De Beers is investing $2 million in Kelp Blue, an innovative start-up focused on growing and managing large-scale giant kelp forests, initially off the Namibian coast. These underwater forests have the potential to safely and permanently lock away vast amounts of CO2 in the ocean. Research has shown that kelp forests have carbon sequestration properties exceeding those of terrestrial forests and that they help sustain healthy marine ecosystems, providing food and shelter for countless species.
De Beers said the investment is in line with its Building Forever sustainability goals and supports a pioneering nature-based solution for sequestering carbon and enhancing biodiversity. The project is also delivering skills development and job creation in Namibia, where De Beers has recovered diamonds in joint venture partnership with the Namibian Government for almost three decades.
In 2021, Kelp Blue was awarded a licence to cultivate Giant Kelp off the coast of Namibia and is now in the pilot phase. The business will contribute infrastructure development in and around the town of Lüderitz, benefitting the local community by creating employment and upskilling opportunities in kelp cultivation and processing. During the pilot phase, the business will generate a range of direct and indirect jobs in biotechnology, engineering, processing, support services and logistics in Namibia.
Neil Ventura, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Innovation at De Beers Group, said: “We are committed to being carbon neutral across our operations by 2030, and to achieve this ambitious target we will need to recover a share of our emissions after we have removed and replaced the majority of the fossil fuel energy in our business. Instead of simply purchasing carbon credits on the market, we are looking to identify potential long-term, sustainable and innovative nature-based solutions for this – particularly those that can deliver additional carbon capture benefit beyond our own business.”