Greentech startup Invert inks deal aimed at helping preserve Amazon rainforest

Invert Amazon rainforest image
Ottawa-based Invert is funding two projects to help prevent deforestation in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Photo courtesy Invert

An Ottawa greentech company that landed millions of dollars in venture capital last year is joining forces with a Brazilian company to help fund efforts to protect hundreds of thousands of acres of Amazon rainforest.

Invert announced Tuesday it’s investing US$1.5 million in two projects aimed at saving about 270,000 acres of the world’s largest rainforest – about 60 million trees – from being cut down.

The Ottawa firm has signed a 30-year agreement with Moss, a Brazilian climate-tech company, that will see the two organizations collaborate on forest conservation initiatives in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

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Invert will receive a percentage of the total carbon credits generated over the length of the deal. Businesses and individuals will be able to purchase offset credits from the existing projects on Invert’s app starting this fall. 

The company will also have the right of first refusal on investment in future projects, which it says will pave the way for the “ongoing, scalable creation of critical conservation projects” in the biologically diverse region.

“The continued conservation of the Amazon rainforest has long been recognized as an important tool in mitigating climate change and protecting global biodiversity, and in Moss we have found a partner that shares our goals and values in investing in credible, regional projects with international impact,” Invert co-chief executive Andre Fernandez said in a statement. 

“The Invert team was impressed by the diligence of the Moss project team and believes these projects, and all future opportunities, will provide our clients – both businesses and individuals – with access to an unrivaled carbon credit project portfolio.”

The agreement comes a few months after Invert closed a $25-million funding round led by mining company Altius Minerals.

Now at 42 employees, Invert was founded in 2021 by a group of former executives at cannabis producer Canopy Growth. The company says its goal is to attack climate change on two fronts: funding technology that actually reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and allowing people to buy credits that ensure their greenhouse gas contributions are offset by equivalent reductions in other areas.

Brazil is expected to be a major focus of investment for Invert. About 60 per cent of the Amazon is located within the country’s borders, and the forest contains about 10 per cent of the world’s total carbon stores from vegetation.

But deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon hit a 15-year high in 2021, when the forest for the first time reportedly emitted more greenhouse gases than it absorbed. Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has pledged to crack down on illegal logging and mining in the Amazon, with the aim of reaching net-zero deforestation by the end of the decade.

Invert’s new deal follows agreements it signed last year with Aperam Steel, Brazil’s largest steelmaker, and B.C.-based BC Biocarbon to purchase carbon removal credits for corporations and customers.

The company has so far invested in about a dozen carbon-capture projects in three countries. Individuals can also contribute to the projects via Invert’s platform by paying a monthly subscription fee to invest in technology and accumulate credits that help offset the carbon emissions they generate through their daily activities

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