Editor’s Note: The final article in a series detailing innovative start-ups and their role in shifting to a clean-climate system. To read part one, click HERE
Using data to inform decisions and make the financial system more sustainable
Over US$90 trillion dollars needs to be invested over the next fifteen years in sustainable assets to decarbonise the global economy. The Climate-KIC Accelerator supports the need to enhance the ability of the financial system to mobilise private capital for sustainable investment, as it is not possible for public money alone to fund this transition.
Transparency within the finance and information sectors are becoming increasingly prevalent and supported by the drive for consumers to know how their products are being produced, where their money is going, and how they can best support climate-innovation. Because of this, almost every start-up in the Accelerator programme can be placed into the decision metrics theme because they recognize that democratising access to climate risk information is one of the keys to standardising transparency across all sectors and all themes.
Evocco strives to make knowledge of environmental impact a standard in every customer’s purchasing decisions and has developed a smartphone app that informs users about the impact of their purchases, offering tips for how to increase their positive footprint. Consumer decision metrics are then sold to food industry stakeholders, helping them engage with and understand their customers. This allows food producers to make informed, sustainable growing decisions based on real-time knowledge of what environmental issues are most important to their customer base.
Access to climate finance is imperative for emerging economies, but it is not always accessible; GreenFi is changing this paradigm by providing eco-credit to small-scale producers. This credit helps producers build their environmental, community, and financial health in the face of climate change. The mobile app helps members track their environmental and financial progress while at the same time ensuring clarity and environmental accountability.
Like the transition to clean cities, one of the keys to a successful company specializing in decision metrics and finance is giving power back to the consumer. By expanding the availability of data, models, and associated tools, people can make their own informed decisions—whether it be food, clothing, agriculture, or climate risk. The capacity to make a positive environmental impact rests with both the consumer and the start-up as they work in tandem to utilize and spread the information at their disposal.
Mitigating Climate Change through Land Use
Currently, agriculture, forestry, and other land use accounts for 24 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), though in Ireland agriculture accounts for >32 percent of GHG emissions. However, smart land use systems hold some of the greatest opportunities for reduction and removal through innovative techniques and approaches, spanning food production and forestry.
Growing water pipes
Hydroponics has been around for years as an efficient way to grow plants in a soil-less medium. The hydroponic system itself is typically plastic-based, which is why the AquaRoot product is exciting. AquaRoot is a next-generation hydroponics system that uses 3-D printing to extrude a biodegradable polymer pipe, mimicking the function of a tree root network. Not only does AquaRoot have the same advantages as traditional hydroponics, such as using less water, it also takes up less space, allowing growers to produce more crops and reduce their plastic and carbon footprint by designing their own system. AquaRoot is climate-smart agriculture in action and is spearheading a major transition in the food system industry.
Local food marketplace
Lessons learned from urban transitions can also be applied to sustainable land use. Currently, there is a disconnect between the production of food and consumption. SocialFeedia is changing this, using concepts from cities and data collection to connect farmers and consumers. SocialFeedia is an AI engine for farmers so they can replace intuitive decisions with fact-based ones, resulting in optimising the use of resources to produce and deliver the food consumers want. SocialFeedia applies a smart cities network to the rural-consumer interchange, ensuring there is a transparency and trust developed between the farmers and consumers.
Farmers and other land users experience some of the harshest side-effects of climate change, but technological solutions for increasing resilience is an approach that can create momentum and give consumers a motivation to deal with climate change. Winning the trust of food producers is one of the most important steps, which is why companies like AquaRoot and SocialFeedia deal directly with the farmer to help them find sustainable, practical solutions that will last. Climate-KIC Accelerator is supporting innovation and improvement in one of the most climate-vulnerable sectors to ensure a thrivable food system for years to come.
The Climate-KIC Accelerator programme highlights all levels of climate innovation, from city-wide structural changes, sustainable new products to revitalize and shake an industry, democratisation of climate information, and safeguarding of vulnerable land-use systems. These themes provide a working space for start-ups to scale their ideas, but integration of multiple sectors of impact gives companies the ability to make big change and face the scale of a shifting climate system.
“Ireland has an energetic and enthusiastic market ready to face the deep level of transformation required by climate challenges. I’m delighted to have partnered with Climate-KIC to be able to offer their Accelerator programme to Irish entrepreneurs – a dynamic community of start-ups that together work to change the landscape of business and climate. The Climate-KIC Accelerator establishes a platform for excellent ideas – and combined with AIB support — gives them the tools needed to tip the climate scales in favour of innovation and systems change. These start-ups are only a few examples of the climate-innovation we have in Ireland; they show that great work is already taking place, but they also inspire the future and represent attainable goals for how innovative ideas can transform into businesses that make a real impact and contribute to the real economy”, says Aideen O’Hora, Director Sustainable Business, Sustainable Nation Ireland.
Ireland’s economy can be low-carbon – let’s support Irish start-up who can contribute to making it happen!
This is part two in a series of articles on climate innovation in Ireland – to read part one, CLICK HERE
To learn more about the start-ups participating in the 2018 Accelerator, please CLICK HERE
To learn more about the start-ups that participated in the 2017 Accelerator, please CLICK HERE