Investing in Ocean Ledger—scalable approach to coastal natural capital accounting


Investing in Ocean Ledger—scalable approach to coastal natural capital accounting

Words Founders Factory

January 18th 2024 / 3 min read

We’re excited to announce our latest investment through Blue Action Accelerator—Ocean Ledger. 

The problem

Coastal ecosystems (i.e coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves) are vital natural habitats that provide an array of vital ecosystem services supporting industries, communities and our atmosphere. For example, Blue Carbon Ecosystems (BCEs) sequester and store vast quantities of carbon—as much as 1000 tonnes of carbon per hectare. Collectively, coastal BCEs are estimated to store anywhere between 2-4x more carbon than terrestrial ecosystems.

Currently, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of coastal natural assets relies heavily on manual field surveys and sampling, or inaccurate global remote sensing datasets. Manual sampling is limited in frequency and scale, and it is expensive, time-consuming, and does not provide comprehensive spatial data on changes over time. While it will remain a crucial part of the equation, there is a massive opportunity to push towards standardisation and optimisation of field data collection for Earth Observation analysis to in turn guide field data acquisition, resulting in major time & cost gains, whilst improving the accuracy and quality of the analytical output. 

This results in major gaps:

  • High-quality carbon offsets—a lack of robust MRV, among many socio-economic challenges, inhibit the scale up of high-integrity blue carbon projects (only 0.2% of VCM and mostly mangroves) that can be priced at a premium due to their crucial ecosystem services

  • For industry (tourism, coastal development, offshore wind)--these rely on a tick-box approach to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and lack the understanding of where and how they can engage in targeted conservation & restoration activities 

  • For conservation groups—limited project scale and monitoring robustness due to time & cost constraints, lack of time series makes it difficult to assess positive/negative impact and accountability 

  • For local communities—changes to critical coastal ecosystems like seagrasses go undetected. These habitats are major lifelines for coastal communities, reliant on fishing and tourism, by supporting biodiversity, erosion control, storm protection, and water quality

  • For governments and regulators—lack of national-scale coastal ecosystem accounting i.e major uncertainties in ecosystem extent, condition and value (tier 2 and 3 carbon) - due to a lack of standardised cross-regional data. This inhibits policy development, nationally-determined contributions and formation of carbon credit markets. 

  • For scientists—a lack of consistent time-series data limits our understanding of the trajectory, health and ecosystem services of the immensely valuable yet threatened coastal ecosystems

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The solution

Ocean Ledger is a coastal ecosystem accounting startup, utilising satellite data, in-situ reference data, and advanced processing techniques to holistically measure and visualise coastal ecosystem services, with a mission to drive marine conservation and restoration on a global scale.

Their 100% cloud-based, high-resolution coastal ecosystem mapping and analysis software provides insights on ecosystem extent, health and value which can enable targeted investment, management, and robust impact reporting. Moreover, it is 7x faster and 11x cheaper than present direct observation methods at a regional scale.

The team

Paige Roepers (CEO & co-founder)

An experienced diver with field experience in the Bahamas, Indonesia and Fiji, Paige combines a passion for marine conservation with commercial and financial acumen. She studied biology at the University of St. Andrews, before various roles in investment banking at Barclays and as a strategy consultant at Founders Intelligence. 

Dr Dimos Traganos (CTO & co-founder)

Dimos has dedicated his career, academically and professionally, to understanding and improving ocean and coastal ecosystems utilising contemporary monitoring and computation technologies. Ocean Ledger’s core technology is built off the back of Dimos’ eight-year research on coastal aquatic remote sensing at the German Aerospace Agency (DLR), through his led Global Seagrass Watch technology transfer project and PhD thesis on 'Development of seagrass monitoring techniques using remote sensing data' from Osnabrück University, Germany

Why we’re excited to invest

Olivia Brooks, investor at Blue Action Accelerator, says: “With Dimos' extensive experience leveraging satellite data for ocean mapping and Paige's commercial drive and passion, they are a great team to make Ocean Ledger the key analytics platform for scalable, accurate blue carbon measurement. As demand rises for robust MRV technologies to validate blue carbon credits, satellite-based analysis will form a key piece in that puzzle. The more we have the ability to map and value natural capital assets in the ocean, the more we can protect them going forward.”

What they’re looking to get out of the programme

  • Drive product development & go-to-market to transform their core software into sticky, impactful product

  • Leverage BAA’s network of investors & corporates to amplify the business case for coastal ecosystem protection and restoration

  • Build a powerful partner network across finance, industry, conservation and research, test out alliances and technology in Bahamas

Building in the ocean and costal space?

Apply for Blue Action Accelerator

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