Icebreaker One exists to fix a big problem: that access to most of the world’s data is restricted, making it harder to direct investment and action toward net zero. To solve it, we’re creating a web of net-zero data that connects finance, industry, and environment data. 

We see increasing evidence that data access is stifling our net zero future.

At COP27 I saw material recognition of the role of data in delivering net zero. Businesses, governments, and NGOs are also recognising the role of connecting – not collecting – data to get to net zero. 

Every part of the system is struggling. The knee-jerk reaction is to ‘build a portal’, but people are recognising that organisations don’t want (yet another) process to ‘push’ sensitive commercial data into another organisation/system. It is becoming apparent that to enable whole systems modelling, interoperability needs to be part of the systems design. 

Governments and regulators are recognising the role of access to data. Earlier this year, the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, established by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ofgem and Innovate UK published a series of recommendations to develop a modern, decarbonised digital energy system. They called for a new Data Sharing Fabric – “the governance, administrative and technological solution for the management of access to Shared Data across organisations” –  to form part of the networked Digital Spine covering the entire energy system. Read how our Open Energy work supports delivery of the Digital Spine

A recent report by the Energy Systems Catapult, which authored the Digital Spine report, said: 

“The regulator should mandate Open Energy as an industry-wide data sharing mechanism. Open Energy has, via a competition run by government, created a service that enables trusted actors to share data in a consistent way across the energy value chain. Mandating this solution would accelerate its adoption and make consistent an approach, reducing costs and barriers to entry.”

Further,  secure, efficient, timely data sharing was the vision at the heart of Ofgem’s RIIO-ED2 price control (a performance-based model for the spending and investment of energy network companies that determines how they will operate between 2023 and 2030). Read more about how Open Energy can help make this possible.

In 2022 we delivered breakthroughs that help connect net zero data

We refined our Icebreaking process to help organisations and sectors work out how to make data work harder to reach net zero. This brings together stakeholders in a neutral environment with a focus on specific challenges, identifying priority value cases (e.g. finance, energy, transport), mapping out the data value chain, and prioritising actions and steps to delivery. It’s the starting point for organisations who know they need to engage in a net zero future. 

We published standout research that built understanding of the data gaps holding us back from net zero, and how to improve access to data. Our work with FoSDA saw us produce new insights on sovereign ESG data. In Project Nimbus, we collaborated with SSEN and Ofgem to explore how meteorological data can be made available to energy networks to improve their efficiency, security, and resilience. And we published an explainer guide to the plethora of language around ESG, disclosure, and reporting. 

Open Net Zero
We launched Open Net Zero. It is a starting point for net-zero data infrastructure, built to address commercial, non-commercial, government, and public needs. While there is substantial Open Data related to net zero (e.g. company disclosures), we will help make this more discoverable and usable than it is today. 

We are improving access to both Open Data and Shared Data. Much of the data needed to drive net-zero decisions is not openly licensed or free for anyone to use, and will never be.
We are making this data discoverable and, to address its restricted usage, are co-developing (with industry) a Trust Framework for data sharing: enabling Shared Data to be discovered and licensed at scale.

Critically, Open Net Zero is not a ‘database of all the data’. We are working across sectors to enable data discovery using open standards. Anyone can make their own search engine or build their own data lake based on these open standards. Find out more about Open Net Zero and explore it today — let us know what you need. We have defined net-zero data as data that connects finance, industry, and our environment to inform net-zero decisions.

We brought together key people on the journey to net zero. At COP27, we chaired a session with FoSDA, representing financial actors across the ESG data community. In collaboration with Climate Arc, in July we brought together over 60 experts and practitioners in the financial, investment, and data analytics sectors. Together they helped identify key gaps and innovative solutions to bring climate science into mainstream investment decisions. 

We’ve joined Carbon Call, alongside organisations such as XBRL (a global framework for exchanging business information) as part of an initiative to strengthen carbon accounting so it is both reliable, interoperable, and up to the task of measuring progress and challenges. 

We brought together Chief Data Officers for a fireside chat with Arup’s Volker Buscher to discuss how he designed Arup’s data strategy to help drive the company’s net-zero goals.  

We also contributed to the Climate Action Data group and the emergent Net Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU) including being listed in its white paper as a potential part of the solution.   

Our work is being adopted by businesses, government, and non-profits

This year, we’ve seen industry engagement on a bigger scale than ever before. 

We have run our Icebreaking process for a host of high-impact organisations. We’re working with SSEN to help them deliver net zero through better data and get more electric vehicles on the road. We’re working with STREAM to unlock the potential of water data to benefit customers, society, and the environment. We’re engaged with Lloyd’s Register to help improve data information flow across the shipping sector. Earlier this year, we worked with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles to help build an understanding of data challenges and user needs in rolling out thousands more electric vehicle charge points. Finally, for this update, we’re beginning an exciting new collaboration with Bankers for Net Zero, the UK chapter of the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance. We’re working on Project Perseus to automate GHG reporting for all SMEs –  read more and get involved.

Feedback from people we’ve worked with:

  • “A tremendously successful initiative that has gone above and beyond what was expected”
  • “We are delighted to have Icebreaker One as a partner — they’ve set the standard for what’s possible”
  • “The most ambitious initiative we’ve funded”
  • “Excellent delivery and technical implementation”
  • “This consortium has been the best we’ve worked with”