Data is everything. Technology is making all the nuances of corporate carbon emissions reporting, biodiversity gains, reforestation initiatives and retail electrification faster and easier. Here, WWD profiles a handful of the latest solutions.
Watershed: Watershed is an enterprise climate platform built to take carbon accounting — and accountability in general — to the next level.
Already, retailers and tech giants such as Walmart, Shopify, Pinterest and brands Everlane, Coyuchi, Warby Parker, Skims and Bombas have used the real-time carbon emissions tracking software, with Pinterest for one committing to 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2023, with its aid, and Coyuchi committing to net zero by 2025.
Pulling data from thousands of emissions factors from governments, LCA dashboards, academic reports and company reports to power its auditing, Watershed’s carbon data engine allows for real-time tracking of a company’s every scope, category, vendor, location and more — with a carbon footprint ready-made in weeks (as opposed to months).
“We went from generic industry averages to a live model — built on our actual data — in just a few weeks. And this modeling opened up a thousand new routes to drive down emissions across our value chain,” said Stacy Kauk, director of Shopify’s sustainability fund, in a blog statement.
Solutions also span a special tool for the Securities and Exchange Commission so companies can prepare for incoming SEC climate disclosure rulings (though the initial timeline was delayed from October 2022, experts say to be on the lookout for disclosures by yearend given the climate urgency).
Wildgrid: Launched earlier this month, Wildgrid is a women-led educational software that helps American citizens and businesses get access to rebates under the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is the largest effort to-date to power up environmental energy savings through renewable energy, electric vehicles and much more.
Wildgrid’s consumer-facing app launched last week with a 700-person waitlist and works by having individuals or businesses build a profile and see what rebates they are eligible for. Among them are rebates on solar panels, induction stoves, insulation, electric vehicles, EV chargers, battery storage and more. The tool is free to use, as Wildgrid looks to monetize vendor partnerships and contracts, according to cofounder Krystal Persaud.
One of Wildgrid’s most popular blog posts for search traffic is “Are Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) a Scam?” (The short answer: they’re not.) It explains the need for education around rebates. With a pre-seed funding round of $725,000, the start-up is hoping to inspire “Voltage Vixens,” a name Persaud said their team brainstormed in ChatGPT — or the women who command the majority of the household spending — to level up their lives.
As the built environment — including retail — comprises about 38 percent of all energy-related CO2 emissions, according to the global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), Persaud said people are at a necessary inflection point of “leveling up” their wardrobes, apartments and everything around them.
More industry-facing tools are soon to be added, she said.
eDNA: eDNA is a technology (in which Balenciaga recently invested) developed to measure and monitor biodiversity by identifying traces of DNA in a surrounding environment so that companies, land managers and farmers are equipped with the necessary decision-making data to track, monitor and restore an ecosystem’s health.
Already seeing use in projects at Kering’s Regenerative Fund for Nature, the tool is used by Epiterre in a project meant to restore ecological balance and safeguard livelihoods in the Occitanie region of southwestern France. Without accurate data and metrics, agricultural land management strategies may fall short — eDNA technology looks to play an increasingly important role in restoring ecosystems.
CTrees: CTrees is counting all the trees and making the trees count (crucial as part of a company’s reforestation projects and broader biodiversity initiatives).
Founded by a NASA research scientist, Dr. Sassan Saatchi, the satellite-informed technology monitors carbon stocks to quantify forest degradation and global emissions, as a solution to biodiversity loss.
It’s already used in United Nations-backed REDD+ programs for reforestation (where brands such as Native deodorant in its Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project have taken a stand for nature).
Using geospatial forest carbon data, CTrees measures global reforestation, deforestation, degradation and fires. Companies can tap the data for project measuring, reporting and verification, which is key for long-term planning to predict risks and identify areas suitable for long-term forest investment.
Anyone can access the nonprofit’s website to see total carbon removal, forest removal and nonforest removal in a real-time interactive map.