Interview with Robert Ralph from Patch

How to scale climate action with carbon projects at Patch

Founded in 2020, Patch offers a platform to simplify the transaction complexity of the carbon management ecosystem for both buyers and suppliers. The infrastructure lowers carbon market entry barriers for both businesses and project developers with the aim to unlock climate change solutions. In this way, businesses of any size and budget have multiple pathways to buy carbon credits to fund climate protection projects.

As of now, Patch also offers businesses the opportunity to invest in Pina Earth’s regional forest adaptation projects, unlocking new climate solutions in Europe. 

In this interview, we asked Robert Ralph, who is responsible for partnerships at Patch, what this partnership explicitly means for both businesses.

What is Patch's mission? How does Patch help to fight climate change?

At Patch, we channel much-needed capital to climate solutions. Our platform reduces the complexity of the carbon transaction process, lowers entry barriers to the market, and increases transparency so buyers can have more confidence in their purchases. Our mission is to enable the voluntary carbon market to scale in a way that contributes effectively against climate change.

This is how we help to fight climate change: by scaling a diverse variety of climate solutions as fast as possible. While reducing carbon emissions should always be the first step, we see carbon credits as a complement to businesses’ decarbonization efforts and transition away from fossil fuels. There’s no pathway to 1.5°C that doesn’t include significant CO2 removal — both nature-based and engineered. We’ll need many approaches, and Patch is helping accelerate all of them. 

How do you assess the impact of climate action? Which criteria do you evaluate when choosing climate projects?

At the end of the day, each carbon credit represents real CO2 avoided or removed from the atmosphere. Every tenth of a degree matters, and every tonne of CO2 will make a difference in fighting for those tenths. So we measure our climate impact in the tonnage we move. And the dollars going the other way aren’t an afterthought — that money is getting reinvested by project developers toward scaling their approaches, so the dollar value of that tonnage is also a leading indicator of much greater future impact.

All projects on our platform pass a rigorous onboarding assessment that looks at mechanism, methodology, MRV, permanence, additionality, leakage, co-benefits, and much more. We want to enrich each project in the marketplace with as much data as possible to help buyers have confidence in each credit, and transparency is a crucial pillar of that.

Patch has been active in the climate market for three years now. Looking back, what were the major developments in the market? How would you assess the role of partnerships in the past and in the future?

The main change has been the exponential increase in interest and dollars in the voluntary carbon market. From 2020 to 2021, the VCM grew 4x, valuing at $2 billion. By 2030, it could be worth anywhere from $10–$40 billion. We’ve seen $500 billion worth of climate investments from the U.S. government through legislation including the Inflation Reduction Act, which seemed pretty improbable when Patch got its start. This company was founded on an optimistic vision that if even a relatively small number of like-minded people all pulled together toward a unified goal, we could help make a livable future inevitable. But there’s even more reason for optimism now, despite some of the setbacks of the last year in terms of the global economy and the latest IPCC synthesis report.

When it comes to partnerships, one thing that hasn’t changed is how closely we work with our partners — especially on the supply side. We’re constantly having conversations about how we can help them solve big problems like scale and access. Here’s a good example: as a direct result of those conversations, we built (and just released) the first ever operating system for carbon credit suppliers to manage credits and grow revenue.

On your website, I read that educating customers is an important part of climate action. Can you tell us a bit more about your educational initiatives? In your opinion, what are the topics that need most explanation at the moment? And how can we all work together in sharing this knowledge?

The biggest thing any individual can do in the fight against climate change is spreading awareness. Awareness starts with education. I think all of us can point to the moment we first became galvanized to make a difference for the future livability of Earth; it was probably a book, an article, a show — some type of educational content. So in a sense, education is one of the most important things we do. We’re always releasing new blogs, hosting webinars, speaking at events like SXSW, and publishing ebooks on important topics. The voluntary carbon market can be incredibly complex and nuanced, even for experts. A good example is the release of the latest IPCC report or the new ICVCM Core Carbon Principles. These can be dense, scientific reports that may have implications for how climate leaders approach their strategy. Our climate experts were able to publish helpful takeaways the same day.

I’m happy that the partnership with Pina Earth complements our project portfolio with European projects to scale unified climate action. The team’s expertise in developing solutions targeted to local ecosystems made it easy for us to engage in this partnership.

Robert Ralph, Partnerships @ Patch

As a service-focused partner trained by globally renowned institutions, Robert has helped the most successful Fortune 500 enterprises and the earliest-stage startups extract value from their assets using software infrastructure that supports carefully crafted strategies for market entry and growth. In his role at Patch, Robert is fully dedicated to supporting carbon project developers and partners in achieving their objectives as they help power a climate-positive economy and rebalance our planet.