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Inside Elemental

Elemental’s Values at Climate Week

October 6, 2023

· 5 min read
The Elemental Team

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been gobbling up stories coming out of Climate Week NYC. But here’s one fun fact you probably didn’t get anywhere else: it was founded the same year as Elemental, in 2009. We’ve both been on quite the ride since then, and are still feeling the effects of a week filled with inspiration, innovation and impact.

In the spirit of celebrating what we’ve learned and shared, we’re looking back at this year’s events and conversations through the lens of Elemental’s four guiding values that drive every decision, collaboration and step we take toward our mission.

Joyful work

We find joy in our mission and in supporting others.

A packed house gathered for our Future of Climate Talent event, together with our partner LinkedIn and host Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live, to spotlight the insightful data LinkedIn brings to the space about how there are twice as many green jobs as people to fill them, creating enormous opportunity for those looking to join the green economy.

We also worked to elevate the voices of those entering the climate workforce and the employers creating inclusive spaces for these aspiring professionals. Learn more about their journeys and check out the recap of what we’re pretty sure is the world’s first climate talent–focused game show!

Humble Spirit

We approach the problems we are trying to solve with sincere and humble spirits.

At our Traversing the Scale Gap convening, we partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Rockefeller Foundation to convene a growing community from across climate finance to address the major gap between what venture capital will fund and what larger infrastructure investors won’t. This gap is not just a struggle for entrepreneurs looking to deploy first-of-a-kind (FOAK) projects and grow their companies, it’s also hindering our ability to achieve meaningful emissions reduction because half of the technologies we need are not yet deployed at scale. Bringing this group together required a measure of humility and a spirit of collaboration from all of the capital providers, as no one organization can solve this challenge alone.

In an electrifying morning of learning, iterating and growing together, we hosted more than 100 leaders from family offices, foundations, green banks, corporations, engineering firms, insurance companies, infrastructure and institutional investors and more to work creatively and collaboratively to fund climate technology’s scale gap.

A pie chart showing the diverse makeup of stakeholders present at the Scale Gap Climate Week event

We heard from our partners at BCG who dove deep into this work with us over the last few months. Traversing the gap will require leaning in with “old tools,” like long-term offtake agreements and pooled-loss funds and “new friends,” like foundations, insurance agencies and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies. We also heard from seasoned entrepreneurs and capital providers that have successfully financed or funded FOAK projects. Then, with the stage set, attendees split up into five “escape rooms” to hear from entrepreneurs who were actively seeking financing for their FOAK facilities, ranging from $50M to $1.2B. Each group was tasked to figure out how to finance their project using the different perspectives and tools represented in each room.


We embrace the responsibility and privilege of activating ourselves and others for our mission.

In partnership with Emerson Collective, our portfolio companies Ampaire, Evrnu, Mast Reforestation, Nth Cycle, Planet FWD, SOURCE Global, Terviva and Twelve joined the Climate Science Fair, a celebration of optimism. The Climate Science Fair on the High Line was open to the public, and designed to engage everyone from high school students to tourists, and global leaders to our COO Avra’s kids!

Kuleana means both responsibility and privilege. We see the Climate Science Fair as a way to share the privilege we experience every day — getting to talk to entrepreneurs and others about the solutions they’re deploying, and why they’re optimistic for the future. One of our entrepreneurs, Planet FWD Founder and CEO Julia Collins, shared how the setting created opportunities for meaningful engagement: “The Climate Science Fair brought one vital connection that was more important than 75 Zoom meetings.”

Throughout three days, and more than 100,000 visitors, the Climate Science Fair showcased 8 portfolio companies, 7 artists and more than 20 talks — including Miskito feminist, indigenous rights activist and medical surgeon Myrna Cunningham Kain; marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson with artist and architect Olalekan Jeyifous; and Bill Nye in a conversation with our CEO Dawn.

A grid of four photos showing entrepreneurs, climate leaders, artists and speakers at the Climate Science Fair

Growth Mindset

We seek to learn, iterate, and grow personally and professionally.

We are learning in community with many dedicated and optimistic partners, including our portfolio companies, EDICT interns, Policy Lab fellows, Breakthrough Energy Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, ClimateWorks Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation, Grantham Foundation, Emerson Collective, LinkedIn, The Rockefeller Foundation, Salesforce, United Airlines, Waverley Street Foundation, Wells Fargo, as well as our growing community of donors and supporters who make not only this week but also our impact possible. And also every one of you who is joining us on this journey. More than ever, we are energized by the incredible pace of change we are witnessing on the climate front, from policy and innovation to deployment and activism. We’ve never felt more assured that together, we can and will build a bright future.