversity
Technologies for verifying of soil sequestration
IoT technologies for monitoring NbS projects
Technologies to support ground audits – both for verifying social impacts and for collecting calibration data
Novel technology-driven approaches to social impact verification
Digital ledger technology (DLT) to support tokenisation, digital auditing and financial transparency around carbon credits
Registrations now closed. Acceleration in progress by our finalists towards our mid-term showcase in June/ July.
What’s in it for the
Sustaintech Xcelerator 2021 Cohort?
Are you looking for support to develop a compelling MVP? How about access to world-class research expertise? Or opportunities to commercialise your solutions in Singapore and beyond?
The Sustaintech Xcelerator provides bespoke support to selected applicants from our world-leading partners DBS Bank, Temasek, Google Cloud, National University of Singapore Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, Verra and the World Bank. Your team will have access to the expertise from these organisations and their partners, helping to accelerate their solutions for large-scale impact.
A S$50,000 grant awarded to each selected innovator.
Innovators will be provided with opportunities to remain engaged in the Singapore ecosystem – through academic partnerships and commercialisation opportunities.
Each innovator will be paired with mentors from our partners and other organisations in our network.
Innovators will have access to leading research expertise from the NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions.
Innovators will be given frequent pitching and speaking opportunities. Public showcases will be organized with a wide range of private- and public sector stakeholders.
Each team will be provided with in-kind resources including free office space in Singapore (for local teams).
What were the Judging Criteria?
Is your solution relevant and/or adaptable to one or more of the 4 core focus areas of this NbS challenge?
Is your solution scalable, enabling it to reach more markets and greater impact?
Are you using technology in a novel way to address sustainability challenges?
How strong is your team and do you have what it takes to drive your solutions to their next level of impact? Note that we will take into account the current stage of your company when assessing this criterion.
January 16 –
Online applications for the Sustaintech Xcelerator
Selection and announcement of Sustaintech Xcelerator finalists
Finalists onboarded and bespoke acceleration programs designed.
Ongoing acceleration, mentorship and events.
Public showcases and demos at events in Singapore
Development of continuity plans and final demo day.
About nature-based solutions
Addressing the climate crisis and reaching a 1.5° or 2°C pathway by 2030 will require about a 50% net-emission reduction of annual emissions to around 23 gigatons of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) from 2019 levels. (Nature and Net Zero).
While reduction of emissions through improved technologies and business processes should remain the top priority, these alone will not be able to drive the level of reductions needed fast enough to achieve global climate goals. In industries such as transportation and heavy manufacturing, for example, low-emission technologies may not yet be mature enough for widespread adoption.
When done right, carbon credits can help companies compensate and increasingly neutralise their hard-to-reduce emissions in the short term. A carbon credit is a verified emission reduction (measured in tonnes of CO2 or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas) used to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.
Natural climate solutions (NCS), involve protection and restoration of natural ecosystems such as forests, wetlands and mangroves. NCS have the potential to provide 1/3 of the emission reduction targets by 2030 (equal 7Gt CO2). NCS are both cost effective and provide significant additional benefits by supporting biodiversity and generating income for rural communities. Asia is set to become one of the largest suppliers of NCS globally as the region houses a third of the global supply potential (Nature and Net Zero).
Although demand for carbon offsets is growing (hundreds of major companies have already made ambitious climate pledges), a number of challenges surrounding NbS are limiting their further development. Two key challenges include:
An inefficient approach to monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) – Today’s verification process, which ensures that the amount of carbon sequestered by each NbS project is accurately measured, is highly manual. The process, which is based on in-person audits that may only take place every 2-3 years, is also costly.
Limited transparency for NBS buyers and investors – Given the manual and unstructured documentation, there is also limited transparency and comparability around the risks and impacts of NbS projects. Investors and companies looking to offset their emissions must perform significant due diligence to build trust for individual projects and their developers.
The Sustaintech Xcelerator will accelerate technology solutions that help to transform NbS verification from a manual, in-frequent and fragmented process into one that is continuous – transparently monitoring the performance and impacts of an NbS project and enabling ongoing issuance of carbon credits. Importantly, these technologies should complement necessary ground work required for verifying the more intricate social impacts of a project.