By Climate Salad member, Glenn Bartlett. Head of Strategy at Alberts Impact Ventures.

The great advances in our standard of living over the last hundred years have come primarily from great advances in industry, reflecting humanity’s unprecedented productive ability.  

Unfortunately, that productive capability has to date gone hand in hand with an ever more powerful destructive capability. Human progress is undeniably linked to environmental destruction. Every mineral mined, tree chopped, and species denied its habitat in the name of progress, comes at a cost, which if it wasn’t for the failure of accounting to capture externalities, would show up in almost every P&L.

Simply put, if this carries on, we don’t.

“The land is the mother, and we are of the land; we do not own the land rather the land owns us. The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and our identity.”  – Dennis Foley, a Gai-Mariagal and Wiradjuri man, and Fulbright scholar.

The situation in Australia is as dire as it gets. We have the highest extinction rate across all species of any developed country in the world, and Eastern Australia has been named a top 11 deforestation hotspot, the only developed country on the list (WWF). If the whole world lived like we do, we would need 5 worlds.  

The current Government, with its astonishing inability to focus on anything but here and now issues appears incapable of solving the existential crises that will destroy the very life support system on which we all depend. We’ve seen this playout for the 26th time at COP 26. Pledge heavy. Action light.  

That’s why at Alberts we believe, somewhat sadly, that the best way to achieve a sustainable planetary future is through the same mechanism that has imperilled it, business. Specifically, pioneering entrepreneurs unburdened by a legacy business to defend, working to delink progress and environmental impact.

We’re focused on investing in businesses across 4 overlapping areas within our environmental sustainability theme:

  • Low Carbon World – Does the business drive a lower carbon economy, help us adapt to a carbon-constrained world or help us prosper in a climate affected world’?  
  • Food & Water Security Does the business make the task of feeding 9.8 billion people more efficient?
  • Circular Economy Does the business profitably reduce virgin resource use and eliminate waste?  
  • Sustainable Cities – Does the business fundamentally contribute to a more resource-efficient and healthy urban environment?  

To date we’ve invested in:

  • MGA Thermal, a thermal energy storage company working to enable the transition to renewables with a grid-level storage technology;  
  • ULUU, a carbon-negative plastic replacement made from seaweed;
  • Amber, a unique wholesale electricity company empowering Australians to drive the demand for more renewables;  
  • AirRobe, which is tackling the surprisingly polluting fashion industry;
  • Grid Cognition, a powerful software platform designed to help accelerate investment in a decentralised renewable energy future and
  • Sendle, carbon-neutral deliveries fueling sustainable cities

We’ve also evolved the way we do business in line with our values and BCorp commitment.  

If you’re a pioneering entrepreneur working on a business that is advancing human development while sustaining and renewing the natural eco-systems on which that development depends then we’d love to chat.  

And to end with a little good news. Studies suggest if we just start investing 2 per cent of global annual G.D.P. in developing eco-friendly technologies and eco-friendly infrastructure, that should be enough to prevent catastrophic climate change.  

Just 2%.

Jan 24, 2022

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