The Climate Tech Opportunity

The Climate Tech Opportunity

The Climate Tech Opportunity

As regular readers of SW News may have noticed, we’ve been talking a lot about climate innovation recently. It’s a topic we’re passionate about and it aligns with our belief that highlighting the solutions to the climate crisis is as important as highlighting the urgency of the problem. Which is why we were excited to publish a report called The Irish Climate Tech Opportunity 2023, in partnership with PwC Ireland. SW Co-Founder, Aideen O’ Hora, was a lead co-author of the report. A long-time climate innovation advocate she believes we need to do more to support the entrepreneurs and companies working in this space. She outlines here why it is so important and one way in which it could be done:

“At a time when the world is struggling with the global response and impact of climate change, there is a growing number of entrepreneurs that are turning this crisis into an opportunity. To put the opportunity into perspective, to date, net-zero commitments covering 83% of global emissions have been made by companies, countries, regions and cities. It is no surprise, then, that there is growing confidence in the global and Irish Climate Tech sector, evidenced by the emergence of new climate-aligned funds and the growth of innovative companies developing Climate Tech solutions.

Climate Tech is an evolution of cleantech in that it is more narrowly focused on technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon) or addressing the impact of climate change. Since all sectors need to decarbonise, Climate Tech companies are distributed across the economy, with exciting solutions emerging in sectors like energy, the built environment, water management, the circular and regenerative bioeconomy, and food, agriculture and land use (FALU).

The Irish Climate Tech Opportunity 2023 report showcases a range of Irish climate tech companies that demonstrate the potential for Ireland as a global leader in climate technology. While there are existing supports, such as R&D initiatives and accelerator programmes, if this sector is to survive and thrive and the full opportunity is to be realised, more focused policy, initiatives and funding are needed to support them in connecting with customers and investors. One way to do this would be to develop a one-stop-shop, similar to Denmark’s “State of Green” initiative, that links entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors and customers. This kind of initiative would foster collaboration and partnerships, provide access to resources and become a showcase for corporate customers.”

To read the report in full and find out about the exciting climate innovation happening on our doorstep, click here.

Top 5 Articles

Here’s a roundup of recent articles and reports that caught our attention:

  • Ireland’s time for action: Ireland’s latest Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2023 was published late last year, just a few days before Christmas. In this Irish Times article, Kevin O’Sullivan explains that this CAP has a much greater emphasis on ‘the how’ of cutting our emissions compared to previous iterations. His article offers good insights and a summary of the six key sectors where action is most needed. (Irish Times)
  • Carbon offset confusion: a Guardian investigation into Verra, the worlds leading carbon standard for the voluntary carbon market (VCM) has alleged that more than 90% of Verra’s rainforest offset credits do not actually represent genuine carbon reductions. Verra has since responded and defended its methodology. As this controversy has shown, the debates around the VCM show no signs of abating. (Guardian)
  • Global risks turning green: the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its annual global risks report in January. Environmental risks turned the Top 10 risks graphic green, while climate action failure is set to dominate global risk over the next decade. (WEF)
  • Climate action at scale: friend of SW, Rory Sullivan’s piece is the perfect pick-me-up for any February blues. He argues that we should be more optimistic and seek to shine a light on the positives happening in climate action, such as changes in climate finance and policy. (ESG Investor)
  • Reporting in 2023: this piece from sustainability reporting expert, Elaine Cohen, is essential reading for anyone wanting to get their head around trends and best practice in sustainability reporting – a fast moving landscape with the advent of CSRD and other changes. (CSR Reporting)

Roll up, Roll up! New CPD Certificate in Corporate Sustainability & ESG

SustainabilityWorks is excited to partner with Ibec Academy on the design and delivery of a new 4-day CPD Certificate course in Corporate Sustainability & ESG, accredited by Technological University Dublin. The course is applicable to anyone tasked with leading or supporting the implementation of a sustainability strategy for their business.

Participants will start by learning about the business case for sustainability and understanding key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and the approaches companies use to manage them. Then they’ll deep dive into best practice sustainability strategy development, using their own business as a test case. Finally, they’ll learn about the ins and outs of sustainability reporting, and the practicalities of turning a sustainability strategy into action.

In delivering the training, the SustainabilityWorks team will be drawing on our 20+ years’ experience, sharing our insights and advice, our do’s and don’ts and our top tips for success.

Read SW Co-Founder, Karen Deignan’s thoughts on why sustainability & ESG is the new must-have skillset for employees.

Find out more about the Ibec Academy course – first programme kicking off in late Feb! – and book your place here.

COP 15 on Biodiversity: a re-cap

December 2022 saw almost 200 countries sign up to a new set of goals and targets to “halt and reverse” biodiversity loss by the end of the decade. The final deal coming out of COP 15, which was reached in the early hours of Monday 19th December, included the oft-repeated headline target of “30×30” – an ambition to conserve 30% of the world’s land and 30% of the ocean by 2030. A second “30×30” goal also made it into the final package, with developed countries agreeing to mobilise $30bn for developing countries by 2030.

If, like us, your month of December went by in a bit of a blur and you missed some of detail of what took place at COP 15, the clever people at Carbon Brief have put together this excellent summary. It’s a long read, but it lays out how the negotiations unfolded and what all of the key outcomes were. Read through this and you’ll be fully up to speed on everything in one go!

What We’re Listening To

The SW & PwC Climate Tech Report got some great coverage in the media, including these two pieces on radio:
  • Laura Heuston, SW Co-Founder on Newstalk with Joe Lynam
  • David McGee, Leader, PwC Ireland ESG Practice on RTE’s The Business with Richard Curran

We’ve also enjoyed these podcasts, which touch on the topic of climate innovation and climate tech. Check them out:

  • David McWilliams gives his verdict on what went down at January’s World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos in this episode of his popular podcast
  • The Rethink Climate series on BBC Radio 4 has five really interesting episodes, with two focused on green tech and innovation

What we’re watching

At the WEF summit, Al Gore made an impassioned plea for faster climate action. In a fiery speech he spoke about how we have the technology, we know the pathway, we just need to diminish the power of the fossil fuel lobby and stop letting it block progress. Watch the speech here. (5 mins long)

Sustainability Jobs