COP27, the upcoming UN Climate Conference, is calling for urgent action. Here is how we are supporting climate solutions.
Ahead of the upcoming UN climate conference in Sharm-el-Sheik, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed made an impassioned call for global climate action. “All indicators on climate are heading in the wrong direction,” she said. “The window of opportunity to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis is closing.”
The meeting next month will continue a years-long conversation between governments, civil society, business leaders, scientists, and others who have been working to chart a comprehensive path toward net zero emissions. This path will require significant investment, political will and alignment, scientific guidance on what is needed — and critically, climate tech solutions that can be implemented to drive industries toward net zero emissions and serve people most affected by climate change.
That is where we have been working to offer the most support. As an impact innovation company working vigorously to better the world by supporting solutions to complex issues, we have been intently focused on climate solutions for years. We understand that nothing will move the needle on climate change if governments, industries, and communities do not have access to scalable solutions that reduce our carbon-intensive dependencies and undo the damage that has already been done.
The good news is that in previous UN climate conferences, experts have noted that much of the technology the world needs is already here. “Proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already exist,” UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said last year. The challenge now involves scaling these solutions and facilitating widespread adoption by making them affordable and accessible, especially for under-resourced countries and communities that often stand to benefit from them the most.
For our part, we’ve been working to address this challenge by fostering relationships within the climate tech ecosystem that can accelerate the scaling and adoption of climate tech solutions. Our impact investing firm, programs, and initiatives, focus first and foremost on building relational wealth among climate tech innovators and other actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, from investors to government to corporations. These relationships drive funding and other support toward promising innovations and enable the sort of radical collaboration needed to rapidly advance the deployment of important climate technology.
For ClimateTech, a program we run in partnership with NextCorps with support from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, offers regular accelerators and other founder-centric programming and support to climatetech innovators. Much of that support involves strategically connecting innovators with other ecosystem actors who are positioned to either mentor, fund, adopt or offer other support to their breakthrough technologies.
Some of the innovators the initiative has supported include Mars Materials, which is commercializing technology that converts CO2 and biomass into low-cost and low-carbon synthetic fibers; Clean Ocean Coatings, which produces a toxin-free coating for the shipping industry that is chemically and mechanically stable; and Alchemr, whose pollution-free process to convert water into hydrogen for a renewable power source costs the same as the fossil fuel-powered process now commonly used.
We’ve been doing similar work for years through our award-winning initiative, The Incubation Network. Run in partnership with the Circulate Initiative, the program is focused on optimizing land-based plastic waste management, and advancing a circular economy in South and Southeast Asia. The region is one of the global hotspots for ocean plastic pollution resulting from the surging global use of carbon-intensive plastics that exceed the capacity of local waste management systems. The initiative’s programming supports more than 140 projects that have collectively removed and prevented 41,672 metric tons of waste from flowing into the environment. But beyond simply supporting innovators in a vacuum, it is focused (as its name suggests) on nurturing a powerful network of funders, corporations, governments, civil society, innovators and all the other actors needed to advance multiple solutions to our global addiction to plastics, which is on track to pump 4.3 billion tonnes of GHG emissions to into our atmosphere by 2060.
Meanwhile, our impact investment firm, SecondMuse Capital, is tapping our global network to develop a Climate Venture Fund, and working with a range of partners to accelerate other types of funding for climate solutions.
All of our efforts simultaneously strive to advance gender equity and social justice by supporting and engaging with a diversity of ecosystem actors, especially those from historically marginalized backgrounds and those who are most impacted by the effects of climate change.
As the world gathers for the next UN Climate meeting, some of our own will be in attendance to keep abreast of the latest developments and to continue building our network and nurturing the relational seeds needed to grow a more just and climate-friendly future.