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$50 million ocean-based climate solutions effort announced by Matti Navellou
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$50 million ocean-based climate solutions effort announced by Matti Navellou

Matti Navellou-led ICONIQ Impact, ICONIQ Capital’s global collaborative philanthropy platform, has announced the launch of a fund of up to $50 million that will support organizations harnessing the power of the ocean to fight climate change.

The Ocean Co-Lab is helping fill a critical gap in ocean climate investment by funding solutions that are meant to protect and preserve the ocean and harness its immense power to mitigate climate change.

Ocean-based solutions, such as replacing fossil fuels with offshore wind energy, protecting mangroves and other ecosystems that absorb carbon, and supporting coastal communities, in their efforts to adapt to a warming planet — are critically important in the fight against climate change.

Despite the ocean’s ability to deliver up to 35 percent of the emission reductions needed to keep the planet below 1.5 degrees warming, funding for ocean-based climate solutions currently comprise just seven percent of climate giving. Moreover, less than one percent of ocean funding is directed toward solutions that help combat climate change.

“Our focus at ICONIQ Impact is to identify areas where our collaborative funding can have a catalytic impact and where existing funding is nowhere near commensurate with the need,” said Matti Navellou, head of ICONIQ Impact.

“With the Ocean Co-Lab, we’re looking to fill a critical funding gap and champion solutions that governments and the private sector often overlook or are too early-stage to fund, such as new research in promising climate technology or supporting vulnerable coastal communities.”

“Tackling climate change is no small feat,” said Michael Anders, founding partner of ICONIQ Capital. “It takes courage and grit to look at an issue of this magnitude and say, ‘We can defeat this together.’ That’s what the Ocean Co-Lab’s participants — both our donors and grantees — are trying to do. It’s a remarkable moment when a group of philanthropists realizes the immense impact they can have if they pool resources and direct them toward experts and organizations who have been doing the work for decades. I’m really proud to be a founding donor of the Ocean Co-Lab, and our hope is to nudge more philanthropists closer to this type of collaborative, trust-based giving.”

The Ocean Co-Lab’s funding will provide three-year grants to 20 projects, each of which aims to address the root causes of climate change and help build resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities. Each project falls into one of the below categories:

Climate Change Mitigation: Five projects are scaling proven mitigation solutions, such as as decarbonized shipping and offshore wind power.

Carbon Sequestration: Four projects are applying scientific rigor to unlock emerging sequestration technologies, such as ocean alkalinity enhancement while protecting marine ecosystems.

Blue Carbon: Four projects are helping preserve and protect mangroves, salt marshes, and other critical ecosystems that absorb and store carbon.

Adaptation & Resilience: Seven projects are increasing the ocean’s resilience to climate stressors and supporting coastal communities in their ongoing efforts to withstand climate-induced shifts to their land and livelihoods.

Grantee organizations include:

Pacific Environment: Pacific Environment serves people, wildlife, and ecosystems by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities, leading strategic campaigns, and reforming international policies. Pacific Environment is expanding their Ports for People campaign to three of the world’s largest shipping economies: South Korea, Japan, and China. Specifically, they’re looking to put ships on mandatory zero-emission pathways, help create zero-emission trade routes, and end ports’ fossil fuel reliance.

Renewables Grid Initiative: Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) is a European-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting fair, transparent, and sustainable grid development. Since 2020, RGI has initiated a collaboration with 32 NGOs, transmission system operators, and wind developers in a project called Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature (OCEaN). OCEaN’s focus is to accelerate offshore wind and electricity grids while protecting and restoring marine ecosystems. Initially covering the North and Baltic seas, OCEaN has recently expanded to include the Mediterranean and Atlantic basins.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean science, marine research, engineering, and higher education. Their mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. The Subhas Lab at WHOI is looking to understand the effectiveness and scalability of ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE), a process where alkaline substances are added to the ocean to enhance its capacity to absorb and store carbon.

The Marine Tenure Facility for local communities, small-scale fishers, and Indigenous Peoples: The Marine Tenure Facility provides services and resources to groups that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Support from the upcoming Facility will enable these groups to secure and use their rights to coastal and marine spaces and resources, allowing them to continue to be effective stewards of coastal environments and supported as leaders in climate change response. The Facility will focus on ensuring that communities experience greater agency over the ways in which their coasts and oceans are used, conserved, managed, and adapted.

ICONIQ Impact has mobilized $42 million for this effort thus far and is inviting other philanthropists to join us to protect our ocean, and our planet, from a climate disaster. Philanthropists interested in learning more about or providing additional funding for the Ocean Co-Lab should contact ICONIQ Impact at iconiqimpact@iconiqcapital.com.

“Our focus at ICONIQ Impact is to identify areas where our collaborative funding can have a catalytic impact and where existing funding is nowhere near commensurate with the need,” said ICONIQ Impact head Matti Navellou.

“With the Ocean Co-Lab, we’re looking to fill a critical funding gap and champion solutions that governments and the private sector often overlook or are too early-stage to fund, such as new research in promising climate technology or supporting vulnerable coastal communities.”


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