Data firm hires Mark Carney advisor and ex- State Street ESG head in sustainability push

Curtis Ravenel and Mark McDivitt join firm specialising in blockchain

Note: This article was updated after publication to include further details of Curtis Ravenel's role

Context Labs has become the latest data firm to enter the ESG space, hiring Curtis Ravenel – Mark Carney’s senior advisor for COP26 and a member of the Secretariat of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) – and former State Street Global Head of ESG, Mark McDivitt.

Ravenel, who spent more than a decade heading up sustainability initiatives at Bloomberg and was a member of the European Commission’s advisory group on sustainability-related disclosures, will be a part-time strategic advisor on Context’s “leadership team”, overseeing the development of data and AI-based ESG products to be released under its sustainability-focused arm, Spherical Analytics.

Mark McDivitt (Left) and Curtis Ravenel (Right)

Context Labs, a private company based in the US and the Netherlands, was founded in 2013 by tech entrepreneur Dan Harple to focus on blockchain. It launched Spherical Analytics in 2018 – which it said would “build the world’s trusted platform for global environmental data and insightful analytics” – with $7.5m in seed funding from the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.

Context said that Ravenel’s experience in sustainability data and disclosure would “guide and navigate the Context Labs differentiation, messaging, product packaging and delivery models”. 

In a statement, Ravenel said: “Context Labs’ tech offerings are unique in what I have seen in the ESG alternative data markets. The ability to provide trust, provenance and deep contextual insights on important ESG dimensions in sustainable finance are game changing.”

His appointment comes days after Context named former State Street Global Head of ESG Mark McDivitt as Chief Operating Officer. 

Spherical recently released a data and analytics platform focused on methane emissions in the Texas Permian Basin, as well as a platform covering low-greenhouse gas commodity supply chains. It has also partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to launch the Environmental Data Initiative for stakeholders to “address unreported emissions, enhance emissions accounting and modeling, and evaluate combinations of regulatory and energy operations changes” in the US.