New research: Vast majority of VC-backed UK startups do *nothing* on climate emissions

Some 76% of the top 500 VC-backed UK startups have done nothing to either measure or offset their carbon emissions, according to new research shared exclusively with TechCrunch. In total, these companies have raised $40 billion in VC funding. Furthermore, of the VCs looked at, the highest only scored 37 out of a possible 100 in the ranking, with the lowest on 3.

Fintech businesses turned out to be doing the most on climate: Monzo (raised $1.2bn), Oaknorth Bank (raised $861m) and Tide (raised $294m). These were followed by Faculty (an AI developer, raised $52m) and insurtech company Yulife (raised $207m). Worst performing out of the top 100 in the 500-strong index were Doccla (raised $23), Multiverse (raised $414m), Cera (raised $303m) and Motorway (raised $272m).

Investors such as Latitude, Molten Ventures and Tencent achieved high average climate scores, while Samos Accel and Passion Capital had amongst the lowest.

The VC leaderboard ranked firms by their portfolio’s climate actions. Each VC’s average climate score was calculated by the sum of climate scores across all of their investments in the top 500 divided by the number of companies they’ve invested in from the top 500.

Some ‘household names’ in Uk VC ranked outside the top ten including Notion Capital (11), GV, Index Ventures (13), Balderton Capital (18), and Seedcamp (27).

VCs and climate

UK VCs and climate

The report, published by climate measuring and offsetting startup Supercritical, looked at a possible range of actions covering emissions measurement, carbon reduction, purchasing offsets and hiring for a climate role. Supercritical aims its services largely at tech companies.

The research analysed 500 VC-backed companies which are headquartered in the UK, with over $20 million in funding and a headcount above 30.

In the index, Edtech companies scored the highest on average, folled by climate tech, food, transport and real estate.

The index also estimated the cost of being climate conscious, using data from Supercritical’s customers. The report found that the average cost of carbon measurement and high quality offsets was £61,635 per year, equating to a mere £4.98 per employee per week.

Dr. Steve Smith, University of Oxford (co-lead of the Net Zero Tracker and co-author of the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting) said in a statement: “Ending climate change should be everyone’s business. Companies around the world are realising this, with a third of the world’s largest PLCs now pledging to go to net zero emissions. It is getting harder to excuse those without a climate target, and easier for companies to measure their own carbon footprint.”

Fifty-two of the top 100 companies in the index were founded since 2016, suggesting that younger companies are quicker to measure their footprint than incumbents.

Michelle You, Supercritical Co-founder, told me: “Our research shows that measuring emissions and offsetting with high quality removals would cost an average of £5 per employee per week… We think our community has a responsibility to act and show the world what climate leadership looks like. We solve problems, we innovate, we move fast, we’re data driven, and we’re first principles thinkers — there is no bigger challenge today than the climate crisis.”

The following are UK Tech companies ranked 1-100 in terms of climate efficacy by Supercritical’s Climate 100 report. The ranking is a combination of whether the company had measured its carbon footprint; planned and/or started reductions; purchased removal offsets; purchased conventional offsets; set a climate target; is communicating progress; or has a climate role in the business

Monzo Bank
OakNorth Bank
Tide
Faculty
Yulife
Immersive Labs
what3words
Infogrid
Origami Energy
Ometria
Perlego
Allplants
Bumper
Satellite Vu
Gravitiq
Pupil
Impala
Urban Jungle
Habito
Pangaia
GoCardless
Onfido
TVS Supply Chain Solutions
Zego
Soldo
Moneybox
MoneyFarm
Sylvera
BCB Group
Wildanet
Winnow
Connexin
Culture Trip
Notpla
Rovco
Daye
Oddbox
Altruistiq
Revolut
Gousto
Ogury
Anyvan
Fnatic
OLIO
Yapily
Element
Tymit
Lifebit
The Modern Milkman
Dronamics
The Bike Club
XMOS
Skyrora
Accurx
RedSift
Ledgy
Thirdfort
Landbay
Zumo
Everledger
Nothing
Ieso Digital Health
Butternut Box
Wirex
Perkbox
Wagestream (formerly Earnd)
Zeelo
HelloSelf
PhoreMost
Zen Educate
Beamery
ConnexOne
Oxbotica
Carwow
Payhawk
Huma
Bit bio
Birdie
SenSat
Raylo
Induction Healthcare Group PLC
causaLens
Hoxton Farms
VFC Foods
Previse
Project Etopia
Bondaval
Garrison Technology
Sourceful
Divido
Prolific
Superscript
Doccla
Multiverse
Cera
Motorway


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