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BSI and CISL launch programme for digital start-ups

09 July 2024 – Start-up organizations offering digital solutions designed to build trust, accountability and deliver best practices for carbon markets are being invited to join an accelerator programme that aims to help them grow, guard against greenwashing and bring positive benefits to people and planet.

The year-long training programme, to which applications open today, is being run by BSI’s Sustainability Innovation Lab in Cambridge alongside the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). This is the second year of the programme, with several start-ups from the first cohort raising funding rounds during the programme, and now working with BSI to co-develop digital solutions for trust in sustainability.

This year’s programme is focused specifically on carbon markets, which give businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and individuals the opportunity to support global and climate environmental goals outside their own value chains. The vast majority of viable and credible to pathways to net zero require the deepest possible carbon emissions cuts. Carbon markets can play a role in global decarbonization efforts, in addition to actions and innovations on carbon reduction.

Those selected for the programme will gain access to training, expertise, mentoring, and networking opportunities designed to transform digital solutions into robust product offerings, putting them in the right position to create impact and trust in carbon markets.  Up to 10 start-ups will be chosen, with applications required by 25th July.

Investments in carbon markets can deliver positive climate and environmental impacts, and provide social benefits for the communities involved. However, recent investigations on the have shown that projects' benefits have sometimes been overestimated, with a lack of transparency and coordination in a complex and fragmented market. This presents the need to find solutions that ensure verifiable positive impact while avoiding greenwashing, which will be a key component of this programme.

This programme will be hosted at CISL's Entopia Building in Cambridge, and will cover a number of key areas, including developing an organization’s sustainability vision, refining a start-up’s product offering and embedding best practices into processes.

Jonathan Chocqueel-Mangan, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer at BSI, said “Carbon markets are central to global efforts to decarbonize and accelerate progress towards a sustainable world. In a complex global market, embedding trust and clarity into the solutions on offer is critical to guard against greenwashing.

“Bringing together a community of sustainable start-ups, this programme will provide the opportunity for attendees to harness the joint experience and expertise of BSI and CISL and support the growth of their innovative and sustainable businesses.”

Further information about the Trust in Sustainability programme can be found on the University of Cambridge's website

Notes to editors

  • The deadline to apply for the programme is Thursday 25 July 2024
  • Launch Event (in person) 11 – 12 September 2024