2023’s Climate Tech Leaders Supporting the Race to Net Zero
By Will Parkhouse. Will is a Director in Zeren’s Commercial team, specialising in placing Commercial hires into the SaaS market.
2022’s number of extreme weather events once again brought the scale of the climate challenge to the forefront of global priorities as well as posing a serious test to the resilience of business operations.
In the tech space, we saw California’s heatwave last September disable one of Twitter’s main data centres, winter storms in Texas closed three key semiconductor plants and a drought in China’s Sichuan province shut down several factories including those manufacturing key components for electronics.
The pressing need to reduce our carbon output is highlighted by the continuing amount of venture capital we’ve seen flooding into climate tech. Global climate tech VCs enjoyed an exceptional 2022, seeing $70.1B of investment (an increase of 89% from 2021), and initial expectations suggest there will be more to come in 2023. This influx is driving the development of innovative products aimed at various aspects of the carbon reduction mission with a range of new companies bringing exciting tech to the carbon challenge.
At the pre-seed level, Berlin-based Maya Climate is linking carbon asset developers with commercial investors via a platform that helps market their projects to relevant parties who can potentially make them happen. Seed-stage ventures such as Climatiq are working to help businesses automate carbon emission calculations and drive sustainability-focused decisions backed by datasets they can trust.
Those within Series B, such as Levidian, have put decarbonisation at the heart of their mission, pioneering the technology to decarbonise methane, locking the carbon into high-quality graphene for greener manufacturing. Normative is another interesting example within this growth phase who have tackled the complexity of reporting with a carbon accounting platform that works to understand where emissions within a business are coming from and analyse them within contexts including suppliers, regions, and Scopes.
In the higher stages of maturity, including start-up and private equity, the start of the year saw 83 listed climate tech unicorns active around the world, at a collective value of $180bn+. In Europe, climate tech is the fastest-growing vertical, second only to fintech as the largest recipient of investment. This is of course resulting in a strong employment market with data from 2021 showing around 50,000 positions within the European climate tech space with Northvolt (Battery Cell Manufacturer) and Arrival (Electric Vehicles) being notable employers in the region across the mobility Eco-System.
2023 will likely maintain a strong focus and push further growth within climate tech, considering continuing business impacts from severe weather combined with the growing need for corporate carbon analysis, reporting and reduction.
The findings from Deloitte’s 2022 CxO Sustainability Survey, which elicited responses from more than 2000 C-Suite professionals, serves to demonstrate these concerns weighing heavily on the minds of execs.
• 37% reported already experiencing a scarcity of resources such as water and energy.
• 38% said they were feeling the cost of climate change mitigation.
• 42% said their operations had been affected by climate-related disasters or events.
It’s not an issue corporations will continue to be able to side-line or ignore. Leaders across the business world are going to need to push their climate action and explore the innovation within climate tech as a key priority as we move ever closer to 2030’s Net Zero goal. Stilted plans and delayed progress will no longer be an option.
“To be early might be challenging, but to be too late will be devastating.”
Anna Borg, CEO of Vattenfall.
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