In today’s changing world, sustainability has transcended being a mere trend—it has become an imperative for companies worldwide. What was once considered a “nice to have” is now a necessity driven by growing pressures from employees, customers, and investors. It’s not only about saving the planet; it’s also a colossal business opportunity.
This article delves into the role of emerging climate tech startups in reshaping sustainability strategies and explores how established companies can integrate ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) principles effectively to stay competitive.
The emergence of climate tech startups
Climate tech startups are at the forefront of revolutionizing how organizations approach sustainability. They have the agility, innovation, and drive to make significant strides in combating climate change.
These companies are well-funded, moving swiftly, and tackling sustainability challenges boldly. In a world where “thinking big” is imperative, climate tech startups are indeed thinking about making a massive impact.
Here are a few examples:
Northvolt is a company that produces lithium-ion batteries using recycled materials. Their goal is to manufacture batteries that generate 80% less CO2 than those made from coal.
CarbonCapture extracts carbon from the atmosphere. Once sequestered, the carbon can be stored underground or used to make plastic, concrete, fuel, and other industrial products.
Impossible Foods offers plant-based beef, chicken, and pork, which are available on the menus of popular food chains.
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Understanding the shift in sustainability
Over the past decade, we have witnessed a remarkable shift in how organizations perceive sustainability. What was once a niche concern has evolved into a critical value driver. Companies now recognize that sustainability is not just about environmental responsibility; it’s a strategic lever to create value.
From 2020 to 2021 alone, the number of companies committing to science-based sustainability targets tripled. This shift marks the beginning of the third era of sustainability, one where tech-enabled sustainability is both a business opportunity and a necessity.
Some examples include:
ChargerHelp! – a startup supporting EV expansion
Universal Hydrogen – developing a zero-emissions fuel for the future of aviation
1Komma5° – energy systems for homes that contain a photovoltaic system and electricity storage
The threat of climate technology disruptors
Incumbent companies are facing a new challenge: climate technology disruptors. These emerging companies are leveraging deep tech to address critical climate issues. While most of these technologies are still in their early stages, they pose a significant threat to incumbents. Climate technology disruptors are capitalizing on five key building blocks: purpose, technological understanding, transversal technology, empowerment, and a test-and-try mentality.
Climate tech startups are deeply committed to their missions. They are willing to take on significant challenges, even when funding is scarce. This sense of purpose persists throughout their journey, ensuring they stay disciplined and focused on their goals. Disruptors not only possess deep knowledge but also the creative thinking necessary to challenge the status quo. They break the rules by combining existing knowledge with innovative approaches. Their audacity to pursue groundbreaking solutions sets them apart.
The rise of climate technology disruptors has reshaped the sustainability landscape. Incumbent companies must adapt to this new era by shedding old practices and embracing ESG integration.
By following a three-step approach—preparing, setting up the right environment, and fostering growth—established companies can not only catch up but also thrive in the race toward tech-enabled sustainability. The time to act is now, as climate technology disruptors continue to drive innovation and shape the future of sustainability.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Books for startups founders. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash.