Making Waves: $50 Million Fund Takes Aim at Climate Change Through Ocean Conservation

Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen

ICONIQ Impact, the global philanthropy arm of ICONIQ Capital, announced today a new $50 million initiative called the Ocean Co-Lab to fund solutions that leverage the ocean’s immense potential to combat climate change.

The initiative aims to address a critical gap in climate investment, directing funds toward ocean-based solutions that are often overlooked. While the ocean can provide up to 35 percent of the emission reductions needed to keep global warming under 1.5°C, it currently receives just 7 percent of total climate funding. Moreover, less than 1 percent goes toward ocean-focused climate solutions.

“With the Ocean Co-Lab, we’re looking to fill a critical funding gap and champion solutions that governments and the private sector often overlook or are too early-stage to fund,” said Matti Navellou, head of ICONIQ Impact, in an interview.

The Ocean Co-Lab will provide $2.5 million grants over three years to 20 organizations working on climate mitigation, carbon sequestration, blue carbon preservation, and building resilience for coastal communities. Grantees were selected through a rigorous review process led by an expert advisory board.

“It’s a remarkable moment when philanthropists realize the immense impact they can have by pooling resources and directing them toward experts who have been doing the work for decades,” said Michael Anders, founding partner of ICONIQ Capital. “Our hope is to nudge more donors toward this collaborative approach.”

The initiatives funded aim to address root causes and equip communities to withstand climate impacts:

  • Five projects will scale proven mitigation solutions like offshore wind and zero-emission shipping. The NGO Pacific Environment will work to decarbonize major Asian shipping hubs.
  • Four projects will apply scientific rigor to emerging carbon sequestration technologies like ocean alkalinity enhancement. Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will study the scalability of this approach.
  • Four projects will preserve blue carbon ecosystems like mangroves and salt marshes.
  • Seven projects will build resilience for coastal communities facing threats to livelihoods. The Marine Tenure Facility will empower local groups to sustainably manage marine resources. “Tackling climate change takes courage. It’s looking at this huge problem and saying, ‘We can fix this together,'” said Anders. “Our donors and grantees embody that spirit.”

The Ocean Co-Lab represents a growing trend of funders recognizing the ocean’s untapped potential and the need to direct more resources toward underfunded climate solutions. With expanded collaboration and strategic investment, philanthropists aim to harness the ocean’s immense power to mitigate climate change.

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