Nature tech in action: At the cutting edge of nature-based solutions

News 29.06.23


Hosted by Nature4Climate and MRV Collective during London Climate Action Week, this event – Nature Tech in Action – offered a platform to entrepreneurs. It drew a crowd of investors and climate professionals to Covent Garden to learn more about the latest innovations for climate and nature. 

Although each entrepreneur had only five minutes to share their vision, they conveyed the vast and varied range of technologies currently available and ready to scale. We could be, according to one speaker, entering the ‘golden age of nature restoration’. Indeed, ranging from forest biomass calculation to eDNA sequencing, these technologies hold immense potential to address many of the challenges facing the world of nature-based solutions.


The challenges for nature-based climate solutions

  1. Silos and fragmentation
  2. Transparency and trust
  3. Funding

Numerous entrepreneurs referred to a landscape of silos and fragmentation for nature-based solutions. With valuable data hidden in spreadsheets and PDFs, the market struggles to engage in effective cross-dataset analysis. 

Such fragmentation reduces transparency and trust in nature-based projects. Yes, those on the ground can see the impacts of their work, but without clear, accessible data this cannot be communicated to financial institutions and investors.

However, neither of these challenges can be addressed unless we tackle the underlying issue; there remains a large and significant gap between funding requirements and funding realities. Indeed, the latest UN State of Finance for Nature report asserts that financial flows to nature must reach USD 384 billion per year by 2025. Currently hovering around USD 154 billion, that means funding levels must double in the next year and a half. 

The tech solutions

  1. Radical collaboration
  2. Measurement and impact
  3. Acceleration

Yet there is hope – this event showcased the true power of tech for action at the nexus of climate and nature. Deployed at scale, nature tech holds great potential for mitigating the challenges currently facing nature-based solutions. 

Many entrepreneurs cited radical collaboration as a tool to combat silos and fragmentation. Speakers called for greater data accessibility and more corporate connection. Such international engagement and knowledge sharing can help deliver nature tech solutions at speed.

Radical collaboration can do more than tackle fragmentation; it also aids measurement and impact reporting from nature-based projects. Investment in nature tech innovations is more likely if the environmental impact is communicated with clarity. And it’s not all about the carbon – investors wish to see evidence of the benefits brought to people and biodiversity too. Nature tech makes impacts visible, unlocking a virtuous cycle of transparency, trust and investment that can accelerate financial flows to nature-based projects.

Tech is our tool, not our master

As the presentations drew to a close, Justin Adams of Just Climate offered some considered, concluding remarks.

“As all the headlines around AI demonstrate, there is a danger that technology has become the god at which we worship rather than the tool in our hands to create and shape a better world,” he said.

“It’s important that we are using technology to support communities, particularly for those who have, for so long, been disempowered by globalisation. Radical collaboration is going to be critical to unlock this.”

While tech clearly offers solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing nature-based projects, we must proceed with caution. Without awareness, nature tech could be championed in preference to the countless ecologists and local environmental stewards who have been conserving land for generations. It is vital that tech works for people; not against them. 

Presented with such innovation, reference to a ‘golden age’ does not seem an exaggeration. Nature tech is in action, primed and ready to scale operations to the next level. But with just seven years until 2030, we must seriously increase funding for nature-based climate solutions with immediate effect. 

We would like to thank the following companies for their insightful presentations and contributions to the make this event possible:

  • Cultivo 
  • Cecil
  • Chloris Geospatial
  • Earthly
  • Land Life
  • Nature Metrics
  • Pachama
  • Space Intelligence
  • Pivotal
  • Sylvera
  • Terraformation
  • Zulu Forest Sciences

For more on nature tech see this link to our two reports and video:

“It’s important that we are using technology to support communities, particularly for those who have, for so long, been disempowered by globalisation. Radical collaboration is going to be critical to unlock this.”

Justin Adams, Just Climate