Last week saw two big developments in the world of direct carbon removal. Frontier, an advanced market commitment between Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta and McKinsey purchase carbon removal, welcomed a new strategic partner, Watershed. And Climeworks, the Zurich-based direct air capture company, delivered carbon removals to corporate clients.
Watershed is a climate platform that measures, reports and analyzes its clients emissions and suggests reduction strategies. Watershed’s clients include household names such as Airbnb, Warby Parker and Walmart.
The partnership exposes Watershed's customer base to Frontier’s carbon removal projects, with Boom Supersonic, Canva, SKIMS and Zendesk the first to buy tons from Frontier’s projects. With access to Frontier, Watershed’s clients have a full-service carbon accounting, reduction and removal purchase suite. According to Stacy Kauk, head of sustainability at Shopify, Watershed clients can use Frontier to complete the full spectrum of carbon offerings — everything from data collection, accounting, reduction plans and finally a pathway to buy offsets which Watershed purchases on their behalf faciliated by Frontier. Watershed gives its clients access to a deeper understanding of their own emissions.
"If you just want to buy carbon removal, you can go straight through to Frontier," she said. "If you're looking to do your full carbon accounting, goal-setting emissions reduction plan, you'd likely want a company like Watershed to do that for you."
With Frontier and Watershed working together, the program should create carbon removal access for companies who have less ability to invest in a full-scale sustainability department and the associated due diligence.
On the startup side, Climeworks announced that it delivered its carbon removal services to its first corporate clients, which include a few founding members of Frontier such as Microsoft, Shopify and Stripe.
Climeworks pulls carbon from the atmosphere and durably stores it in the ground using a mineralization process at its facility in Iceland. The removals were validated by DNV, an independent third-party verification provider.
Last year Microsoft purchased 1,400 metric tons of carbon removal from Climeworks. In 2020, Stripe announced it had bought 322.5 tons at $775 per ton from Climeworks. Also in 2020, Shopify purchased 5,000 tons of carbon removal through a multiyear contract from Climeworks.
The delivery of these first removals indicates a historic step for the acceleration and scaling of carbon capture.
Correction: Updated to clarify that Watershed is not a member of Frontier but a partner and Frontier does not issue credits.