Why We Created Recapture

Years of research, limitations of reforestation, and a dwindling supply of carbon removal credits are just some of the reasons that led us to found Recapture. Our mission: to create a new model for carbon removal, that is permanent, profitable, and scalable to the size needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Philip-Michael Weiner + Trey Pringle
Recapture Founding Partners
Jan 15th, 2021
Recapture Carbon

The statistics on climate change are terrifying. Both private and governmental entities across the world agree on the projected outcomes: extreme weather events, devastating loss of land, resources, and humanity, and dramatic shifts in life as we know it.

The wave of climate activism in response to these threats has been invaluable for bringing urgency, awareness, and a sense of grassroots accountability around the causes of climate change. But with less than ten years left before the worst of these effects begin, impactful solutions need to be bigger than grassroots behavioral change. Convincing people to stop traveling via airplane or eating meat will not get us where we need to be within the short timeframe we have left. Nor will waiting for governments to unify and organize around regulation and infrastructure. The solutions need to be systemic in nature, pragmatic and rapidly deployed among the world's most influential corporations and institutions.

That is why we created Recapture, the first systems-designed approach to carbon dioxide removal that makes it profitable for companies to reach net-zero emissions. We are shovel-ready to harness the collective power of the Global Fortune 1000 to halt the progression of global warming in our lifetime.

A Great Need

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us that mitigating the worst effects of climate change is possible only if society can produce negative amounts of carbon emissions by 2050. This is to be accomplished via two concurrent modes of intervention: 1) replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources; and 2) extracting, or removing, historic carbon dioxide (CO₂) floating in the atmosphere. Projections on the amount of CO₂ extraction needed to reach this goal ranges between 5-20 gigatons of carbon removal every year leading up to mid-century. These projections are dependent on how successful we are at increasing renewable energy reliance and reducing emissions over that same period.

As we researched the feasibility of this goal within the current carbon market we quickly realized an important pattern: serious gaps in the system are working against humanity achieving these critical carbon levels. Gaps in regulation allow the biggest carbon emitters to continue their operations with little oversight or incentive to change. Financial gaps prohibit needed levels of implementation and scaling of removal technologies such as Direct Air Capture. And most disturbing, gaps in avoidable emissions mean we aren't working effectively or with integrity within the systems, we have already put into place. Many corporate climate strategies rely on purchasing carbon credits as a means to offset the carbon being produced by their businesses. However, the projects selling these carbon credits are often not providing measurable impact either in reducing emissions or removing carbon.

We wondered if there wasn't a way to bridge more than one of these gaps within a single solution.

A New Model

Always looking first to the solutions nature provides for itself, we initially set out to develop highly efficient reforestation projects that would sequester mass amounts of carbon using one of the fastest growing hardwood species on the planet. This led to our noticing a demand for high quality wood in the global timber market. The light bulb turned on---what if we could harvest timber and sell it to generate the capital needed for higher-impact removal technology?

The model that sprang to life was one that starts with natural sequestration and utilizes sustainable timber harvesting as a financial mechanism to remove carbon from the air with Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. This would then enable a return on investment for companies looking to get into verifiable, removal-based offsetting.

Here's how it works:

We identify deforested areas or degraded farmland. We then reforest that land with a hybridized, non-reproductive, hardwood. As the trees grow, they'll sequester carbon naturally in their root systems, producing natural Verified Carbon Units (VCUs). Once mature, we harvest the above-ground timber and sell it into low-emission verticals like mass timber, where wood replaces high-footprint materials like cement and steel. We then take the revenues from timber sales and return investments back to companies with interest, deploying the remainder fully into DAC operating expenses to pull additional carbon from the air by technological means. With Recapture’s hybridized hardwood, which regenerates from its own stump into maturity in only 5 years, this cycle can be repeated up to 7 times without disturbing the soil carbon.

By utilizing sustainable timber harvesting as a financial mechanism, the Recapture Dedicated Carbon Removal System (CRS) can remove more than 100 tCO₂e from the atmosphere per hectare per year at a sequestration rate 10 times more efficient than standard reforestation alone, enabling a shift in carbon removal implementation from a line item to a profit area, and supercharging the scaling of Direct Air Capture infrastructure to meet global demand. These results are significant, and render the previous avoidance-based carbon offset model obsolete.

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A Vision for the Future

The need for large-scale carbon removal is the greatest challenge, and opportunity, humanity may ever face. With Recapture, we are leaning into the opportunity of it. Our profit-driven model for companies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions turns accountability into incentive, and urgency into action.

We envision Recapture on the frontier of a new paradigm of business leaders composed of evergreen companies imbued with the philosophy that profit is not the be-all and end-all of business, yet nor is it inherently evil. Business itself can be a force for good, using its profit to change behaviors and support the systems that benefit society and the world. To that end, we have no exit strategy for Recapture. No intention to transition into the next project. The need for Recapture is great, as is our dedication to shifting the pendulum on atmospheric carbon. Initial project funding is composed of customer funds, and before we had customers, funds from our own pockets.

We are hopeful as we launch Recapture as a leader and innovator among a global coalition of the Fortune 1000 dedicated to removing 100B tons of carbon from the atmosphere by mid-century. If profit got us into this mess, then profit can get us out!

Take a Deeper Dive

Want to see how Recapture can impact your long-term net-zero strategy? Our experts are ready to put together a complimentary profit-driven removal model specific to your business.

Learn more about our profit-driven carbon removal model here.

Authors
Trey Pringle and Phil Weiner founded Recapture in 2017. They are longtime friends and colleagues who have decades of experience in conservation finance, project development and enterprise operations.
Trey Pringle is a design technologist, software developer, and serial company builder who founded his first company out of college and grew it into a profitable multi-million-dollar business with locations in the US and South America. He is an experienced CEO who has built and launched products in global markets as well as advised and invested in over 15 companies. He has lived in South America, where he co-founded the OSO Accelerator in Santiago, Chile to support entrepreneurs solving challenges for the LATAM market.
Phil has worked with companies of all sizes worldwide, including Virgin Unite, Carbon War Room, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Rockefeller Foundation, to grow their impact through behavior change and meaningful, enduring design. He has launched multiple award-winning consumer products for growing food and has been involved in developing 45,000 hectares of conservation finance projects throughout South America. He has also helped raise $260M+ for early-stage ventures he strongly believes in.
Recapture’s team has additional experience across international development, fund administration, and has collectively raised and managed over $1.75 billion in capital. Our team is also supported by a group of global partners including Verra, Ernst & Young, Terra Carbon, Condor Valley, and K2 Intelligence to ensure effective quality risk management and measurable impact for customers.
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To learn more about carbon removal, check out our Corporate Net Zero Series. A playbook for taking your company to net zero emissions in a way that is profitable and scalable to the level needed to halt global warming.
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