Sourcing

De Beers Sinks $2M Into Startup That Grows Kelp Forests

SourcingApr 26, 2022

De Beers Sinks $2M Into Startup That Grows Kelp Forests

It’s an environmental investment that De Beers hopes will help it reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

De Beers is investing in environmental startup Kelp Blue, which wants to grow and maintain forests of giant kelp off the coast of Namibia to capture carbon and help sustain the marine ecosystem. (Photo credit: Kelp Blue)
London—On Earth Day, De Beers Group announced it was investing $2 million in a company looking to grow giant kelp off the coast of one of the African countries where it operates. 
 
Kelp Blue is a startup with offices in Amsterdam and Namibia that is focused on growing and maintaining large-scale forests of giant kelp. 
 
The largest of all algae, giant kelp can grow to be 150 feet long. Underwater forests of them can lock away vast amount of CO2 in the ocean while also helping to sustain healthy marine ecosystems by providing food and shelter for countless species. 
 
Kelp Blue was awarded a license to cultivate giant kelp off the coast of Namibia in 2021 and its program is currently in its pilot phase. 
 
The business will contribute to infrastructure development and create employment and upskilling opportunities in kelp cultivation and processing in and around Lüdertiz, a coastal town in southwestern Namibia, De Beers said. 
 
During the pilot phase, Kelp Blue is expected to generate direct and indirect jobs in biotechnology, engineering, processing, support services and logistics.
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
De Beers’ investment in Kelp Blue is line with its sustainability goals under its “Building Forever” initiative, as it supports a nature-based solution for capturing carbon and enhancing biodiversity. It also addresses another priority under Building Forever—bringing sustainable development to the countries where it mines.
 
In addition, the investment could help De Beers reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 by giving it access to potential carbon credits generated by Kelp Blue.
 
Carbon credits are purchased by companies to make up for greenhouse gas emissions, either on the open market or via investments in projects that involve the reduction, destruction or capture of CO2 emissions. 
 
De Beers said its “primary focus” in becoming carbon neutral will be on increasing efficiency and replacing fossil fuel and fossil-based energy in its operations with “renewable alternatives.” 
 
But that won’t be enough to become carbon neutral, so it will have to rely on carbon credits to make up the difference and would like to do so via investment in projects like Kelp Blue. 
 
Executive Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Neil Ventura explained: “Instead of simply purchasing carbon credits on the market, we are looking to identify potential long-term, sustainable and innovative nature-based solutions for this, particularly those that can deliver additional carbon capture benefit beyond our business. 
 
“While there is still work to be done to understand more about the scale of opportunity, Kelp Blue is an innovative startup with significant potential.” 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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