What’s Up In Green Startups
Isadora Teich wrote this article
Green startups are more than just a hot new trend. Data suggests that if we do not radically change the way we conduct business across all industries effects on the planet will be dire.
In the US, we are already seeing some of the damage from global warming in the form of increasing wildfires in California and infrastructure melting in the Pacific Northwest.
Startups and small businesses are doing what they always do, responding to the needs of society quickly and innovating solutions. They create jobs, wealth, and push society forward.
Forbes partnered with MindForce Research to survey 1,000 C-suite and VP-level business leaders across the western world. They found that investing in sustainable tech is not only an existential imperative but it makes businesses money. This is a thriving sector full of fascinating work and genuine profit.
Let’s take a look at some exciting sustainable startups around the world.
Sustainable Shipping and Transportation
Transporting goods around the world takes time, money, and energy. It is a big part of why society produces so much carbon. Say, for example, you live in Texas and buy a computer made in China.
The materials that made that computer were sourced from around the world and transported to China by boat, truck, airplane, or train. Then once the computer is assembled it travels from China to Texas in the same manner. This takes a lot of fuel.
This is where Hy2gen AG comes in.
This German startup is partially owned by oil trading giant Trafigura Group. They aim to raise at least 200 million euros ($240 million) this year.
Their goal is to launch the construction of six plants that will produce renewable aviation and marine fuels, such as green ammonia. These plants will be located throughout Western Europe and North America.
Globally, investors, legislators, and consumers are pushing transportation and shipping companies to operate in a more sustainable manner. This demand will likely only rise as the effects of global warming continue to get more severe.
France, for example, is only one of several countries that passed legislation calling for aircraft operators to use more renewable jet fuel.
This is an interesting one, as diamonds have become one of the most vilified luxury commodities.
Human Rights Organizations have been warning for years that the mining of gold and diamonds often involves child labor, violence, death, and environmental destruction around the world. For many people in the west, the love affair with diamonds seems to have ended in light of this information.
While these lumbering giants struggle to clean up their supply chains and aim to be more ethical by 2030, fascinating startup Aether, is working to literally turn CO2 emissions into diamonds. Aether extracts these emissions from the atmosphere and turns them into a variety of materials and consumer products.
In December 2020, Aether unveiled the world’s first-ever completely carbon-negative diamond. Their goal is to extract more than 100 million tons of CO2 out of the air and recycle it over the next decade.
Big Investments Into Protecting The Ocean
Last year Chicago venture capital firm S2G Ventures raised $100 million to invest in green ocean and seafood startups.
This is an incredibly important area where startups can innovate, as the oceans bear a huge amount of abuse. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is essentially a floating island of waste located between Hawaii and California.
It is made up of nearly two trillion pieces of plastic and weighs more than several jumbo jets. Overfishing is another big issue. It is leading to the dwindling population of entire species of fish and entire ecosystems, such as coral reefs.
S2G recently invested undisclosed amounts in several startups that focus on ocean sustainability.
These include ReelData, a Canada-based company that has developed AI to help fish farmers. This tech helps them monitor and care for the needs of their fish populations.
Another is the Isreal-based ViAqua Therapeutics, which makes innovative medicines for shrimp. S2G also invested in Moleaer, a startup that creates industrial-scale nanobubble production technology. It purifies water without chemicals and helps to recover natural resources.
Taking On The Fashion Industry
It’s no secret that the supply chains of almost everything we buy have issues.
Whether we are talking a pair of Nikes, precious gemstones, or some chicken thighs from the grocery store, all of it has problems. Fast fashion particularly has come under fire in recent years, and for good reason.
Recently, there has been a small boom of forward-thinking fashion-based sustainable startups in Isreal.
Here are some of the exciting things they are working on!
Sonovia produces a unique, eco-friendly, anti-bacterial fabric.
Their sonochemical coating solution kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi when they touch their fabric. Of course, this has countless applications, and most recently was used to create masks during the pandemic. Their coating can even kill the Covid virus.
So far, Sonovia has raised a total of $3M in four rounds of funding and even partnered with a major Israeli textile company.
Have you ever ordered multiple sizes of a clothing item online, only to send back the ones that don’t fit?
This actually has a negative impact on the environment, as most clothing companies throw away their returns.
Every year, about 5 billion pounds of returns go directly into landfills as waste. Sizer wants to help address this. The app uses computer vision and deep learning algorithms to measure your body and accurately give size recommendations.
We currently living in a very difficult, but very exciting time. Many startups are making fascinating innovations and working toward a better and more sustainable world.
There are many problems to solve, but thankfully that’s what startups do.
Of course, this only scratches the surface of the wonderful things happening around the world. New startups are created and new solutions are pursued every day.
This is truly a sector to watch with great interest now, and in the future as well.
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