New tech challenge seeks solutions to measure carbon in nature

Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge

Toronto, ON, June 17, 2021 – Starting today, innovators across Canada can pre-register for WWF-Canada’s Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge, supported by founding partner RBC Tech for Nature and national technology sponsor Microsoft. The challenge looks to develop cost-effective, innovative and user-friendly technologies and approaches to facilitate the community-led measurement of carbon in nature.

About the Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge:

Measuring carbon in nature is key to understanding and enhancing the role conservation and nature-based solutions can play in mitigating climate change. WWF-Canada will be accepting proposals for technologies that measure carbon in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems. Carbon measurement solutions targeting biomass, soil, and/or ecosystems will be acceptedBy pre-registering, innovators will gain access to exclusive content and proposal support from the Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge team throughout the summer.

Up to five finalists in the program will receive access to a spot in the Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship Program and a $25,000 grant to support their participation in the validation phase of the Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge. Based on the results of the validation phase, up to three final award recipients will be selected to receive a contract of up to $100,000 to implement their technology in the field alongside WWF-Canada and conservation partners.

The challenge begins with the Nature X Carbon summer series from June 15, 2021 – September 7, 2021. During this period, WWF-Canada will be hosting webinars and sharing content and proposal tips. Pre-register on the Tech Hub to receive our newsletter with updates and more information on the challenge.

The proposal period will officially open September 7, 2021 and finalists will be announced in March 2022.

This is the second launch in WWF-Canada’s expanding technology challenge series. The first tech challenge – The Generation Water Tech Challenge – sought transformative solutions to help address threats to Canada’s freshwater systems. Learn more about our Water Tech Innovators and award recipients here.

Nature based Climate Solutions in Canada (NbCS)

One-third of climate-change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from the destruction of trees, ground cover, peatlands, and coastline plants and ecosystems. Nature based Climate Solutions, such as safeguarding existing carbon stores and restoring habitat to increase carbon sequestration, have the power to play a significant role in keeping global warming to less than 1.5 °C.

Current technologies that measure carbon in nature are cost prohibitive and time intensive, meaning that the true carbon impacts of many NbCS projects are, at best, estimated or modeled. By supporting the development of tools that can be used at the community level, we will build capacity and capability for the ongoing measurement and monitoring of carbon, which will help accurately document the benefits of stewardship activities over time. The Nature X Carbon Tech Challenge is looking for innovators who are creating cost-effective and user-friendly technologies and approaches to support carbon measurement and verification of NbCS in Canada.

Mark Beckles, vice-president, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC

“Boosting the number of innovators in Canada’s cleantech space is critical. To accelerate this growing sector, we need greater participation by innovators of all skillsets and backgrounds who are ready to scale their projects into world leading solutions,” said Mark Beckles, vice-president, social impact & innovation at RBC. “We are proud to support this challenge through RBC Tech for Nature to help build the sustainable, inclusive future we all want to see.”

Kevin Peesker, president, Microsoft Canada

“We face an impending environmental crisis and business, non-profits and policy makers must work together to reverse our current trajectory,” said Kevin Peesker, president, Microsoft Canada. “We know AI and the power of cloud computing will be key to reversing the impacts of climate change as they enable innovators to collect, process and analyze data at a scale and speed that was previously unimaginable. We look forward to seeing the solutions that Challenge participants create to help tackle this critical issue.”

James Snider, vice-president, science, knowledge and innovation, WWF-Canada

“With the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change threatening the future or our planet, we are challenging innovators to turn their expertise toward building accessible and affordable solutions that measure carbon in nature. Nature is a powerful ally in fighting climate change. And these new, accessible tools to quantify nature’s role will help build capacity in communities and Indigenous Nations to support their leadership in protecting and restoring important places for climate and biodiversity,” said James Snider, vice-president of science, knowledge and innovation at WWF-Canada. “We are excited to see the technologies and solutions that participants come up with to support effective nature-based climate solutions in Canada.”

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 

WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit