Sustainability Chat with Cozette Wachtmeister, Co-founder and CEO of Removement
In our Sustainability Chat series, we speak with leaders and dreamers in the world of sustainability – picking their brains on what drives them, their experiences working in the field, plus all the best tricks of the trade.
Removement is a Swedish-based company that helps companies and organizations on their journey to net zero emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the air. In this sustainability chat we got to pick Cozette's brain about the inspiration behind the start of the company, what carbon removal actually means, and what she thinks is the most exciting thing happening within the climate movement today.
You are the co-founder of the startup company Removement. Can you tell us more about your company and your solution?
Zero emissions are not enough – to reach our climate goals we also need to remove 10 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually until the year 2050 according to last year’s IPCC report. Removement enables the market to grow by making it easy to capture and store carbon in different projects. It’s fast, reliable, and enabled by tech.
As this is Sweden's first and only platform for projects that only remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, what inspired you to start this company?
The four of us who started this company, me, Mike, Linus, and Anders, all have two children each. We all felt that we weren’t happy with the future we were giving our children. We are social entrepreneurs and saw a big gap in this new emerging market.
Personally, I’ve always had an interest in the climate and the way we’re affecting it with our actions but I think what really pushed me over to the bright side is when my water broke during the big Fridays for Future March two and a half years ago and the day after my second child was born. I don’t really believe in signs, but it bore some kind of symbolism to me. I just couldn’t go another day without working with creating a better future for my children. So during my maternity leave, I manifested this and there they were, my co-founders, with the initial idea for what Removement is today.
Can you tell us a bit more about what carbon removal actually is?
Carbon Dioxide Removal is a process where you physically capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it in for decades, centuries – or even longer. This can slow down, stop and even reverse climate change. Today, this can be done, measured, and verified through several methods such as biochar, bio-oil, direct air capture, Regenerative agriculture, enhanced weathering, and CO2-mineralization, to mention a few.
Latest science tells us that we can't stop the earth's temperature from rising just by reducing our emissions – we need to actively remove carbon that already exists in the atmosphere. What do you think is needed for more companies and countries to realize that this has to be done?
I think one very important thing is education. It’s a complex area and generally, people don’t like to act when they don’t understand. So by educating more people about the importance and possibilities of Carbon Removal we can actually help them make decisions they feel comfortable with. For example, getting companies to not only put their offset money towards tree planting – which is on one hand very cheap but on the other hand very risky business for the climate. Yet, I have to say that in the last year we have seen a big shift in the market. More and more VCs and accelerators are focusing their money on new carbon removal technologies and methods – which has opened the eyes of many and made it more widespread. I can’t stress enough how important that is. Today we don’t have the capacity to remove the amount of carbon that we need so scaling the market for carbon removals should, after reducing as much as we can, be the talk of the day.
There are a lot of things happening within the climate change movement today. What is the most exciting thing happening according to you?
As you say, so many great things are happening, which I’m privileged to read about every day. But one of the things that I love is that caring for the climate and environment is getting more and more mainstream. Talking about the climate crisis shouldn’t be a radical act, and I think we’re getting closer to that every day.
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