Stripe launches world’s first large-scale carbon removal purchase tool

  • Stripe Climate allows any internet business to take action on climate change in just a few clicks
  • Stripe Climate will allow millions of businesses running on Stripe to begin supporting promising carbon removal technologies
  • More than 25 beta users have already committed hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to carbon removal

SAN FRANCISCO—Stripe, a global technology company building economic infrastructure for the internet, today announced the launch of the world’s first product that allows any online business to contribute funds to technologies that remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere.

Starting today, Stripe users can help counteract climate change by directing a fraction of their revenue toward initiatives that permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—in just a few clicks and without writing a line of code.

Stripe won’t take any fees for Stripe Climate contributions, and will use 100% of the funds to accelerate the development of carbon removal technologies. The projects Stripe is currently supporting are the same four companies Stripe purchased $1m worth of carbon removal from in May 2020, and were selected with the help of an expert group of scientists and academics. The portfolio of carbon removal projects will evolve and expand as the fund grows.

The recent devastating wildfires in Australia and the American West have provided stark reminders of the need for effective climate action. But another of this year’s defining events—the Covid-19 pandemic—is pushing the economy online faster than ever before, creating new opportunities to use the internet to pool resources and coordinate meaningful climate action.

“Many of our users have told us they want to take climate action, but don’t because figuring out what to do can be time-intensive and complicated,” said Nan Ransohoff, Head of Climate at Stripe. “Stripe Climate makes it easy for businesses of any size to help tackle climate change by funding frontier carbon removal.”

Stripe’s powerful economic infrastructure is currently helping millions of businesses rapidly scale as spending shifts online. With Stripe Climate, Stripe is now deploying that infrastructure in service of the climate. Since August, more than 25 beta users of Stripe Climate have already committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to carbon removal technologies.

Carbon removal is critical to counteract climate change

The majority of climate models agree: to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, global emissions need to be reduced to net zero by 2050. To accomplish this, the world will likely need to both radically reduce the new emissions put into the air, and remove carbon already in the atmosphere.

Yet investments in carbon removal technologies have been startlingly minuscule for years. According to PwC, carbon removal startups received less than one percent of VC green technology funding from 2013-2019—and green technology itself only received 6% of total VC funding in 2019. Similarly, the demand for purchasing tons of carbon removal has historically been small.

“No single business can create enough demand to scale carbon removal on its own. But the millions of businesses running on Stripe, collectively, can help grow and sustain this new industry,” said Ransohoff. “Our goal is to create a large market for carbon removal. If successful, this market will accelerate the availability of low-cost, permanent carbon removal technologies, and increase the likelihood that the world has the portfolio of solutions needed to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.”

Earlier this year, Stripe spent $1 million of its own money on carbon removal from companies offering some of the most promising approaches, releasing the details of its purchase criteria in an open-sourced framework. There’s already evidence that Stripe’s early support has spurred experimentation and helped lower costs:

Climeworks is developing a new, larger carbon removal plant in Iceland.

Project Vesta is accelerating its experimental roadmap and boosting investments in research.

CarbonCure injects CO₂ into fresh concrete, where it mineralizes and is permanently stored while improving the concrete’s compressive strength. Today they source waste CO₂, but represent a promising platform technology for permanent CO₂ storage, a key component of future carbon removal systems.

Shaun Meehan, Chief Scientist of Charm Industrial, the fourth company Stripe purchased from, said: “Charm’s bio-oil sequestration process was just invented in March, and Stripe’s immediate but rigorously researched purchase in April has very quickly accelerated us. As a result of Stripe’s purchase, we’ve already been able to secure a bio-oil injection permit in Kansas, and with additional volumes from other purchasers, we’ve already been able to lower the costs of bio-oil sequestration by 12%. We’re super excited about what Stripe has enabled for the carbon removal ecosystem.”

Enabling companies of any size to support frontier carbon removal

Stripe’s enterprise customer momentum has continued of late, with recent partnerships including Atlassian, Instagram, Lightspeed, Maersk, Twilio, Zoom Video Communications, and Salesforce. As the only payments platform serving Fortune 500 companies alongside brand new startups, Stripe makes it easy for any internet company to start and scale their business—and now to use Stripe’s sophisticated payment tools to take meaningful climate action as well.

With Stripe Climate, beta users like Flexport, Substack, Flipcause, and OpenSnow can now support frontier carbon removal technologies in just a few clicks.

“We built Substack because, while it’s easy to be depressed about the current state of the media business, we think there’s tremendous opportunity for those daring enough to be optimistic. We feel the same way about climate change,” said Chris Best, Co-Founder and CEO of Substack. “We’re done with defaulting to depression. We want to help show the way to a better future—and better yet, we want to give all Substack writers the opportunity to join us. Stripe’s climate initiative is a gift because it removes all barriers to positive action. This program makes it easy, and valuable, to do the right thing. We’re proud to be part of it.“

“At Flexport, our mission is to make global trade easy for everyone. Flexport.org is built on the belief that the combination of technology, infrastructure and expertise will not only accomplish that lofty goal, but can even unlock new solutions to humanitarian and environmental issues. We see the same potential for impact in Stripe Climate’s thesis of using technology and infrastructure to drive climate action. We hope others will join us in this critical work,” said Susy Schöneberg, VP of Impact and General Manager of Flexport.org.

Stripe Climate is currently available in the U.S. and will roll out to more countries soon. Read more about Stripe Climate and sign up at www.stripe.com/climate.