Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Carbon Footprint Reduction Plan

Today, my partners and I announced an extensive plan to:
  • offset 100 percent of our firm's estimated 728 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions beginning this year;
  • to purchase offsets for our young portfolio companies (the dozen or so with 15 or fewer employees, and probably 3 to 5 more startups each year); and
  • to reduce our total carbon emissions 25 percent by 2013 (and continue to purchase carbon credits to offset the balance).
Henry Bessemer (1813-1898)We follow in the tradition of our namesake, Sir Henry Bessemer, whose inventive process dramatically reduced both the carbon and the energy required to refine steel. The culture and values of a business most often take root early in its life cycle, so we will instill environmental awareness in startups at the time of inception. Our goal is to fund a new generation of companies committed to constructive carbon policies that reduce the harmful emissions which cause global warming. And our hope is that other investment firms will follow suit.

Justin Label (head of Bessemer's CleanTech practice):
"While we have set aggressive targets, we also recognize that energy is critical to the economy and that for the foreseeable future, most energy will have a carbon footprint. Therefore, being 'carbon neutral' is not our ultimate goal. Rather, we hope this initiative will serve as a way to stay engaged on carbon issues and add to the pool of capital available for creative solutions."

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  1. This is great!

    I'd be excited to hear how you guys are able to determine what good offset programs are. There's been a lot of skepticism around the actual impact of some of the tree-planting offsets.


  2. Excellent plan. Reducing server power requirements for the Web 2.0+ should be a goal in parallel with offsets.

  3. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Like Ian, I'm very interested to learn the full details of which carbon offset program you'll go with. You sound like you don't realize most of those programs are pretty much scams. But the one thing you don't sound naive about is the idea that only a hypocrite would want to be carbon "neutral." If all energy sources in the United States were carbon neutral, greenhouse gases would still rise. The goal of people who care about this issue should be carbon reductions, not neutrality. The only talk of "offsets" should be, how can we offset what China and India are doing? The answer is reductions, not neutrality.

  4. Anonymous7:05 AM

    What happens in, say 5 years time, when it slowly dawns on the mainstream that they have been duped into thinking that global warming was caused by man?

    Will the companies which went down the road to buying pardons from Gaia via St Al, be seen for being the gullible ones who will fall for anything? Surely that is going to effect any long term returns you guys would get?

    Don't take my word for it - talk to a scientist who's funding doesn't rely on government grants!

  5. Anonymous12:32 AM

    If you think that tree planting is a scam that is because you are giving money to people you don't know. In Thailand where I live now, I have bought over a thousand trees from Touchwood a company started in Sri Lanka. The company started many years ago and came to Thailand about 4 years ago maybe. I know most of the people who work in the Bangkok office now when I first started buying trees I thought like some of you do but the company is still here and I have visited my trees several times. All the trees are numbered and I havecertificates with the numbers on them. They get audited annually from KPMG. As far as I can tell, they are above board.

  6. Anonymous6:44 AM

    Great initiative. I know big firms like accenture have been offsetting carbon credits for travel globally.. but its good to hear a venture firm taking initiative on behalf of its portfolio.

  7. Anonymous12:31 PM

    What happens is in 5 years you will come to know the truth and stop watching Fox News...