Europe Tech Firms Make Carbon Neutral Pledge As Investors Add Sustainability Clause To Startup Deals
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Some of Europe’s biggest tech companies and major venture capital funds have just joined Leaders for Climate Action (LFCA), an initiative that advocates climate action in the digital industry. By pledging to be a part of the LFCA, tech firms including Delivery Hero and Ecosia have committed to carbon neutrality, while VCs subject themselves to new sustainability standards, such as adding a “Sustainability Clause” to their default term sheets and shareholder agreements with newly financed startups.
Representing some of the fastest growing digital tech firms in the region, Delivery Hero, BlaBla Car, Wefox, Doctolib, Ecosia, GetYourGuide, Flixbus, Glovo, Cabify and Personio say they will reduce their carbon footprint to net-zero as part of their membership with the one-year-old Berlin-based nonprofit LFCA. To join the initiative, these firms must fulfill the “Green Pledge”, which dictates regular measurement, reduction and offsetting of their carbon emissions.
Our goal is to turn the whole digital industry climate neutral, influence policy makers to set a global carbon price and act as an example for other industries.Ferry Heilemann, Co-Founder of LFCA
LFCA also announced the joining of a number of major tech VCs, including E.ventures, Heartcore Capital, Northzone, Picus Capital, Project A, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Acton Capita and Earlybird. These firms will be required to include a new “Sustainability Clause” in the term sheets and deals they make when they sign on new startups, which means that the newly financed companies must also measure their emissions and integrate climate action policies.
“Our goal is to turn the whole digital industry climate neutral, influence policy makers to set a global carbon price and act as an example for other industries,” said Ferry Heilemann, co-founder of the LFCA, which has since its inception grown its membership to 100,000 employees and around a billion active users.
Collectively, the LFCA community has driven over €4 million (US$4.7 million) in climate protection projects, saving more than 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide. More than 60% of its member tech companies have already implemented measures ranging from using renewable energy to switching to carbon neutral cloud providers, while over two-dozen VCs have integrated the “Sustainability Clause” for all their new startup deals.
“Thanks to this clear public and personal commitment, changes in companies can go much faster than ever before,” said Boris Wasmuth, co-founder of the LFCA and Gameduell, one of the largest cross-platform gaming companies based in Berlin.
We see climate action as a journey that everyone needs to start today. We focus on companies that are not sustainable yet, but are willing to take measurable steps to change this.Jeremias Heinrich, Co-Founder of LFCA
Ultimately, the co-founders of the LFCA hope that the initiative will spiral into a mass movement across the tech industry, whose many sectors now represent some of the fastest growing in the world, from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to blockchain, online marketplaces and gaming.
“We see climate action as a journey that everyone needs to start today,” said Jeremias Heinrich, co-founder of LFCA. “We focus on companies that are not sustainable yet, but are willing to take measurable steps to change this.”
Beyond the tech industry, global corporations – including some of the most polluting fossil fuel firms – have too made pledges in recent months to ramp up their sustainability efforts as the world shifts its focus on the responsibility of businesses to take action. Earlier this month, members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), among them Chevron, Volkswagen and P&G, agreed to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050 along with a slew of other environmental targets.
Lead image courtesy of Ecosia.