Jurg Grutter is the CEO of Grütter Consulting, a pioneer consultancy he founded in the 90s to focus on transport and climate change. Jurg has been involved in the development of more
than 500 transport projects to mitigate climate change, across all continents.
No wonder, at Everimpact, we have nicknamed Jurg “the Pope of transport methodologies."
After advising us on our methodologies, Jurg decided to become an investor in Everimpact during our seed round.
Naturally, we were eager to interview him to understand his motivations to invest in Everimpact and his vision for carbon monitoring and carbon markets.
Hi Jurg, can you tell us why you decided to invest in Everimpact?
After working in transport and cities decarbonization since the early 90s, I’ve had the opportunity to develop dozens of methodologies. I have been involved in all types of transport projects to reduce emissions and access to climate finance.
One of the challenges I have seen when assessing transport emissions is that the result may vary greatly depending on the calculation methods you’re using. Transport and cities’ emissions models involve such a large number of models and assumptions – energy bills, fuel efficiency of vehicles, occupation rates of vehicles, where and how they circulate around the city… You just can’t precisely know your actual city’s emissions. Which means, as a city manager or transport planner, you can’t measure the impact of the measures you’re implementing, you don’t know if they are improving or worsening the city’s overall emissions.
And you can’t link these projects to climate finance.
The Everimpact approach of actually physically monitoring CO2 instead of going through the approach of fuel consumption and modeling is very interesting. It’s quick and affordable to implement and provides much more credible data. It opens opportunities for solid carbon accounting systems for cities, enables them to have realistic net zero targets they can track, and last but not least access climate finance (green bonds or carbon markets).
With my experience of the market, I see a great business potential in this type of tech and approach.
This type of monitoring approach also brings much needed trustworthiness and transparency to offset projects.
That’s why I invested in Everimpact.
There’s been a lot of criticism recently on carbon markets, what are your thoughts on this?
The carbon markets are inherently prone to criticism. The problem is it’s very difficult to make people understand that you will always be prone to criticism because you can only estimate emission reductions and not measure them due to the fact that emission reductions are the difference between a hypothetical or counterfactual baseline representing emissions in absence of mitigation interventions and actual monitored emissions. Estimated emissions increase or decrease can always be easily questioned.
Do you see improvements happening?
I see a trend of increasing complexity of methodologies, which doesn’t necessarily help as you end up with the same problem of accuracy. It increases time and cost to set up the project so there’s less money available to reduce emissions. I think we need simplified methodologies, with understandable, clear accounting rules.
With the Paris agreement, countries have national targets and increasingly regulated markets, which should help with additionality and double counting issues.
This is why I believe that the Everimpact approach of territorial measurement can help. For instance, cities, to deliver their Net Zero commitments, have to make multiple interventions at the same time. With estimation based methodologies of carbon accounting, they estimate the impact of each measure and try to separate what is not directly related to that measure. The problem is that the sum of reductions of these various interventions does not reflect the reality of overall city emissions reductions because of synergies or counteracting effects between measures.
Measuring emissions with a territorial approach allows us to align carbon accounting with the overall ambition of reducing emissions at city level, rather than project level.
It makes the data simpler, more transparent and credible, so it’s easier for the city to access carbon finance.
How do you see the carbon markets evolving?
There is a trend towards national markets, which are politically easier to communicate and which people in general accept better.
In the international area, growing markets can be expected under the new scheme of the Paris accord - the ITMO market (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes), the up to now non-regulated international aviation and shipping markets.
In the voluntary market, I expect that companies will use carbon offsets more as declaration of support for achieving climate objectives instead of stating that they are neutralizing their emissions with carbon credits.