Decarbonization startups raise hope for corporate sustainability, says GlobalData

Given the far-ranging environmental and health effects of greenhouse gases, achieving net-zero emissions (net-zero global economy by 2050) has emerged as the top agenda for countries and corporates. Against the backdrop, decarbonatization startups give a new lease of life to corporates by enabling them to align with sustainable development goals (SDGs), says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While the scale of the transition to achieve net-zero global economy by mid-century looks daunting, rapid decarbonatization catches the attention of corporate boardrooms to embed SDGs into their business strategies. The idea that sells for a beginning is to quickly capitalize on the decarbonization technologies of startups for carbon assessment, capture, recycling and trading.”

GlobalData’s newly launched sustainability solutions framework ‘Innovation Map in Environment’ tracks innovations for global goals around climate change, pollution, biodiversity, and natural resources. The climate change segment focuses on new and innovative decarbonization solutions offered by startups.

Berlin startup PlanA offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for businesses to measure their carbon emissions and interpret them into actionable insights. It provides a carbon monitoring dashboard to visualize and communicate their emissions status with stakeholders periodically, as well as offer action plans aimed at carbon reduction.

Iceland cleantech Carbfix successfully demonstrated a new carbon capture mechanism to permanently turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into rocks. It dissolves CO2 in water and injects it into the ground to convert into rocks within less than two years. The technology implemented at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant helped to store more than 70,000 tons of CO2 over the last few years.

US-based LanzaTech uses bacteria found in the gut of a rabbit to convert factory carbon emissions into fuel like ethanol in an eco-friendly way. The output can be mixed with gasoline for use in cars, and in the future with aviation fuel. The startup’s first commercial plant launched in China produced more than 10 million gallons of ethanol by recycling steel mill emissions.

Seattle startup Nori operates a blockchain-powered online marketplace for carbon removal projects. Sellers can trade the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere for Nori tokens. Buyers such as enterprises can use Nori tokens to purchase one carbon removal certificate (CRC), which is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere.

Srobon Banerjee, Practice Head of Environmental, Social and Governance at GlobalData, comments: “Climate change is now a mainstream global issue. There is a significant amount of pressure building from both top-down and bottom up, i.e., from regulators and consumers. Hence, we see an amplified adoption of Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as climate reporting framework as well as Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) as emissions reduction targets setting approach among corporates with a common goal to enter a net-zero global economy by 2050.”

Mr Raj concludes: “As the pressure to act on climate change builds, in addition to devising digital transformation strategies, the time has come for corporates to equally focus on sustainability practices like decarbonization. Companies with better and transparent sustainability practices can get ahead of the curve to find themselves in a better position among customers, investors, regulators and employees.”

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