Today, Icebreaker One turns…one!
We started operating a week after the first 2020 lockdown and are entering our second year just as the world prepares for a critical COP26 summit and rolls up its sleeves for Covid-19 economic recovery. Here’s a brief update about what we’re working on right now.
Funding for the long-term
We’ve been awarded €370K unrestricted funding from Laudes Foundation to invest in our long-term strategy. We’ll be ramping up our communications efforts, scaling our operations, developing our funding pipeline and honing our commercial service offerings.
Laudes is an independent foundation joining the growing movement to accelerate the transition to a climate-positive and inclusive global economy. They aim to support brave action that inspires and challenges industry to harness its power for good. We’re delighted to be working with them.
Building Open Energy
At the end of 2020, we won UKRI’s Modernising Energy Data Access competition (£750K) against a strong field of competition. We’re working at-pace to develop both an energy data search service for Open Data and Shared Data, and a prototype governance platform for Shared Data, with finance-grade security, so all organisations in the energy data ecosystem can use it to search, share and access data.
We’ve built an exceptional multidisciplinary team – with skills ranging from information architecture, API services development, user experience and DevOps to energy domain specialists, policy and legal experts, and the team’s still growing. We’ve put our first beta user in place (Passiv Systems) and will be delivering a service that’s ready to go live over the summer.
We’re now working on how to make sure access to the services we’re building can be as inclusive as possible. The Energy Data Search will always be free and open access and link directly to Open Data without any form of ‘gating’. Links to Shared Data necessitate engagement with the Governance Platform to help connect organisations as rapidly as possible.
There will be a cost to this service and we are exploring a sliding scale so that no organisations are prohibited from engagement on grounds of cost. As an independent non-profit organisation, Icebreaker One is committed to developing open markets that enable access to data for everyone and avoid the creation of a new data-access monopoly.
Here’s the core use case we’re currently working on – but this is one of many. We’ve picked one to help everyone focus on working through practical implementation. We know there are many others and want to capture these as we go, add them to our development timeline and work out how to take them forward with industry.
To stay in the loop, subscribe to our low-volume, succinct mailing list here.
Developing a Standard for Environment, Risk and Insurance
Our work to develop data-sharing infrastructure for the insurance sector continues to evolve rapidly. Over the past year, our flagship SERI (Standard for Environmental Risk in Insurance) programme has been iterating through dozens of product ideas that could illustrate how better data sharing could create Net Zero innovation. Through this process, we have explored many challenges that businesses face when they are trying to develop a cohesive data strategy. We have also navigated through complex issues to define Climate-Ready in a material way.
From many candidates, we’ve now picked one use-case — a Climate-Ready Building Passport — as a way to explore how a data standard could catalyse Net Zero in the insurance sector.
We’re now building Advisory Groups to guide our work. We’re already working with ClimateWise, Aon, Brit Insurance, Willis Towers Watson and Arup. To join them on the project, register your interest here.
Growing our team and broader constellation
Our core team is now over 30 and growing, working alongside a large constellation of domain experts in finance, industry, technology and climate.
Collaboration between industry and the research community remains at the heart of what we do. Cambridge Zero have partnered with us since our inception, on the SERI programme. We partnered with the University of Edinburgh (GOFCoE) and University College Dublin on Project Cygnus. We’ve now also partnered with the University of Oxford to launch the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment. It was selected by UK Research and Innovation to receive £10M investment. Other members of the consortium include Imperial College London, the Met Office, the World Bank Group, COP 26, and the Alan Turing Institute.
We’re partnered with the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance (FoSDA), which is spearheaded by Refinitiv and the World Economic Foundation, and recently set out its initial recommendations to the financial community, addressed to both regulators and financial market participants. FoSDA’s aim is to “identify and accelerate the reliable, actionable ESG data and related technology that is needed for improved investor decision making on the global journey to sustainable development”.
Working with long-standing partners ClimateWise at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, we contributed ideas to their white paper on policy opportunities for Net Zero underwriting.
Open collaboration is at the heart of what we do
We need your help to connect us to those working on Net Zero across the energy, built world, water, agriculture and transport. Equally, we want to connect with those working on climate finance (across insurance, asset management and capital markets).
We are continually holding public webinars and publishing documents for open comment (for example, our substantial report on the market architecture for Shared Data). I also put out more ‘raw’ thoughts on my personal blog, for example ‘Connect don’t collect‘ which is open to comment by anyone.
Finally, aside from thanking EVERYONE!, I want to ask you to act as our ‘critical friends’ — in the same way we take on this role with our partners. If there is something that you feel we are missing or needs course-correcting, please contact me directly — firstname.lastname@example.org