Climate change is the existential threat of our time. A new report from the United Nations warns of its effects on human wellbeing, infrastructure, food and water access, and the biodiversity of the planet’s ecosystems. But it’s not all doom and gloom. While humans may be a leading cause of climate change, we’re also the only ones who can fix it, and people are doing just that: the SEC proposed mandatory disclosure from public companies to provide estimates of both direct and indirect GHG emissions; environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is skyrocketing — with an estimated $120 billion invested in ESG-focused funds in 2021 — more than double the year prior; and globally, 85% of people indicate they’ve shifted their purchasing behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years.
In response to the increased need for sustainable innovations that can help tackle climate change, these greentech industries stand well-positioned for growth even amid climate uncertainty:
For millennia, we’ve relied on traditional outdoor agriculture to power our global food supply. But with declining arable land, geopolitical crises disrupting supply chains, and increasingly severe weather events, CEA is quickly becoming an important and viable solution. Vertical farming companies like our client, Crop One, grow safe, local and nutritious produce in any climate. Desert or tundra, urban core or sprawling countryside, controlled environment farms can be built virtually anywhere, providing 365 days of continuous production. The scalable growth opportunities for the industry are tremendous, and why it’s projected to reach more than $24 billion by 2030.
From milk alternatives to vegan leather, if there’s an animal product you like, you can undoubtedly find a plant-based dupe with ease. The market is clearly responding to this new demand, evidenced by the flurry of venture funding and IPOs in the space. Whatever one’s reason for embracing a more plant-based lifestyle, it’s a good thing — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests a shift to more plant-based consumption can help limit GHG emissions.
Did you know that building operations and construction make up 38% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions? High? Yes. However, it also represents a tremendous opportunity for commercial real estate developers and owners to invest in new technologies, both on the construction and operations side, that work to make buildings more sustainable. Material innovations like cross-laminated timber, sophisticated energy consumption monitoring systems, or dehumidification technology* that allows air conditioners to work more efficiently and reduce energy usage are just a handful of the new solutions poised to have a positive impact on the industry and the planet. According to IFC, “during the next decade, green buildings represent a significant low-carbon investment opportunity in emerging markets—$24.7 trillion by 2030.” Trillion, with a “T” — you bet we’ve taken note of this industry.
Both the public and private* sectors are pushing the envelope when it comes to developing new technologies that preserve and treat our global water resources. Similar to the challenges faced by outdoor farming, our water supplies are becoming increasingly stressed, competing with rising populations, industrialization and a depletion of freshwater resources. Whether its wastewater treatment, desalination or water purification, this is a booming category to watch.
Within the United States, the transportation sector is the largest GHG emitter, representing 29% of all emissions. No surprise, given that a majority of transportation methods still rely on petroleum-based combustion engines (read, CO2 emissions). But that’s slowly changing — advancements in technology have made alternative fuels an increasingly viable and accepted solution. Last year, San Francisco debuted a hydrogen-powered ferry; virtually every major carmaker has ambitious electric vehicle roadmaps; and EV infrastructure is a top priority, with municipalities working to eliminate “range anxiety” and bring EVs even more mainstream. Whether the car in the driveway, or an international cargo ship, the way we move things is poised for a green overhaul in the near future.
If you’re a greentech or cleantech company looking to tell your story, get in touch — we’d love to work with you. Learn more about our climate tech practice experience or subscribe to our weekly newsletter by completing the form on the right.