Microsoft adds Climeworks to carbon removal portfolio
Climeworks, the Swiss company specializing in carbon dioxide air capture technology, has joined Microsoft's carbon removal portfolio as the IT giant strives for net zero emissions by 2030 and removing historic emissions by 2050.
Climeworks has developed a direct air capture technology solution that captures CO2 from the air and stores it underground using a mineralization process developed by Icelandic company Carbfix. Climeworks has direct air capture plants in Europe, with plans to scale up rapidly and increase capacity to a scale of removing billions of tons of CO2, and its modular collectors can be stacked to build machines of any size.
Microsoft will provide through its Climate Innovation Fund for Climeworks’ first-of-a-kind commercial-scale, fully renewable carbon capture and mineralization plant. Once CO2 is captured from air in Hellisheiði, Climeworks’ direct air capture technology and Carbfix mix it with water and pump it underground, and through the process of rapid underground mineralization the CO2 is stored safely and permanently.
"Being part of Microsoft’s CO2 removal portfolio is a game-changer," said Christoph Gebald, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Climeworks. "Not only does Microsoft’s approach remove their own emissions, but they are also inspiring other businesses to invest in science-based and scalable solutions that have the potential to make a significant difference in the fight against climate change - like Climeworks' carbon dioxide removal."
Elizabeth Willmott, Carbon Program Manager at Microsoft, said: “Climeworks' direct air capture technology will serve as a key component of our carbon removal efforts. Their application set a high bar for technical rigor - especially the permanence of their solution, and we are looking forward to helping further scale their work with this purchase."
In addition to emissions reduction efforts, which prevent new CO2 from entering the atmosphere, climate scientists agree that removing historic and unavoidable emissions from air is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Businesses play a key role in the mitigation of global warming and are starting to address their current, past and unavoidable carbon emissions.
Microsoft’s commitments are a core example of this: negative emissions by 2030, removal of all historic emissions by 2050. To achieve these goals, Microsoft selected a portfolio of promising negative emissions technologies available today to remove their emissions on top of reducing their emissions.
Another newcomer to Microsoft's portfolio is US-based Charm Industrial, which has created a novel process for preparing and injecting bio-oil and other carbon-containing liquids into geologic storage.
Microsoft is also supporting the development of 'Biochar', a charcoal-like substance that is produced by pyrolysis, which is the heating of organic agricultural and forestry waste (biomass) in the absence of oxygen.
Biochar projects that have been selected include Carbon Cycle, a sustainable agriculture company based in southeast Germany; Carbofex, which produces high-stability biochar manufactured with spruce thinnings from sustainably managed Finnish forests; and ECHO2, based in Australia, which focuses on developing and supplying modular systems to transform biomass residues to energy and biochar.
Airswift Competentia merger spurs global digital recruitment
Airswift and recruiting and workforce management specialist Competentia have merged to form one of the world’s foremost workforce solutions providers serving the energy, process, infrastructure, mining and technology industries.
The combined entity, which retains the Airswift name, will offer clients enhanced global access, particularly in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa. Competentia recently opened an office in Texas, complementing Calgary, Anchorage and Houston in the region.
Airswift chief executive, Janette Marx, will be CEO of the merged entity and Competentia Group CEO, Jayden Wallis, will play a key role on the executive team as Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of ASPAC. Kyle McClure will become CFO of the combined company.
Marx said there had been a long been mutual admiration between both companies, which share a mutual ambition to become the workforce solutions provider of choice for clients, candidates and contractors in the energy and technology industries.
“In a rapidly digitizing, post-pandemic environment, companies across the world’s technical sectors must quickly respond to new ways of working to achieve sustainable, long-term growth," she said. "We believe that our combined size and experience, and our firm focus on the energy transition, perfectly positions us to help clients respond to the complex workforce challenges of the future. Through digital and people-based solutions, we will ultimately shape the technical sectors of tomorrow.”
As a result of the merger, mid-market and blue-chip companies alike gain access to an even broader range of truly integrated services. Talent acquisition, professional search, international contractor management, global employment outsourcing, consultancy and payroll management are just a few of the workforce solutions on offer.
Wallis added: “We see this as an opportunity to create the world’s most forward-thinking workforce solutions provider.
“We also believe we have a key, supporting role to play in enabling the energy transition, not only in the industries we serve, but through responsible business operations, business models, investment in technology and innovation, and collaboration with our peers. Our combined strength and shared ambition mean we’re even better placed to deliver on that.”
Ian Langley, Airswift’s Chairman, said: “It was obvious from our opening call that a potential merger had great merit. Not only did our combination make perfect commercial sense, but we found that our organizations had similar cultures and aspirations, and we quickly discovered a unique alignment.”
Airswift and Competentia’s private equity backers, Wellspring Capital and Reiten & Company respectively, are retaining their stakes in the merged entity and will continue to be actively involved with the business. Airswift has also issued a bond on the Norwegian bond market to ensure maximum flexibility and access to alternative funding in the future.
Matthew Harrison, Managing Partner at Wellspring Capital, said: “Airswift and Competentia share the same foundational values and are guided by both delivering excellence to their clients and creating a great employee experience. Together they can do this even better, and I look forward to seeing the new merged company do great things.”
Bård Ingerø, Managing Partner at Reiten & Co concludes: “These are two companies with such similar cultures and successful track records, which we believe will fit together seamlessly to offer the market the greatest possible breadth, depth and quality of services, wherever clients may operate.”
Patrick Tame, CEO of Beringer Tame, says only agile and digitally savvy businesses have survived the storm from the pandemic, and will continue to do.
“The battle to keep ahead in an environment of rapid technological, market and consumer behaviour changes has caused businesses to rush to hire digital talent that has enabled them to shift the way they operate," he writes.
"When there are skill shortages in a particular sector - such as the digital market - hiring the best, before the competition, can make a real difference when it comes down to overall business success. So the businesses that are privy to a team of consultants who boast priceless depth of industry knowledge and mastery are guaranteed to have a competitive edge."