With a startup accelerator, COP28 boosts climate tech in the Global South. Can rapid tech innovation disrupt slow-moving policymaking? World leaders and their envoys descending on Dubai this week for the COP28 climate confab will use the levers of policy to try to stave off catastrophic global warming. Their toolkit: national emissions reduction targets, voluntary pledges and government-funded climate aid – and now, disruptive startups. “Climate innovation often doesn't get talked about at COPs,” says Tristan Tremschnig with the nonprofit New Energy Nexus, or NEX, which is partnering with the summit organizers to establish the NEX COP28 Climate Tech Startup Accelerator. The goal is to, well, accelerate climate tech startups leveraging innovative new technology, models and materials for the low-carbon transition. “We think of a wider climate circle as part of the solution mix,” Tremschnig tells ImpactAlpha.
Impact Voices: Climate Action
How much science is there behind the Science Based Targets Initiative? Brazilian meat giant JBS committed to a net-zero climate target by 2040 back in 2021. The company, with estimated greenhouse gas emissions comparable to Spain, joined the Science Based Targets Initiative, a collaboration that has become the “gold standard” for corporate climate action. Companies use guidance from SBTi, which includes CDP, the UN Global Compact, World Resource Institute and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, to set "scientifically based" emission targets and validate that companies are on target. Almost three years on, Sao Paulo-based JBS “has not even reported its total emissions, much less produced a plan on how to reduce them,” writes Nusa Urbancic of Netherlands-based Changing Markets Foundation. Nonetheless, SBTi lists JBS as “committed” to “near-term” change and to “net-zero.” JBS is using SBTi “for greenwashing purposes,” says Urbancic.
Dealflow: Climate + Health
Vancouver Foundation anchors Spring Impact Capital to invest in Canadian health and climate ventures. Spring Impact Capital is looking to raise C$20 million (US$14.7 million) to invest in two dozen early stage health and climate tech enterprises in Canada. The Vancouver-based venture fund is the first investment vehicle of Spring, an impact accelerator aiming to democratize impact investing in Canada. Since 2014, Spring has incubated over 2,000 entrepreneurs, with funding from roughly 900 accredited and non-accredited angel investors. With the launch of Spring Impact Capital, “We saw an opportunity to build on that experience and momentum that we have been creating to support ventures, in particular, at the intersection of climate and health,” Spring’s Keith Ippel told ImpactAlpha. More than 10 limited partners have committed to the fund’s first close, said Ippel.
Impact Voices: Private Equity
Equipping private equity managers to unlock value through sustainability. Private equity ownership of companies increasingly comes with responsibility to drive long-term viability, rather than short-term value-extraction. Sustainability strategies can unlock value within organizations, drive top-line growth, and tackle material risks to prevent future value destruction (see, “Private equity is leaving billions of dollars in sustainability value on the table”). So why then do so many PE firms miss the opportunity to use sustainability as a strategic lever? “They just need better tools,” write NYU Stern’s Tensie Whelan and Julien Marchese,and Florent Nanse of Arthur D. Little.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
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