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Origin Materials Layoffs: 30% Staff Cuts At Carbon Negative Materials Company

November 22, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Origin Materials layoffs involved 30% staff cuts, the carbon negative materials company has disclosed.

Origin Materials, based in Sacramento, California, develops a platform for "turning the carbon found in inexpensive, plentiful, non-food biomass such as sustainable wood residues into useful materials while capturing carbon in the process."

Matt Plavan, CFO, Origin Materials
Matt Plavan, CFO, Origin Materials

The problem: Origin Materials greatly reduced its full-year revenue forecast, and that ultimately triggered the layoffs. Here's a timeline of what happened:

  • October 30, 2023: The company hired Matt Plavan as CFO.
  • November 9, 2023: Origin Materials vastly reduced its full-year revenue expectations. Indeed, revenue will be roughly $25 million to $30 million for 2023 -- far below a previous range of $40 million to $60 million.
  • November 20, 2023: The company announced "organizational streamlining" and a "realignment" to focus on "higher-margin revenue opportunities" and "deferral of research programs." Dig deeper into the news, and the streamlining announcement included the layoffs information.
John Bissell, Co-CEO, Origin Materials

In a prepared statement about the business changes, Origin Materials Co-CEO John Bissell said: "Consistent with our previously announced focus on near-term revenue opportunities and cash management as we commercialize the business and deploy our technology platform, we have taken action to reduce certain expenses and reallocate resources. The changes we are implementing support our plan to execute priority initiatives representing high-margin, near-term opportunities, while deferring some research programs with strong, but longer-term economic impacts. We believe these actions will substantially extend our cash resources while maintaining momentum with our partners, who are committed to bringing Origin’s technology to market. This was a difficult decision that involves parting ways with many talented team members who have committed themselves to our mission. We are deeply appreciative of their contributions to Origin and will do our best to support them in future endeavors."

Origin Materials stock ($ORGN) is down nearly 83% in the past year, according to SeekingAlpha.

Green Job Market: Still Growing Despite Scattered Layoffs

Meanwhile, the overall sustainability job market remains strong -- as businesses seek employees to fill green IT, renewable energy, and energy transition jobs.

Indeed, demand for green jobs in the United States has grown roughly 50% since 2019, according to Lightcast. In response, companies such as AccentureEYGoodwill and Microsoft have launched green jobs training programs.

Still, layoffs have hit multiple sustainability-focused companies in such sectors as EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure, carbon-capture projects, solar technologies, media and more.

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