After more than 13 months of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us are making a slow return to so-called “normal.” However, as this year’s Earth Day organizers remind us, we can’t go back to business-as-usual when it comes to protecting our environment.
Protecting and restoring our natural environment is fundamental to our core values at SecondMuse, where we are focused on bringing diverse communities together to build economies that benefit people and protect the planet.
We do this by putting people first, boldly challenging ourselves to find solutions to complex issues, and tenaciously implementing new ideas that may, at times, seem impossible.
One such complex challenge, of course, is climate change.
SecondMuse supports a community of diverse innovators, stakeholders, and investors around the world to build environmental ecosystems – from Southeast Asia to upstate New York – that develop innovative solutions to pressing environmental concerns.
On this Earth Day we’d like to highlight some of the climate and environmental innovations happening within SecondMuse.
A climate tech ecosystem in New York
Zinc batteries that can help decarbonize the electric grid; a device that converts carbon dioxide into affordable chemicals and fuels; agricultural robots that help with the toughest farm chores while increasing efficiency and farmworker safety. These are just a few of the climate tech innovations being developed at For ClimateTech, a suite of accelerator programs that SecondMuse runs in partnership with entrepreneurship company NextCorps, and with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
New York has some of the most ambitious climate goals in the U.S. The For ClimateTech programs support innovators from around the globe by bringing their climate tech solutions to market in order to help meet these goals and make New York a world leader in the climate tech industry.
For ClimateTech is also a sponsor of the NREL Industry Growth Forum – the premier event for cleantech entrepreneurs, investors, and experts – which will be held virtually this year from April 20-22. Multiple teams from past and current Scale For ClimateTech cohorts will present their solutions during the forum. In addition, SecondMuse will be announcing the inaugural cohort for Venture For ClimateTech, a new accelerator for early-stage climate tech startups.
Ending ocean plastic pollution
A 2019 report from the Center for International Environmental Law described the role the plastic industry plays in our planet’s changing climate. At each step of the plastic lifecycle, it noted, greenhouse gases are emitted. Unless corrected, the report warned, these emissions are on track to dramatically accelerate in the coming decade.
One of our programs, The Incubation Network, or TIN, has been working for the last two years, alongside SecondMuse, The Circulate Initiative, and other key partners, to curb the plastic pollution choking our oceans and address the roots of the problem.
Based in Singapore, the incubator program is building ecosystems of waste management and recycling solutions to increase the quality and quantity of problem solvers working to reduce trash in our oceans.
Since 2019, it has launched and run numerous programs including the Plastics Data Challenge, which sourced and supported innovative entrepreneurs. The challenge enabled these entrepreneurs to pilot their data-driven solutions to end plastic pollution in South and Southeast Asia, where the bulk of the world’s plastic waste washes up. One company that took part in the challenge was Clearbot, an enterprise that uses artificial intelligence vision to understand the types of waste in the waterways of Southeast Asia and collect it using swarms of robots. These robots are fully autonomous, solar-powered, and can work as a team to remove the trash.
The Incubation Network has sourced over 260 innovative solutions and has conducted over 1,000 hours of mentorship from close to 150 industry experts. Its affiliated Ocean Plastics Fund has raised $106 million across governments, investors, foundations and corporations.
Investing in the next generation of the climate movement
Our final shoutout on this Earth Day goes to SecondMuse Capital, the financial management arm of SecondMuse, which identifies, incubates, and invests in opportunities that advance social and environmental justice. SecondMuse Capital works closely with some of our programs, including TIN, as part of its effort to build inclusive and resilient economies.
SecondMuse Capital also runs the Future Economy Lab (FEL), a collaborative research and design lab. FEL’s first iteration began in 2020 in Montreal with the goal of advancing an inclusive and resilient climate economy in Quebec, a province that has long been a leader in sustainable finance but where the climate economy is still nascent.
The organizers of this year’s Earth Day have selected the theme “Restore Our Earth.” It’s a call to action that we have always answered here at SecondMuse, where we remain committed to catalyzing the next generation of the climate movement, which will be more inclusive, more diverse, globally connected, and data-driven.