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In brief: Environmental data solutions provider raises $10m

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Published: 12 April 2024

Plus, UK farmers offered finance scheme to reduce costs and decarbonise | Wattron, a specialist in digital heating systems for the packaging industry raises €12m.

Tesco and NatWest have launched a financing scheme for 1500 sustainable farmers for beef, lamb and dairy | Jakob Cotton on Unsplash

Iceberg Data Lab (IDL) has raised $10m (€9.2m) in the first close of a Series A funding round led by Beringea, a venture capital firm based in the UK and US.

The green fintech company, which provides science-based climate and biodiversity data solutions for financial institutions, also received funding from MAIF Avenir, an early-stage venture capital investor which backs companies with an environmental, social or societal mission, AXA Investment Managers and other existing investors.

This latest fundraising brings total funding raised by IDL to over $15m (€13.8m) and will be used to expand the company’s presence globally, focusing on its key strategic markets, including the UK, developing its product pipeline, and investing in technologies to enhance its client solutions offering.

IDL highlighted the surge in environmental regulation such as the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and the recommendations of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) which it said had strengthened rules and recommendations around environmental risk reporting, particularly the impact of investment portfolios on climate, nature, and biodiversity. As a result, the firm said, more accessible, more reliable, and higher quality environmental data was needed.

Piotr Bukanski, investment manager at Beringea UK, agreed: “Financial institutions are having to adapt rapidly to a complex and evolving environmental regulation, driven by global consensus on the need to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.”

He said that IDL is ‘unique’ in partnering granular environmental data with comprehensive, AI-enabled solutions in a scalable way.

IDL is targeting a final close of its Series A at $11m (€10.1m).

UK farmers offered finance scheme to reduce costs and decarbonise

Supermarket giant Tesco and UK bank NatWest have launched a financing scheme for 1500 farmers who work with Tesco and are part of the supermarket’s sustainable farming groups for beef, lamb and dairy.

The voluntary programme, which has been designed with farmers’ input, will provide the farmers with preferential rates on finance to help them switch to sustainable farming methods, including installing renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and fossil fuel-free heating or cooling systems, such as heat pumps.

The financial package is being offered through asset funder Lombard, which is part of NatWest, and includes nil fee, zero deposit subject to status and repayments which the bank said were tailored to customer needs. Farmers will also be given access to Tesco preferred suppliers, with potential volume discounts offered on renewable energy assets.

Assets which are included through the new partnership cover solar panels, wind turbines, biomass boilers, LED lighting, battery storage and combined heat and power systems.

The sustainable farming groups, the first of which was set up in 2007 to support dairy farmers through economic uncertainty, are led by suppliers, farmers and Tesco staff to drive improvements in efficiency, environmental performance, including carbon foot-printing, and farm animal welfare.

Research commissioned by Tesco with the groups found that more than 50% of farmers want to move to more sustainable farming practices, but needed help accessing finance to support them to make the necessary investments.

Specialist in digital heating systems for the packaging industry raises €12m

German company Wattron, which specialises in digital temperature control systems for the packaging industry, has raised €12m in a funding round led by the Circular Innovation Fund, a VC fund led by cleantech investors Demeter and Cycle Capital, and impact investors European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF).

Other investors included TGFS Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen, Constancia New Business (CNB), SKion, and angel investor Rico Kleinhempel.

Wattron has developed proprietary digital heating systems technology cera2seal and cera2heat, which work as thermoforming and sealing applications that can be used in the flexible packaging industry to process sustainable materials without loss of productivity or quality, whilst saving energy. Wattron’s clients are fast-moving consumer goods companies, original equipment manufacturers, and flexible packaging manufacturers such as Coesia, Mespack, GEA and Constantia Flexibles, who the company explains can use its technology with full temperature control on an individual pixel level to improve their productivity.

Only last month, the EU’s packaging rules were revised with agreement reached around the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, which will require that all packaging is recyclable and that the presence of substances of concern is minimised.

Wattron said it would use the money raised to further develop its technological capabilities and expand into the American and Asian markets.

Guillaume Gras, investment director at the ECBF, said: “Wattron’s technology represents a quantum leap in sustainable packaging, drastically cutting carbon emissions by reducing material and energy usage, and enabling the use of monomaterials, which significantly enhances recyclability.

“Simultaneously enhancing production efficiency and cost-effectiveness, this investment signifies more than financial support; it’s a commitment to pioneering a greener, more efficient future in the packaging industry.”

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