Public attention on climate change action has risen since the kick-off of the global Fridays for Future movement. However, despite the hardships and fallbacks due to the pandemic, the last two years have seen incredible advances in the environmental sector. Green and Planet Positive startups that tackle the topic of climate change are more and more prevalent — and that goes across all kinds of industries. In the tech sector, especially innovative green companies are increasing their share of the global venture pie. Let’s look into how the biggest startup trend right now is sustainability!
In this blog article, you can find the latest numbers, trends, definitions, and everything else you need to know about climate change startups and GreenTech in order to be up-to-date.
Planet Positive, purpose-driven, GreenTech, cleantech… What’s behind all these terms?
If you’ve been reading the latest startup trends, you might have stumbled upon some of these terms. But what are they all about? Let’s briefly fill you in on the terminology!
The Planet Positive Protocol defines “a business, product, event or individual is Planet Positive if it has achieved a net positive impact on our planet, its ecosystems and its people.” That said, both terms, Planet Positive, and purpose-driven refer to a company’s business model in general. On that account, GreenTech startups could be defined as Planet Positive per se: they aim to use our planet’s resources sustainably and to contribute to building a sustainable future.
Green technology, sometimes also simply referred to as GreenTech or cleantech, makes use of environmental science and monitoring to create new technological methods that (1) protect the Earth’s resources and prosperity and (2) preserve our natural environment. Green technology’s main goal is to reduce the negative human impacts on our planet. Therefore, a GreenTech company’s aim is to identify habits that harm the environment and waste resources and replace them with new technologies, products, and methods to improve environmental quality and work towards a resource-rich future.
Among others, GreenTech’s goals include the following:
- Sustainability: Serving society’s needs whilst protecting the planet’s resources
- Cradle-to-cradle design: Creating and manufacturing products that can be reused or recycled
- Innovation: Replacing environmentally harmful technologies with more sustainable methods through research, design, and development
- Source reduction: Shifting methods of production towards more resource-efficient means, reducing pollution and waste
Why is there a need for sustainable startups?
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (frequently simply referred to as SDGs; you can check them out in more detail here) make clear that work towards a better future is needed. Most of us would agree that this is a key priority in this new decade. We can do so by changing and adapting our individual behavior, for example when it comes to our consumption choices. However, in order to proficiently achieve the SDGs, not only we as individuals or consumers are needed, it’s the collaborative force of individual mindset, fear- and taboo-less policy and green, entrepreneurial spirit that can really make a change.
With climate change advancing, Planet Positive, environmental startups are on the rise too, now stronger than ever before. Alongside the global pandemic that has pushed advancements in the online economy and entrepreneurship, a wave of innovation has spread out all across Europe.
Over the last two years, we’ve all experienced how digital services and new trends in consumer behavior have shaken up various industries including healthcare and food. This also goes for sustainable startups that have recently emerged and gained momentum, such as Flox, which uses artificial intelligence to enhance farmers’ management of chicken flocks by improving bird welfare, or Planetly, which offer software to enable intelligent carbon management for businesses. For more top Greentech startups, check out our startup database here.
Founder Talk with impact and purpose-driven female founder
Watch our Founder Talk with Anna Alex, co-founder of Planetly & the story of how it all began.
Europe’s tech startups are on the investment rise
Looking at some numbers in more detail, as of 2021, the European tech start-up scene has been facing an upswing with an increase of five percentage points in investments over the last year, accounting for a total of 18% of the global market, according to the State of European Tech 2021 report. The report was published by the venture capital company Atomico and the startup community Slush, supported by the technology law firm Orrick, the Silicon Valley Bank and the investment company Baillie Gifford. The authors monitored 45 countries for this report to get a grasp on the latest data and trends relating to the European startup scene in the tech sector.
The report shows that European tech startups are gaining ground internationally when it comes to foreign investments. A majority of European and US survey respondents were convinced that European tech is advancing and putting more pressure on China and the US for the upcoming decade. This is also reflected in the pool of investors that has expanded by more than 25% in 2021 compared to 2020. Looking at future growth, current early-stage funding levels in Europe and the US are almost equivalent, with European startups accumulating 33% of all capital invested on a worldwide basis in rounds up to $5M (US: 35%). Green entrepreneurship companies are primed to get a large piece of the pie.
Investors are throwing themselves on the green bandwagon
What’s even more remarkable, however, is the great share that Planet Positive and purpose-driven start-ups have in these numbers. Along with Deep Tech, Planet Positive companies currently represent the fastest growing sectors. Between 2019 and 2021, the biggest share of investment has been poured into companies focusing on tackling the challenges of affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) and climate action (SDG 13). Further SDGs that have attracted substantial investment shares in the previous years include sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9), and good health and wellbeing (SDG 3).
So, as green startups are emergently popping up around every other corner, investors have increasingly hopped on the new trend and become interested in making socially good and planet-friendly investments.
Never has the tech market in Europe been more sustainability-oriented than it is now. It seems there’s a bright future ahead for the European tech startup scene, and it is gleaming in a bright green color! With sustainable startups on the rise, perhaps you want to be part of the movement. Check out European-wide startup job postings in the GreenTech sector here to find your green mission for the (nearer!?) future!
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