Authored by Lisa Walker, CEO at Ecosphere+
As of 13th April 2023, Ecosphere+ has been acquired by Abatable, a UK-based carbon procurement and market intelligence platform, as part of a $13.5M raise from Azora Capital aiming to create the market’s largest tech-enabled carbon procurement platform. Ecosphere+ CEO, Lisa Walker, looks back on the company’s more than six years of leadership in pioneering high-impact carbon procurement.
In late 2016, I was approached by the Althelia Climate Fund to consider leading a new venture investment focused on building demand for high-quality, nature-based voluntary carbon credits, which we named Ecosphere+.
Backed by the likes of BNP Paribas, AXA, the European Investment Bank, FMO and others, the Althelia Climate Fund was a visionary vehicle blending impact investment with climate finance and at the time, one of the only sources of private capital available to the pioneering conservation projects they invested in.
The context at the time was a very different voluntary carbon market to what we see today; there were only about 20 million tonnes total of Verra-certified issuances globally across all methodologies, and forestry-related credits were less than a quarter of the total. The aim for Ecosphere+ was not only to help the fund and the underlying projects to be successful through selling their carbon credits, but fundamentally to make the business case for financing nature, and recognise its essential role in fighting climate change and biodiversity loss as well as realising local sustainable development opportunities.
Writing this today, I am proud to say that we have been successful in our original mission; we have sold more than 45 million credits (including virtually all of the credits generated by the Althelia Climate Fund, now managed by Mirova). The voluntary carbon market has also seen rapid growth, and in particular an integral role for nature-based projects.
However, the challenges for the voluntary carbon market are far from over. We are not building a market for the sake of having a market. These are tools to deliver critical sustainability, social and climate outcomes.
I have been championing the use of market-based mechanisms as solutions to environmental issues throughout my career, which began in 1999 working on the UK emissions trading scheme, and continued with various roles within the energy sector. For the voluntary carbon market to reach its potential, it has to continue to improve, professionalise, build trust, and operate with high integrity. To do this, I believe we must embrace the latest technology and approaches to be fit for the future and deliver on the outcomes that are so important to all of us.
With that in mind, whilst the approaching end-date of the Althelia Climate Fund marks the end of the first phase for Ecosphere+, I cannot be more pleased to announce today that we have been acquired by Abatable, one of the market’s foremost, up-and-coming carbon procurement and market intelligence platforms with a shared commitment to the future of this market. I couldn’t think of a more perfect new home for the Ecosphere+ business and team who will all transition across.
The acquisition is a strategic union of two mission-aligned organisations, combining Ecosphere+’s portfolio, experience and market expertise with Abatable’s digital solutions, unrivalled project developer reach and knowledge platform. Abatable is powered by innovative tech to support companies to connect and transact with carbon project developers and deliver on their sustainability strategies.
Abatable was founded by Valerio Magliulo and Maria Eugenia Filmanovic in 2021, both visionary leaders who bring diverse skills to the business, and who have now successfully completed a capital raise to enable this acquisition. Valerio has held various product leadership positions at companies such as Meta, Google and Monzo Bank, while Maria worked as Vice President as part of the Imprint Capital team within Goldman Sachs where she advised large corporates and institutional investors on nature-based carbon removal and impact investment portfolios.
I’m thrilled to be setting out on this new chapter with Valerio, Maria and the rest of the team as part of the Abatable Group to establish the market’s leading platform for carbon procurement. As Abatable’s new Chief Commercial Officer, I’m excited to bring together our client and project partners under one platform, underscored by Abatable’s cutting-edge digital tools which will drive greater transparency, support efficiency, provide more comprehensive insights and extend market reach.
All businesses need to learn, improve and adapt if they are to continue to grow. Ecosphere+ has been successful in delivering on our mission, but I also recognise that we need solutions to the new challenges businesses are facing, under ever more increased scrutiny. We see these solutions being incubated and developed by Abatable and we’re thrilled to be able to help these to scale.
In signing off this stage of Ecosphere+, I of course need to thank the Althelia Climate Fund, Mirova and our investors for the steadfast leadership and vision they have shown, and for instilling core principles of quality and impact from the beginning. I am forever proud of the project partnerships we have built at Ecosphere+ and which we will continue to support in our next phase. I’m also thankful for the impressive set of corporates we have and continue to work with whose commitment to business as a force for good has driven transformative impact. Thanks to these businesses, we have to date worked with over 200 clients to generate over $150 million in shared value for our partners globally, all while holding a high standard of quality that has been globally recognised. Last but not least a huge thank you to the small but mighty Ecosphere+ team who I couldn’t be more grateful to or proud of.
I still believe, just as I did in 1999 and 2016, in the power of market mechanisms to deliver solutions to the global emergencies we face. As I have said many times, there is a carbon consequence to every decision we make, from buying a coffee to sending an email or catching a train, and I hope that together we can help make the carbon market not only one of the biggest markets in the world but also one of the best.
Watch this space!
See our full press release.
Full any queries and to learn more about the acquisition, please contact Sophie Arndt: firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 7737 352437