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Duncan Grierson, Clim8 CEO: “We must act now”

Duncan Grierson

09 August 2021 Climate ChangeSustainability

On August 9th the IPCC released a landmark study, warning of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. The report “is a code red for humanity” and a global call to action. 

Here are my 4 takeaways from the report:

  • The new report begins with a definitive statement: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.”
  • The last decade was hotter than any period in 125,000 years.
  • The key aspect of the IPCC report is that the 42-page summary is agreed, line by line, by every government on the planet. 
  • We are running out of time. But if we can cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by the middle of this century, we can halt and possibly reverse the rise in temperatures. UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as this report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

We are running out of time”

– Duncan Grierson

Though this report is extensive and has brought together leading climate scientists from across the globe, it doesn’t report on how we can mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. Later this year, the IPCC proposes to publish a follow-up report to delve into climate adaptation.

It’s clear from the research that we need to act FAST now. There is hope, and where there is hope there are opportunities for us to take action.

One of the ways to take immediate action is through climate impact investing. It’s why we invest 100% into the companies and technologies that are at the forefront of a sustainable future.

Together, we can build a sustainable and financially secure future.

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International Earth Day: 6 climate-related actions

Duncan Grierson

23 April 2020 Sustainability

April 22nd marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.

To celebrate it, we decided to launch our first tree planting initiative. On April 22nd and 23rd, we will plant a tree for every person who invests in Clim8 to become a shareholder in our company during our crowdfunding campaign.

As we navigate the uncertainty and fear generated by the global pandemic, Earth Day seems to have taken a back seat. António Guterres, Secretary-General at the United Nations said “While the impact of the coronavirus is both immediate and dreadful, there’s an even deeper emergency — the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis… Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return,”

Guterres proposed 6 climate-related actions to shape the recovery of the climate crisis :

  • Green Transition – As we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition. (And as more people move towards products and services that are making a difference on climate change, at Clim8 we believe that their value will also increase in time).
  • Taxpayers’ money – When used to rescue businesses, taxpayers’ money should  be tied to achieving green sustainable growth. 
  • Fiscal firepower – In the words of Guterres, this must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient.
  • Public funds – They should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.  Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution.
  • Climate risks and opportunities – These elements should be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.
  • Community – We need to work together as an international community. Climate change, just like viruses, does not respect national boundaries. And we need to come together to solve on of the biggest challenges that the world has ever faced.

As Guterres said,

We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future, demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike”.

With Clim8, we want to support sustainable businesses that make an actual difference on climate change. The path to a greener world will be paved by greener companies. Join us on our journey.


Earth Day 2020: Invest in our planet, invest in Clim8

Duncan Grierson

22 April 2020 Inside Clim8

We have built Clim8 with a big mission at heart: we want to enable people to invest proactively into companies that are making a positive impact on climate change.

As of today:

  • We have built a community of more than 5,000 people willing to make a difference on climate change with their savings.
  • Built a team of 10 people led by a cleantech award winner and ex Credit Suisse, Google, Morgan Stanley, BBC and Amazon execs.
  • Raised a seed round and started designing a world class app for sustainable investments, which is in build for a launch in Q2.

Today, April 22nd 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. To celebrate this important day and the successful launch of our first crowdfunding campaign, we have decided to plant a tree for every person who decides to invest in Clim8 today and tomorrow!*

We have partnered with WeForest for a planting project in Tanzania, where the destruction of natural forests is threatening rural communities and native wildlife. 

WeForest has worked in Tanzania since 2011, distributing seedlings grown in a nursery (often fruit trees) to the people that need it most, starting with women-led households or families hosting orphans.When ecological integrity and our ecosystem are respected, human well-being is also enhanced.

We launched our Crowdcube campaign publicly only a week ago and have already reached over £600,000 with the support of more than 530 investors and climate change fighters!

Check our pitch, become a shareholder in Clim8 and let’s make our world greener together.

Invest & plant a tree

Remember, investments of this nature carry risks to your capital, so please invest aware.

*Those investing today will also get a certificate tracking their contribution to this project. Planting certificate will be issued to the investors within a month of completion of the Clim8 Crowdcube campaign. Clim8 and WeForest reserve the right to plant the trees in a similar project if necessary.


Supporting UN sustainable development goals while working from home

Duncan Grierson

09 April 2020 Sustainability

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are designed as a roadmap for a better planet with a healthier climate. We’ve picked out four of them that you can support, even while working from home!

In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to bring peace and prosperity to the planet and all people. Today, as the world adapts to the impact of Covid-19, this mission could not be more important.

17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and 169 targets derived from those goals, map out the ambition of the plan. Critical transitions such as improved health, education, ending poverty, and boosting economic growth are among the key areas of focus. Climate action, goal 13, has the potential to affect all the others.

The question we can ask ourselves today is: ‘how can I help the world improve and achieve the UN’s mission, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic?’

As individual citizens, we have a part to play. To help guide, we’ve chosen four of the goals that we can all support at home.

Choose energy options that reduce your energy footprint

Global Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

We need to decarbonize the energy that we use. Together, we can reduce our carbon emissions and keep global temperatures below disastrous levels. Using energy-saving light bulbs and appliances are helpful, but we can do more. Switching to a provider which supplies only renewable energy is also a powerful step. Looking to the future, when we are no longer confined to our homes, we should consider our choice of transport carefully. Choosing an electric vehicle can save up to 1.5 million grams of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona. Harnessing the power of the sun to fuel your home is another option. With prices falling and the opportunity to sell your energy back to the grid, domestic solar panels are increasingly attractive. 

Think local: support your community

Global Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban areas are projected to house 60% of the world’s population by 2030, with one in every three people living in mega-cities with at least half a million inhabitants. Building modern, sustainable cities will be essential in preparing for this surge. Intelligent urban planning will effectively guarantee safe, affordable, green and cultural cities.

Many of us are already contributing to this global goal without realising it. By shopping as locally as possible, we are supporting our communities as well as choosing a lower carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose local food providers.

Local politics matters as well. Elections have been postponed, giving us more time to reflect on our options. Research your local candidates and make sure you elect the leaders in your local community who will prioritise green solutions as part of their agenda. To support the UN Sustainable Development Goals at home, vote for leaders who support them. 

Be a responsible consumer; think before you buy

Global Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production

Over 7bn consumers drive the global economy. Every time we purchase something, we make a vote. What does your vote say? Are you voting for a more resource efficient planet? 

Taking responsibility for everyday purchases is essential. We need to start asking where the things we buy come from. Who made them? Are they ethical? Were they shipped thousands of miles by air when I could have purchased locally? What are they made out of? 

We need to think before we buy, especially in the fast-paced world of online shopping: “Do I really need this?” Perhaps you can use something you already have at home, repair it or make your own. DIY recipes can easily be found online for all kinds of things.  

And the food we eat has a big impact. Eating less meat, fish and dairy products can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But you can also cut down on food waste, which contributes to 8% of our total carbon emissions. In Max La Manna’s ‘More Plants, Less Waste’ book he shows us how to use food scraps like onion skins and celery leaves to make stock. So get creative with your leftovers and reduce your food waste, all from the comfort of your own home.

Take action now

Global Goal 13, Climate Action

Action at home starts small, by writing to your local MP. Demand action from the government on the climate emergency. Call for policies that will create lasting, positive change. 

Inspiring speeches might even motivate you to start your own initiative. This could be anything from a ‘green group’ in your community, planning a fundraising event (later in the year!) or starting a petition. Local networks are key. Invite friends, family and colleagues by speaking to them about climate change and what you can do together to help. 

Volunteering for projects such as Trees For Cities or a citizen science scheme are also effective steps. For the more adventuros, perhaps you could plan for your next (post-isolation!) holiday to involve volunteering with a conservation charity on a rewilding project.   

Together, we can support the UN’s mission. Now is the time to give some of these ideas a go, even while working from home. 

And finally, how you invest your savings can have a big impact. At Clim8, we are driven by sustainability and we’re enabling investment in green energy, clean technology, clean water, sustainable food, recycling, and clean mobility. Please join us.


The stark similarities between Covid-19 and the climate crisis

Duncan Grierson

03 April 2020 Sustainability

The systems that our world is built on are changing quickly and dramatically due to the Covid-19 crisis, at a pace unimaginable just a few weeks ago. Swift government action to adapt our systems has proven that a global response to a global problem is possible.

For the Clim8 team, this raises the important question: can a response of this scale be repeated for the climate crisis?

Covid-19 and Climate Crisis

Both crises are global. No country is immune from either Covid-19 or the effects of climate change. Similarly, they will both impact some countries more severely than others. For example, low altitude nations are at the highest risk of rising sea levels. Nations with rudimentary healthcare systems face more intense challenges.

Both crises are pernicious in the scale of potential deaths. Covid-19 has the potential to kill millions of people around the world. The impact of the climate crisis has already cost many lives and has the potential to be very deadly. 

We will witness famine, droughts and longer-lasting heatwaves. By continuing on our current path, global temperatures will increase by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, triggering lethal scenarios. 

Economic disruption from both crises is also a grave concern. Estimates are of trillions of dollars of impact resulting from Covid-19. 

The potential economic impact of climate breakdown is also in the trillions, but could end up dwarfing the total damage caused by Covid-19. Climate change threatens so many elements of our society and way of life, that its economic impact is almost immeasurable. Agricultural damage, flooding and power grid disruption alone could knock the world’s economy into a steep decline. Climate-related food shortages could also force tens of millions of people back into poverty, which will lead to increased vulnerability to health problems. 

Why such dramatic differences in the responses?

As the world came to realise the severity of the Covid-19 threat, leaders took drastic action. Lockdowns of cities, restrictions on movement, mass school closures, postponement of sports events (even the Olympic games), and a large reduction in transport use.

Despite the starker threat posed by the climate crisis, response from governments has been relatively passive. Our perception of global warming is different to that of a killer virus. Dramatic video footage of floods and bushfires are not necessarily directly associated with climate change.

Governments, businesses and individuals need to look further down the line into the future. 

We have the means to mitigate dangerous global warming through coordinated global action and a move towards sustainable business models. We need to work together to make sure climate change is no longer perceived as a distant threat by governments, businesses and individuals. Encouragingly, many people are thinking longer term now.

What is the key learning from the Covid-19 response?

Change is possible! The recent upheavals to our way of life haven’t been straightforward, but have proven our capacity to adapt as a society. Social distancing, working from home, supporting vulnerable people, avoiding transport, and an increase in hygiene are all impressive achievements. Factories have converted their production processes in order to provide more ventilators for the NHS. We can now confidently say that we can adapt to an altered way of living when necessary.

The reason for hope

Taking action on a global scale is possible. This crisis has proven unequivocally that international action can happen quickly and decisively in response to powerful threats. 

While the current Covid-19 crisis is frightening, we must not lose hope. It is important to recognise that global systems change can happen, and fast. In just a few months, we’ve seen how humanity is capable of incredible feats, innovation and international coordination when it matters most. 

Our mission at Clim8 Invest is to support innovations designed to combat climate change. Together, through our collective investments, we can enable inspiring organisations to bring about the change we need to tackle the climate crisis head on.

Join us on our journey.


3 critical takeaways from Davos 2020 and predictions for 2021

Duncan Grierson

14 February 2020 Sustainability

Clim8 Invest’s CEO, Duncan Grierson, shares his thoughts on Davos 2020 and predictions for Davos 2021.

It has been almost 50 years since the first Davos conference in 1971, later evolving into the official World Economic Forum in 1987. And for the first time since that gathering, climate change has finally climbed to the top of the agenda. Many would argue that this should’ve happened 5 or even 10 years ago, but at least it has reached the top now. 

Of course, the climate crisis has been impossible to ignore over the past year. 2019 was the second hottest year on record, extreme weather events have become much more frequent, and Australia has been ravaged by wildfires, made far more likely due to a rise in average temperatures. In many ways, the WEF had no choice; they had to make the climate crisis a top priority this year. 

But what was the outcome? As the world’s political and business leaders converged on the stunning Swiss resort, did they actually make any headway? What can we learn from this first-of-its-kind WEF conference?

Here are our top takeaways from Davos 2020 and predictions for 2021.

1. Money talks – the rising fiscal risks of climate change 

One of the key climate conversation drivers at Davos this year was the ever-rising fiscal risks of the climate crisis. Some of the world’s largest asset managers are beginning to wake up to the significance of climate change and how it will affect international markets over the next decade and beyond. In a statement just before the conference, Blackrock said that climate change has led them to a “fundamental reshaping of finance” and a complete rethink of its strategy as fossil fuels, among other areas, become riskier. Meanwhile, the IMF announced that the crisis “already endangers health and economic outcomes.” 

Clearly, there is a need for a “better capitalism”, a term widely used at this year’s Davos. Investors and corporations wield huge power and the ability to enact a new approach; however, the question stemming from this year’s Davos is: will they use this power responsibly or not? Or will governments have to step in?

Either way, there’s no denying the financial risks now. This year’s conference has done a good job at highlighting this. In turn, this focus should provide valuable context as we strive for a more sustainable global system. Next year, we will see this area become even more prominent. Sustainable investing will have further grown in importance. 

However, this year the WEF merely talked about the shift towards better investments; it’s time for action to back up the words. This clear takeaway from Davos 2020 helps shape predictions for 2021. Next year, they should be reviewing how far we have shifted, and how this drive for sustainable investing will only increase in the years to come. 

2. Greta vs. Trump

We live in truly bizarre times. This year at Davos, one of the most powerful men in the world, US President Donald Trump, went toe to toe with 17-year-old climate activist and global green icon Greta Thunberg. Who could have predicted this 10 years ago?

Greta’s message to the WEF was clear. The science from the IPCC shows an urgent need to act now and stop emissions. Strong words here: 

“Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy’. We don’t need to ‘lower emissions’. Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

This was followed by three demands:

  • Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction 
  • Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies 
  • Immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels 

Trump hit back by criticising Greta and her fellow activists, ridiculing them and their demands as “prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”. This was then backed up by Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of the Treasury, who highlighted how Greta wasn’t a qualified economist and therefore shouldn’t be commenting on the matter. Clearly, the current leaders in the US aren’t going to move on the issue. 

If a green-focussed Democrat, such as Sanders, Warren or Bloomberg, is elected later this year, this would provide a much stronger platform for further climate action. It could be argued that the upcoming US Presidential election in November is the most important ever. While Trump’s continued climate inaction was one of the key takeaways from Davos 2020, predictions for 2021 depend dramatically on the election’s outcome.

3. The science is brutally clear, and the WEF knows it

In 2018, the IPCC said that the world had a limit of 420 gigatons of carbon to emit if we are to have a 67% chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. This figure is now down to 340 gigatons. As a result, warming over 2.0 degrees is looking more likely than ever before. This is highly distressing, but there is hope. The good news is that this Davos was like no other. Meaningful commitments are finally being made. For example, even the Trump-led US is joining the One Trillion Trees Initiative, which could make a “huge difference if we do it right”. In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, the penny has seemingly (finally) dropped for more leaders than last year, causing perhaps the most sombre mood at the conference in recent memory. However, there is still a very long way to go, and urgent action is needed, but at least there’s no dodging the topic now. The scrutiny has never been higher, largely thanks to the efforts of relentless activism, brilliant scientific research and bold financial moves. 

As we look ahead, we can expect even higher scrutiny and pressure on leaders to back up their words from this year. The calls for sustainable investing, divestment from fossil fuels, better food systems, and innovations in transport will be even stronger. Let us hope that when Davos 2021 comes about, we’ll have seen far more action than words, and stronger, smarter leadership from all countries.