Australian Ethical has granted $500k in its inaugural 2021 Visionary Grants to support Australia’s next climate and technology solutions.
Australian Ethical is an Australian super fund manager with over $6 billion in Funds Under Management. The Visionary Grants were granted by the fund manager’s philanthropic arm, Australian Ethical Foundation.
Following the recent Glasgow Breakthroughs at COP26, John McMurdo, CEO and MD of Australian Ethical, stated that nations have come together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible, and attractive option in each emitting sector globally before 2030.
“We applaud this commitment, however, we also believe that continued public and private collaboration is needed to accelerate the uptake, scale, and impact of these technologies.
“For this reason, our Visionary Grants have largely focused on climate-tech solutions this year, and we could not be more proud of the exciting innovations presented by organisations like CQU, Climate KIC, Original Power, and the Seabin Foundation.”
Australia has historically lagged behind comparable nations in terms of effective climate change action. In October, Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan was announced.
The Federal Government has pledged to make Australia carbon-free by 2050. While the Plan has been hailed as a positive step forward, many critics say it falls short of meaningful climate action.
Read more: Technology-driven zero-carbon approach
The recipient climate and technology projects all make use of distinctive and original innovations that will have a significant and sustainable positive influence on combating climate change.
The list of recipients is as follows:
Climate KIC is building the world’s first technology platform to run an Integrated Ocean Energy Marketplace, designed to address the lack of market demand for ocean energy in the ‘Blue Economy’ (coastal businesses, communities, and industries).
Original Power is improving energy security for First Nations communities in the Northern Territory, by replacing the reliance on expensive and polluting diesel-fired power with a distributed energy micro-grid utilising new solar and battery storage, and wireless distribution of electricity credit to all homes.
Key project outcomes include lower-cost and more reliable power, and a blueprint for other communities to roll out their own community solar projects.
Central Queensland University:
Central Queensland University will reseed over 20 hectares of seagrass within the Port of Gladstone using UAVs (drones) for targeted seed dispersal, demonstrating a new method of seagrass restoration that is scalable across Australia.
To assess target regions for restoration, UAVs will map the restoration sites using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and multispectral imagery.
Seabin Foundation will install the first Seabin 6.0 Data Monitoring Unit (DMU) in Sydney Harbour, to collect marine debris 24/7 and provide important data about ocean pollutants.
This new Seabin unit will add real-time water quality data through sensors (IoT connectivity) to monitor trends in association with floating plastics and contaminants.
Investor in Main Sequence
Australian Ethical has also just been a major investor in Main Sequence, a venture capital fund formed by the CSIRO that invests in a wide range of deep tech or science-based start-ups trying to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as decarbonisation.
Australian Ethical’s expanding focus on climate solutions, through both investment and grants, capitalises on aligning capital to address climate change, which the UN believes is the greatest threat facing the modern world.
The collaboration between Main Sequence and Australian Ethical will seek to address some of the most challenging issues in health, food, space, and industrial productivity through the creation, investment and acceleration of deep tech companies.
Every year, Australian Ethical distributes 10% of its profits (after taxes and before bonuses) to the Australian Ethical Foundation to promote environmental and social impact in Australia and around the world, totalling more than $6 million to date.
Presently, Australian Ethical now offers nine managed funds and seven investment alternatives in its superannuation fund.
The Foundation distributes funding through two grant rounds: a public grant round called Visionary Grants and a private invitation round called Strategic Grants.