Donna Lee, the founder of Calyx Carbon Ratings, is questioned.

Calyx was established when?
In 2021, Calyx was established.
What served as the business’s original source of inspiration?

We both realized there was a significant difficulty facing businesses that were just beginning to participate in the market while Duncan van Bergen, my co-founder, and I were observing the development of the carbon markets from various angles. Without truly specialized expertise, determining if “a ton is a ton” can be very challenging. Many businesses won’t be able to afford or find such knowledge.

As a result, businesses decide how to offset their emissions with carbon credits that may or may not correspond to the tons they intend to replace.

We recognized a chance to inform the market in a way that may have a greater impact, particularly for businesses that genuinely care about combating climate change.

How were your earlier climatic experiences a driving force behind Calyx?

Since I’ve been working on climate change for about 20 years, I’ve noticed how limited our remaining, acceptable carbon budget has become. As a result, we must take advantage of every opportunity to reduce emissions.

Maybe that’s why I was so interested in developing Calyx; the voluntary market is only going to expand. Is there a way to make it more efficient?

If you were starting the business today, what would you change?

I would have begun it sooner! By the end of 2022, we will just be arriving in a position to notify the market. We began assembling professionals from various fields in 2021, and it took us more than a year to develop our frameworks. In the interim, I have observed massive investments in ventures that might not be the most appropriate for carbon markets. I hope we can reverse that and direct this expanding funding into more effective forms of mitigation.

Describe Calyx.

Calyx Global is a carbon credit grading company that aids companies in selecting superior carbon credits. The company was established in 2021 with the goal of enhancing the quality and impact of the voluntary carbon market while providing investors with a tool to control financial and reputational risk. Better carbon markets for people and the environment are our goal.

How does Calyx function?
We offer thorough, comparable evaluations of carbon credits.

Importantly, we have established a transparent governance framework. So far, we have two panels: an Greenhouse Gas integrity panel and a Sustainable Development Goals impact panel , both of which are composed of authorities in the pertinent domains and supervise our grading methodologies.

However, Calyx Global is in charge of grading each project individually following the methods recommended by our panels. Each rating is examined by peers before being examined by a professional.

We provide three services : Calyx Ratings Service, an online membership that allows one to view all of our ratings, Calyx Project Reports that give comprehensive details about each rating, and Calyx Data Integration, which enables Calyx ratings to be included in marketplaces and exchanges.

What distinguishes Calyx ratings from other ratings and rating agencies?

It is challenging to compare because each ratings agency hides information behind a paywall. What I can say is that Calyx works to offer unbiased, thorough, independent evaluations of carbon programs that are based on science.

We provide two distinct assessments for carbon credits: an SDG impact rating and a GHG integrity risk rating. The GHG integrity framework involved bringing together carbon technique experts from a variety of industries, including waste management, forestry, and home appliances like cookstoves. The framework underwent ten iterations as we put it through its paces with various project kinds.

The SDG impact framework presented additional difficulties because statements about contributions to sustainable development are more recent than claims about emission reductions. This framework, which likewise took several months to build, was created in collaboration with Climate Focus. We are thrilled to provide buyers of carbon credits with this innovative product.

Where do you want Calyx to be in three and five years?

I hope Calyx can become a market thought leader for carbon in three years. Going down to the project level and grading hundreds of projects has helped us learn a lot. I hope that in the future we will be able to exchange those ideas and influence the market to encourage higher GHG integrity and a bigger SDG effect.

I hope Calyx and other rating companies are a crucial element of markets and how they function in five years. We’re still figuring out how to service our clients and positively affect the market since we’re new players in the industry. Sometimes individuals ponder the necessity of rating agencies even being. I hope that in five years, this won’t even be a thought and that everyone recognizes us as an integral element of the voluntary market ecosystem. And that individuals from all various types of companies consider ratings to be a useful factor in decision-making.

Do Calyx evaluations influence purchasing choices?

It is really satisfying for us to watch how our evaluations affect the choices made by our customers. We observe both greater interest in initiatives with higher ratings as well as clients’ avoidance of projects with significant risks.

Because of the information you offer, are businesses prepared to spend more money on higher quality credits?
Yes, some of the businesses we’ve backed were prepared to pay more for better quality. This is constantly incredibly uplifting.

Companies are occasionally limited because they established a budget before getting the information we supply. If I could give businesses one piece of advice, it would be to think about budgeting their credit purchases after fully comprehending the dangers involved with some lower cost credits.

What personal goals would you have if you weren’t a co-founder of Calyx? As a co-founder of Calyx, what do you personally hope to accomplish?

By now, I had anticipated retiring. However, the markets have just taken off, and I decided to postpone my retirement because I thought there might be a chance to make a difference. If I hadn’t chosen to co-found Calyx Global, I would probably be volunteering more in my neighborhood. I want to make a local, small-scale contribution after spending my career working internationally and at a massive size. Making a more personal impact on people can be quite fulfilling. Aside from that, I would take care of my garden, which has been severely neglected ever since we started Calyx.

Which cleantech and climate opportunities, in your opinion, are the most neglected ones?

We continue to pass up possibilities that are economically sound at the moment. It’s not particularly sexy, but occasionally I ponder why we aren’t pursuing the easiest targets. For instance, options for energy efficiency, planting shade plants to lower summer energy demand, or urban space design. In Colorado, where I currently reside, we receive a lot of sunshine, but there aren’t many solar power plants there. Technology can assist in finding solutions to certain seemingly unsolvable problems, such as how to trap and store carbon more effectively, but it can also assist in finding solutions to problems that are just about optimization, matchmaking, or better design.

We discover that there are certain project types that are underutilized in the carbon offset market. Businesses are drawn to “charismatic” credits, like those that emphasize the environment. However, there are several high-quality initiatives that are frequently disregarded, such as better waste management or biodigesters that generate energy from manure. We strive to give our clients these insights.

What kind of climate policy would you implement if you could?

Oh, it is simple. The price of carbon must be set by governments, whether through a tax or a trading system. Emissions have a real cost that must be accounted for in the real economy, and the only way to achieve this is through government policy.

California, where I live, is doing a terrific job adopting laws that address climate change and carbon emissions, but the US government ought to take the lead.

Progressive carbon policies are necessary because the income gap in the United States is too wide and any carbon price should be allocated and redistributed in ways that contribute to narrowing this humiliating divide.

What inspires you to carry on with this work?

The main environmental concern of this century is climate change. How is it possible to not desire to take action? Yvon Chouinard serves as my role model. Calyx should have a mission statement, in my opinion. I will, in fact, retire sometime. I want Cayx Global to leave this world a better place when I do.

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