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Climeworks and Swiss Re sign the world’s first and largest 10-year purchase agreement for direct air capture and storage of carbon dioxide

Key take-aways:

  • Scientists and opinion leaders agree that direct air capture and storage is needed to fight climate change and the technology needs to be scaled up as soon as possible as highlighted in a recent IPCC report

  • In a pioneering commitment, Swiss Re signs the world’s first and largest 10-year carbon removal purchase agreement with direct air capture and storage worth 10 million USD

  • Further, Climeworks and Swiss Re have committed to a strategic partnership. The collaboration will include developing risk management knowledge and risk transfer solutions, as well as exploring future investment and project finance opportunities

  • Such a partnership is unique and so far unrivaled in the voluntary carbon market for high-quality carbon removal. It is a unique lever to support the development of the direct air capture and storage industry

The summer of 2021 has shown a vast variety of extreme weather events around the world and thereby given an outlook on the consequences of the climate crisis. To limit global warming to pre-industrial levels, we need to do everything we can. The latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that it is crucial to reduce our emissions drastically and on top of that remove unavoidable and historic carbon emissions from the air permanently. Climeworks’ carbon dioxide removal via direct air capture technology is the only solution that can reduce atmospheric concentration of CO₂ in a scalable manner by capturing CO₂ from the air today and storing it permanently underground.

Swiss Re’s pioneering commitment

Swiss Re committed in 2019 to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2030 by reducing their carbon footprint and removing any residual emissions. They are walking the talk by committing to a unique long-term partnership with Climeworks. Swiss Re and Climeworks are launching a cutting-edge collaboration by signing the world’s first 10-year carbon removal purchase agreement. This first-of-its-kind agreement is worth 10 million USD. Both the length and the total value of the partnership are so far unrivaled in the voluntary carbon market for this type of innovative high-quality carbon removal. The partnership with Swiss Re is of integral importance to Climeworks: the re/insurance industry is at the forefront of assessing complex risk structures including those of climate change. Re/insurers are capable of structuring those risks and allocating them in an efficient way. Swiss Re’s unique long-term commitment sends once again a strong signal emphasizing that a pure and unfiltered climate solution like Climeworks’ technology is important to reach the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Christian Mumenthaler, Swiss Re's Group CEO and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum's Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders
"To mitigate the risks of climate change, the world needs to scale-up carbon removal on top of, not instead of emission reductions. By partnering with Climeworks we can play to our strengths in this endeavour, as a risk taker, investor, and forward-looking buyer of climate solutions.”

Supporting the rapid scale-up

This commitment is by its nature providing a structure for interested buyers to enter into similar purchase agreements with Climeworks. Swiss Re is sending a key demand signal to carbon removal solution providers and investors. Pioneering customers like Swiss Re and their long-term commitment prove that a market for measurable and permanent carbon dioxide removals already exists today and will grow significantly in the future.  Bringing climate solutions to scale not only requires the right demand signals but also de-risking and financing. This is why the partnership between Swiss Re and Climeworks goes beyond the pioneering 10-year carbon removal purchase agreement with further joint activities being assessed together.

Powered by nature

Powered solely by renewable energy, Climeworks’ direct air capture plants capture CO₂ from the air. In Iceland, Climeworks’ partner Carbfix mixes the CO₂ with water and pumps it deep underground where it reacts with the basaltic rock formations and mineralizes: the CO₂ literally turns into stone. Climeworks’ technology is scalable and does not compete with arable land. This September, Climeworks is going to launch its new large-scale direct air capture and storage plant “Orca” in Iceland, bringing large-scale direct air capture technology to reality. 

Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks
”We are very proud to have established the basis for a unique long-term partnership with the leading risk knowledge company Swiss Re. This is a decisive milestone for the scale-up of Climeworks and the direct air capture industry.”

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