Barclays and Shell plough money into carbon removal start-up Agricarbon

Barclays and Shell plough money into carbon removal start-up Agricarbon
  • PublishedDecember 6, 2023

Units of the two FTSE 100 companies are among the backers of a £9m Series A fundraising for the Dundee-based start-up, Sky News understands.

Two FTSE 100 companies are injecting funding into Agricarbon, a soil carbon measurement company which is aiming to help accelerate the drive towards meeting net zero emissions targets.

Sky News can reveal that units of Barclays and Shell are participating in a £9m Series A funding round that will be announced by Agricarbon during this week’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Founded by Annie Leeson and Stewart Arbuckle to harness soil’s ability to absorb vast quantities of carbon emissions, the company has also secured backing from specialist food funds, including the Nest family office and Ananke.

The round, led by Shell Ventures and including Barclays’ Sustainable Impact Capital arm, is unusual for an early-stage company in securing money from two of Britain’s biggest public companies.

Estimates suggest the global market for soil carbon removals will be worth as much as $175bn by 2030.

Agricarbon, which counts major food and beverage companies and carbon project developers among its clients, says it has tripled revenues this year amid soaring interest in its measurement services from businesses seeking to decarbonise their supply chains.

Based in Dundee, it began commercial operations in 2021.

“To increase the funding for large-scale soil carbon restoration, benefit claims and credits must be founded on high integrity, highly consistent, and independent primary data,” Ms Leeson said.

“Securing investment from two major stakeholders, Shell and Barclays, affirms the need for our data to increase confidence in soil carbon removals for carbon buyers, food companies and financial markets.

“Expanding Agricarbon’s service is catalytic for the growth of sustainable market incentives: unlocking more value for farmers and landowners that deliver real carbon removals on the ground, and ensuring natural capital investment can target areas of genuine and meaningful climate benefit.”

The injection of new funding will be used partly to establish a dedicated US entity to serve large projects in the US.

The company is also planning a wider geographical expansion.

Agricarbon was advised by Adelpha, which specialises in working with high-growth companies headquartered in the UK, on the deal.

Addie Pinkster, founder and chief executive of Adelpha, said: “Carbon removal infrastructure is a large and growing sector, with increasing focus on how agricultural soils can be used remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“As agricultural lands transition to regenerative farming practices, it is estimated that soils could technically sequester one to five gigatonnes (billion tonnes) of carbon dioxide per year.”


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