The first thing we want to share with you to start 2020 is our Impact Report. It’s a 38-page assessment of progress toward our mission: accelerating solutions to climate change and deploy those solutions in the communities that need them the most. And it’s a story of climate solutions gaining momentum in neighborhoods, boardrooms, and classrooms around the world.
We pulled out a few pages that we feel are especially relevant today.
1) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that we will need $2.4 trillion dollars of clean energy investment per year through 2035 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We are still far below this, but there are hopeful proof points trending in the right direction. For example, last week the State of California announced a $12.5 billion climate budget that includes a $1 billion green loan fund for recycling, transportation, and agriculture projects.
And Larry Fink’s annual letter released this week states that “climate risk is investment risk,” and explains that for BlackRock’s nearly $7 trillion of assets under management, “[s]ustainability will drive the way we manage risk, construct portfolios, design products, and engage with companies.”
And our Elemental portfolio companies are doing their part to draw capital to profitable, scalable solutions. Our companies have raised $790 million in follow-on funding from investors like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, and National Grid Partners. We design our funding to be catalytic, and we’re encouraged that our portfolio companies have turned each dollar from us into 20x more.
2) Last year, the World Resources Institute reported that 25% of the world’s population faces extremely high water stress. As Kim, our Director of Water Innovation, says in our Impact Report, “We prioritize technologies that take a decentralized approach, help municipalities and utilities reduce pollution, and advance solutions to provide clean water for all.” Over the past four years we’ve been making strategic investments in water tech, starting with WaterSmart in 2016. We added FREDsense, Kando, Microvi, Buoy, and Zero Mass Water in 2018 and 2019. We’ve also seen one exit so far: Resideo acquired Buoy this past year to expand its portfolio of smart home solutions.
Also on the water front, Zero Mass Water is bringing clean drinking water to drought-stricken cities and towns. A standard residential Zero Mass system can replace up to 600 bottles of water each month. We are funding the first pilot of their water-as-a-service business model in Australia, a country standing at eye level with climate change today.
3) Youth have stepped up as leaders in our climate movement. In her interview with Time magazine after being named Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg said, “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow….That is all we are saying.”
We have been working on providing young leaders opportunities to lead through their passion – whether it be entrepreneurship, public policy, data science, or engineering. Since 2012, we’ve funded 51 interns and fellows to work at Elemental Excelerator and our portfolio companies. These changemakers are getting their hands dirty to mālama (care for) our planet. Applications are still open for Summer 2020 internships.
To create more of a pipeline of leadership and talent development around our internship program, last summer we 1) launched Root + STEM (a living map of Hawaiʻi science education), 2) piloted an executive coaching program for five women CEOs and executives, and 3) extended programming from our Equity & Access track to companies in our entire portfolio.
There’s a lot more than what we’ve shared here. Click through the full report, read it in its entirety, interact with it in whatever way suits you. And if you feel moved to send us a note after you do so, we’d love to hear from you.
Cheers to a prosperous and even more impactful year.
To 2020 and beyond!
– The Elemental team