The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, recently released its long-awaited AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023, widely regarded as the most comprehensive summary of the physical science of climate change―and their findings were nothing short of condemnatory.
Plug and Play is driven by this dire report to introduce solutions to the highlighted problems. As an innovation and venture capital firm, we view the recommendations made in the report as a call to action, a reminder that now, more than ever, we must prioritize uplifting innovative technologies that engage with different facets of the climate crisis. That is why we are always looking for new climate change techstartups to help the world fight climate change and leave a better future for the next generations.
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Using the IPCC Report as a guide, we have identified three main challenges: Achieving net-zero carbon emissions, changing the food industry, and rethinking manufacturing. Through this article, you will find some key climate tech startups in our portfolio that are tackling these three challenges.
Challenge #1: Achieving Net Zero
In projecting future CO2 emissions levels, the IPCC report claims with high confidence that natural carbon sinks found on land and in the ocean will continuously weaken in their ability to slow the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. Considering that annual carbon emissions reach 51 billion tons and the industrialization rate is rapidly increasing, it’s paramount to work towards carbon neutrality and fast.
Two of our portfolio startups, Circular and Heirloom, have identified ways to accelerate this process: Reducing and offsetting carbon emissions.
Reducing and Offsetting Carbon Emissions
Circulor is a climate tech startup founded in 2007. They aim to bring transparency to materials supply chains using blockchain, IoT, and AI. Through their SaaS digital platform, Circulor can track raw material composition changes to monitor emissions and underpin circular economy ambitions.
This revolutionary platform allows procurement and sustainability professionals to see and manage what was previously invisible, making manufacturing and supply chains more sustainable and transparent.
At Heirloom, CO2 emission reductions are achieved differently―through enhancing naturally occurring minerals that act as our planet’s best carbon sinks.
Heirloom's technology enhances this natural process, called carbon mineralization, allowing minerals to absorb CO2 from the air in days instead of years. Combining engineering and nature, Heirloom can offer the world's most cost-effective and scalable Direct Air Capture solution.
Sylvera’s approach to carbon reduction within the industry and supply chain is based on its combination of the SaaS digital platform and API, which serve as a data verifier to help the carbon offset market scale.
More specifically, Sylvera works with offset projects to increase their validity by running geospatial data, machine learning, and climate data through their algorithms to create a standardized rating for a specific carbon offset project.
Challenge #2: Changing the Food Industry
Another finding in the Report asserts that methane levels in the air are at the highest they’ve ever been in the last 800,000 years. With agriculture at the forefront of methane emitters, rapid and sustained changes to our food industry are necessary for limiting climate warming.
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Plug and Play has invested in two different climate change tech startups that aim to curb agricultural emissions by increasing the efficiency of the supply chain and ensuring no food goes to waste.
Founded in 2018 and based in Argentina, Nilus is set on tackling food waste and helping underprivileged communities simultaneously. This startup has taken the fact that over a third of the food produced in the world is thrown out as motivation in creating their product.
Through its digital platform, Nilus can transfer surplus food from producers and retailers to low-income localities at a price 30-50% lower than its market value. Since its creation, Nilus has delivered food to over 90,000 people suffering from food insecurity throughout Argentina, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
The Journey Foods software enables food companies to make better strategic decisions and increase monitoring efficiency throughout the packaged foods market.
Within the Journey Foods database, pricing, supply chain, and nutrition parameters are dynamically analyzed by Nilus’ algorithms to suggest optimized portfolio recommendations. To date, the database of this climate tech startup has gathered over 2 billion ingredient insights.
Challenge #3: Rethinking Manufacturing
This challenge involves shifting away from ineffective modern manufacturing processes. Across the supply chain, this may involve: increasing traceability and trust in end products, reducing the use of virgin materials, incorporating post-consumer waste into products, or replacing existing materials with ones that have little or no carbon footprint.
Within Plug and Play’s Sustainability Portfolio are five startups leading the effort.
With technology linking biology and chemistry, Checkerspot designs high-performance, sustainable materials at a molecular level. The startup utilizes the microbial process on a commercial scale. Their approach is also more sustainable than relying on petrochemical inputs.
Greyparrot is turning the tide on waste with its AI-based computer vision, which can monitor, audit, and sort waste at scale through its waste recognition software. With Greyparrot’s system, waste managers can increase recycling rates and enhance product value in pursuit of a circular economy.
The company is also committed to unlocking the economic value of waste, which will, in turn, support its transition to a circular economy and keep its environment clean for generations to come.
Founded in 2018, Oceanworks is a global marketplace that supplies recycled ocean plastic materials and products. With a broad network of trusted suppliers, the company's sourcing platform offers recycled ocean plastic resins, yarn, materials, and products. In turn, this enables members to source recycled ocean plastics with efficiency and flexibility.
Additionally, the Oceanworks guaranteed mark ensures that all products meet marketplace standards for supply chain transparency, source authenticity, and environmental, social, and legal compliance.
Byfusion is revolutionizing the construction industry through eco-friendly compression methods. The company converts plastic waste material into cost-effective, construction-grade building blocks. Byfusion’s ByBlock produces 41% fewer greenhouse gas emissions competing directly with the modern concrete building block.
rePurpose Global is the world's leading Plastic Action Platform making positive environmental impact accessible for anyone, anywhere. As the world’s first Plastic Credit Platform, the company empowers people and companies to go Plastic Neutral.
Since its founding, RePurpose has taken environmental action for people across 26 countries and 100+ purposeful companies, including both impact-driven SMEs and Fortune 500 companies.
AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 shows that we must act now before we do more irreversible environmental damage. At Plug and Play, we are more motivated than ever to achieve transformational change by supporting climate tech startups and the climate tech industry confronting these issues.
Plug and Play empowers cities worldwide to partner with businesses and startups to become more sustainable and prosperous. Our innovation platform continues to research and develop innovative solutions to address the challenges of climate change.