The De Beers Group has announced a $2 million investment in Kelp Blue, an innovative start-up focused on growing and managing large-scale giant kelp forests, initially off the Namibian coast. These underwater forests have the potential to permanently and safely store large amounts of CO2 in the ocean.
Kelp forests have carbon sequestration properties that surpass terrestrial forests, and they help maintain healthy marine ecosystems by providing food and shelter for countless species, research shows.
In line with De Beers Group’s Building Forever sustainability goals, the investment is supporting a pioneering nature-based solution to sequester carbon and enhance biodiversity, while ensuring skills development and job creation in Namibia, where De Beers recovered diamonds through a joint venture partnership. with the Namibian government for almost three decades.
Kelp Blue was granted a license to farm giant kelp off the coast of Namibia in 2021, and the company is now in the pilot phase. The company will contribute to infrastructure development in and around Luderitz, benefiting the local community by creating employment and upskilling opportunities in kelp cultivation and processing.
During the pilot phase, the company will create a variety of direct and indirect jobs in Namibia in the fields of biotechnology, engineering, processing, support services and logistics.
The initiative will also help De Beers achieve its goal of achieving carbon neutrality across all of its operations by 2030. While the De Beers Group’s main objective to achieve this goal will be to increase efficiency and replace fossil fuels and fossil power from its operations with renewable alternatives, the carbon credits generated by investing in Kelp Blue will help the company eliminate all remaining emissions, in addition to other initiatives based on the nature.
Giant Kelp Underwater Forests
Neil Ventura, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Innovation, De Beers Group, said: “We are committed to being carbon neutral across all of our operations by 2030, and to achieve this ambitious goal we will need to recover some our emissions after having removed and replaced the majority of fossil energy in our company.
“Instead of simply buying carbon credits on the market, we seek to identify potential long-term, sustainable and innovative nature-based solutions, particularly those that can deliver additional carbon capture benefits beyond of our own company. Although there is still work to be done to better understand the scale of the opportunity, Kelp Blue is an innovative start-up with significant potential, and we are proud to invest in its future.
“In addition to protecting the natural world, another priority of our Building Forever sustainability framework is to engage with communities in our host countries on sustainability opportunities.” The potential benefits in Luderitz and elsewhere in Namibia – in terms of employment and support for “green” solutions to larger challenges – demonstrate how Kelp Blue’s goals align with our own approach to sustainability.
Giant Kelp Underwater Forests
Daniel Hooft, Founder and CEO of Kelp Blue, said: “We are very pleased to have De Beers on our side as they look to the future today. De Beers has communicated its commitment to protecting the natural world through its Building Forever 2030 sustainability goals, emphasizing carbon neutrality, minimizing its water footprint and delivering a net positive impact on biodiversity. These are one hundred percent aligned with Kelp Blue’s core passion and purpose.
“De Beers’ early investment in our offshore pilot – a world first in terms of scale and ambition – specifically helps us accelerate the quantification and verification of carbon sequestration pathways, which is essential for the seaweed industry in terms of scientifically establishing the potential of this new nature-based solution.