Shopify paying B.C. firm to scrub CO2 from the atmosphere

Shopify sign
Shopify sign

Shopify said Tuesday it is paying a fellow Canadian company to remove 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it continues its multimillion-dollar effort to fight climate change.

Under the new deal, Shopify will pay Squamish, B.C.-based Carbon Engineering to take CO2 out of the air at a new facility that’s expected to start operating in 2024. The B.C. firm is working with U.S. partner 1PointFive to engineer the plant, which is expected to have the capacity to remove up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year using so-called direct-air capture (DAC) technology. 

The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant will be Carbon Engineering’s first customer. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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The new investment follows a pair of announcements from Shopify last September that will see it pay to remove CO2 from the atmosphere ​– a deal with Switzerland-based Climeworks to capture 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide and an agreement with Ottawa startup Planetary Hydrogen to help finance the local firm’s carbon-capture research efforts.

Shopify, which makes a platform that helps merchants build and manage online storefronts and is Canada’s most valuable publicly traded company, has pledged to invest a minimum of $5 million a year to combat climate change through its sustainability fund. 

“Large-scale DAC-based carbon removal is essential to undo 200 years of burning fossil fuels,” the fund’s director, Stacy Kauk, said in a statement. “We need others to join us with purchase commitments so we can kickstart the market, scale this technology globally, and start reversing climate change.”

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