Developing standards-based marketplaces for environmental & financial data

Uncontrollable climate change and massive species loss are not dim and distant risks—we are witnessing the early warning signs today.

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The problem

Our ability to join up and use existing and emerging data to address our environmental crises is currently stifled. 

The inhibitor is not technology but culture—organisations are stuck in legacy models that mandate that they hold everything ‘closed’ and negotiate potential uses of their data on a case-by-case basis. 

Asset owners, funders and insurers represent a complex value chain today. They are not working with data at-scale due to high transaction costs—this limits creativity in finding new models, products and market solutions.

We are holding back our own innovation: data is not discoverable, it is not clearly licenced for use, it is not in formats that people or machines can easily manipulate. 

We need better ways to share it, robustly, legally and securely to create value, rather than leaving it in increasingly stagnant data lakes.

The opportunity 

There is an ocean of available capital. The lack of good data-flow is leading to misallocation of resources, missed opportunities and is creating catastrophic risks on our global balance sheets.  

The opportunity is to transform the climate crisis into economic innovation that addresses the problem. 

With broader digital transformation now reaching maturity across industries, now is the time to build in the social usefulness of the data: SDGs (and climate change specifically) are the right narrative framing to deliver this.

If we solve for climate change, we will unlock solutions for other areas.

The how

Building multi-disciplinary partnerships, based on decades of experience with open standards,
data governance, mass collaboration, and public-private partnerships, Icebreaker One will unlock the exchange of decision-critical data to enable a multi-trillion dollar shift in investment. 

Icebreaker One will unlock private good: enabling businesses to make money, save money and reduce risk. Equally, it will unlock public good: enabling nations and regions to protect citizens, their environment and economies.


Icebreaker One aims to influence investment decisions of $3.6T/year to deliver net-zero or net-negative outcomes, unlocking a marketplace for data sharing through common principles and practice, and $50M/year in leveraged finance for innovation.

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Unlocking value from the web of environmental data through shared principles & practice

Our demand for, and needs from, data are growing. This is recognised and supported across the international 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, disaster risk reduction, and development finance.

At the same time, data is becoming more complex: there is more of it and more challenges as a result. Most of the technology solutions to process data exist today, but they are not always fit-for-purpose for use by the experts and communities who need them, or easy to integrate into human decision-making processes in a continuous, sustainable manner.

Open standards are increasingly required, and being used to solve these challenges. However, data—where
it does exist—is still not easy to find, use or share.

Icebreaker One is focussed on the cultural mechanics of data publishing and use: developing common principles and practice. It builds on existing work (e.g. in Geospatial, IoT), bringing together initiatives and organisations to demonstrate the investment case for development, and on specific interventions—such as data licensing—that require cross-sector action.

It will not focus on defining taxonomies, build new ‘data platforms’ or codify the data: there are already hundreds of such initiatives.

Icebreaker One will:

  • Rapidly and continuously convene the public and private sectors to understand their needs and identify associated blockers and opportunities. This will include in-person and online working groups, workshops, round-tables and networking events.
  • Explore, document and apply pragmatic business models with commercial partners.
  • Explore, document and apply pragmatic policy, regulatory, IP, legal and licensing frameworks that can encourage and support positive market behaviours.
  • Proactively initiate, incubate, accelerate and catalyse impact projects by bringing together ideas, experts and organisations to directly create joint funding bids that will benefit members.
  • Develop, document and publish shared principles and practice, values and standards that can be widely adopted, reused and repurposed to suit specific applications. 
  • Create and clearly communicate the outputs, outcomes and impacts of its work.

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What is the difference between open data and shared data?

The data spectrum defines open, shared and closed data around the question of data licensing. 

Open Data can be used by anyone, for any purpose, for free.

Shared Data can be licensed by a data owner for conditional usage by another party. Shared data is mostly in the private sector. Its users are also mostly in the private sector. Data licensing is done on a one-to-one contract basis and is often complex.

Closed Data is not shared outside of an organisation and may only be used by the legal owner.

Icebreaker One works to reduce transactional friction in the Shared Data space, creating common frameworks that enable discoverability and access, and enable micro-licensing, granular usage and smart contracts to create both public and private good.