blog

Actions and innovations strengthen our confidence in a low carbon future

As the Eight Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), and the Second Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-2) were hosted in Beijing, WWF were among the organizers of a side event called ‘A Future Powered by Renewable Energy--Action and Innovation’. Here are some event highlights.

Despite the uncertainty created by Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the governments, businesses, cities and NGOs at the event showed strong confidence in a clean, low-carbon future, and proposed a variety of innovative solutions.

Among these were Anna Lindstedt, Swedish Ambassador to China, who affirmed the constructive role of China in the Paris Agreement, also saying that Sweden and the European Union still hold a strong determination in fighting climate change.

Li Junfeng, a renowned expert in renewable energy sector in China, spoke of the country’s declining coal consumption since 2011 with a 6% drop during last year. Concluding also that new energy forms in China will mainly be renewable and non-fossil in the near future.

Wang Sicheng, Senior Researcher, Energy Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission pointed to the fact that both the country and the local governments have made policies to strongly support renewable energy. In the "13th Five-Year" national energy planning China set the solar power target as high as 110GW by 2020. Of these 60GW is from distributed photovoltaic (PV) power generation.

Sir David King, formerly UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change, emphasized the importance of the Paris Agreement, and spoke of Mission Innovation (MI), an initiative jointly launched by 22 countries to provide opportunities for the private sector. He clarified that the purpose of MI is to launch more public investment in renewable energy and to reduce the risk of the private sector.

 

7 cases of commercialized low carbon innovations from China celebrated

During the event we also awarded five new Climate Solvers companies from China.

The awarded technologies and companies are:

- Intelligent Solar Tracking System Technology. Developed by: Huangshan Runsol New Energy

- Castor value chain productions. Developed by: Tianjin Castor Energy

- Winding Permanent-magnetic Coupling Variable Speed Drive in Motor System. Developed by: Jiangsu Magnet Valley Technology

- Intelligent Heating and Cooling Technology for Building. Developed by: Henan Runheng Energy Management

- Producing Cold-rolled Ribbed Steel Bar. Developed by: Anyang Heli Techtronic Metallurgy New Technology

If these companies reach their targeted market share by 2026, they could achieve more than 180 million tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions per year.

There were also two Climate Solver special awards to Yuedun Domes and Mobike, respectively.

During the side event, as one of the important results, WWF hosted a three-day exhibition in China National Convention Center. This exhibition showed several WWF Climate Solver awarded technologies and services.

All in all the side event restored our faith in the low-carbon future. We also expect to see more and more exciting actions and innovations from governments, cities, corporates, and enterprises all around the world for a future powered by renewable. Let’s meet up at CEM 9 in 2018.  

 

 

 

Is your country up to innovation speed in a changing climate?

Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk. Living Planet Index reveals that we could witness a two-thirds decline in global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles in the half-century from 1970 to 2020 – unless we act now to reform our food and energy systems and meet global commitments on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and supporting sustainable development.

The earth’s climate is changing and disrupting a number of natural systems on which we all depend. Predicted effects of a temperature increases above 2°C to include more extreme weather events, sea level rises, precipitation changes, disappearing coral reefs, ocean acidification, eroded food security, prolonged poverty traps and forced migration of thousands of species including humans. International climate change negotiations delivered a turning point in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. All the world’s countries agreed for the first time the shared objective of “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”. In reality this means that the world agreed in a pace of change over coming 30 years to half greenhouse gas emissions every decade as well as reaching a sustainable and fossil fuel free energy system.

But let’s be clear - national climate action plans are not yet delivering near sufficiently to reach these globally agreed targets, which make accelerated investments in solutions by business, financial institutions, countries and cities even more crucial. And these investments must go well beyond only scaling solar PV, wind power and LED light bulbs, important areas of renewable power & efficiency where we do witness promising, exciting trends of necessary exponential change today. But we need investments to go into technologies and business models such as buildings efficiency, advanced materials for greater resource/material efficiency & substitution, low & zero carbon manufacturing, digitalization, renewable heating & cooling for cities & industries, recycling, energy storage, low carbon food options, avoidance of food waste, zero emission transport options, sustainable marine, geothermal and bioenergy applications as well as negative emissions to some degree. A broader range of climate innovation areas that we continuously highlight from around the world in the Climate Solver and partner programmes. And this is the broader spectrum of cleantech that we capture entrepreneur and investment data from in the Global Cleantech Innovation index. We use a broad set of data distributed over 15 indicators and 21 metrics for shifting entire economies from high-carbon towards 100% circular and renewable economies with innovation and start-up creation being central. And from WWF we do this in order to see how entrepreneurship and innovation systems can be improved to tackle some of the sustainability challenges mentioned above.

Because most solutions exist already and can be enacted with the right combination of political, social and financial will. But the major innovation challenges ahead include the acceleration and exponential growth of business models and technologies that take solutions to market by adding value to customers and lowering costs. We must deliver energy services in much more innovative and smarter ways in a future circular economy based on decentralised, efficient sustainable energy use rather than the current centralised, inefficient unsustainable energy use.  

And all countries display strengths & weaknesses on this journey which is well captured by the index. And all countries can do their homework at home in order to deliver contributions on achieving the Paris Agreement objectives also through increased innovation, exports, revenue creation and exports to other countries in the new climate economy. Some examples - If all countries relative to GDP:

- spend the same on Cleantech R&D that Norway does we will roughly quadruple global Cleantech R&D

- become as active investors as US Venture Capitalists 2014 – 2016 in Energy Efficiency we will see well more than 10 times higher early-stage investments in this crucial area for economic growth as well as climate change mitigation

- start industrialising cleantech for exports like China we will see a doubling of cleantech exports globally

- produce as many Environment-Related Patents as Japan we will see more than a a global tripling

- would be as attractive to new renewable energy investments like India, China, Germany and US have been over the last few years we would see a very strong global investment increase

If we combine these strengths and all aim to improve we have a path towards a solution where we act both locally and globally. Whilst we must all think globally. Agencies, governments, investors and business need to proactively collaborate as forces for change in transitioning towards a sustainable energy future on a global level and at the pace of halving emissions every decade. Together we must help enterprises with pieces to the 100% circular and renewable energy future puzzle to grow more rapidly.

Happy reading on challenges & opportunities for your country on the continuous, unstoppable and absolutely necessary cleantech innovation journey. Click here to read the Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2017   

Together possible !

Stefan Henningsson is a senior advisor climate, energy & innovation for WWF Sweden

stefan.henningsson@wwf.panda.org

Six new Climate Solver Nordic companies honored as Helsinki hosts Finland's 1st Cleantech Forum Europe

Helsinki hosted Cleantech Forum Europe in mid-May and launching our six new Climate Solver Nordic companies in front of hundreds of Europe’s most active corporates, government agencies and investors in the cleantech innovation space was a too good opportunity to be missed. The Cleantech Forums have been touring to different European countries for 13 years, convening the game-changers from multiple sectors all in one place for three days, from 25+ countries, and from over 100 cities worldwide.

The 6 Climate Solver Nordic, Sympower, EnergyNest, Swedish Algae Factory, Formconsult, Scandinavian Water Technology and Greater Than were honored during the opening session, pitching their innovations in front of distinguished participants from more or less all parts of the world. Once again this selection shows us upfront that climate change is everyone’s business. The solutions are cross-sectoral disruptors of insurance, transport, construction, textiles and energy industry.

Before the opening session WWF held a closed session with the honorees where we also got to hear from two of the 2016 Climate Solver honorees Juha Suojanen from EkoRent and Petri Alava from Infinited Fiber Company who told us about their journey during the last year and the great success that they have had. EkoRent grew 204% last year and now aims to go into 10 developing country cities over coming 5 years with their emission-free car and ridesharing offer. Infinited Fiber now have contracts with a couple of very big brands in the fashion industry on their circular model for producing textile fibers with significant amounts of carbon, water and chemicals avoided.   

This was the first Climate Solver event after the launch of Living Planet Report 2016. If current trends continue to 2020 the vertebrate populations will have declined by an average of 67 per cent since 1970. For freshwater species it is even more alarming where already today we count an 81% decrease from 1970 to these days. Just in a life time of a 47 year old human on Earth today we have witnessed some dramatic changes in wildlife health. Meanwhile our Ecological Footprint increases from human consumption of goods and services. We no longer live as if we only had one planet. We live and consume as if we had an extra half planet lying around that could fuel that consumption demand. WWF Finland Secretary General Liisa Rohweder also informed the audience of this current state of the planet as part of the opening ceremony. The case for disruption of how we produce and consume goods smarter in the future is crystal clear which makes cleantech innovation gatherings like this one in Finland extra important. We need one planet innovation and metrics that take us in that direction of avoiding an increasing ecological footprint.

From WWF we clearly identify three drivers: Financial flows, Governance (policy if you wish) and Markets (companies if you wish). These three are the drivers for fundamental environmental degradation we have witnessed in the past hundred or so years and must as well be the drivers backing fundamental environmental opportunities in the 21st century. We need these three drivers to converge to back planetary solutions, not even further problems.

The Climate Solver Nordic process to find the top entrepreneurs 2017 started last year by WWF Climate Solver partnering with Nordic Cleantech Open in an open call for climate innovation candidates from Nordic innovation community. More than 100 applications came in to Nordic Cleantech Open by Nov 2016. The Top 25 of these came to a Nordic Camp in southern Sweden in Feb 2017 were also WWF participated and interviewed. WWF selected a Top 10 list of those with greatest potential climate change and/or energy access impact. Thereafter WWF has performed climate impact calculations in the Climate Solver Tool on avoided emissions in March 2017 which has lead to a Final selection in April 2017 of those early-stage commercialised Nordic innovations today that have biggest positive global climate impact potential if they grow fast to take good market shares over coming 10 years. The climate impact calculation performed by WWF showed that these innovations collectively have the potential to avoid more than 300 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually if the market shares are realized through new green revenue streams, jobs, projects, trade and sustainable capital allocation.

In particular important supporters for us that believe in the force of innovation to tackle planetary challenges are Swedish Post Code Lottery and Dustin that have been with us in the Climate Solver Nordic 2017 process and has helped starting and expanding Climate Solver to cover not only Nordic region but also China, India and South Africa.

Press releases here in Nordic press/languages:

In Swedish

In Finish

In Norwegian

We also got good media coverage, one example is Business Insider Nordic who did an interview with Per Hansson at Scandinavian Water Technologies. Per also witnessed that they had received new customer orders already the same day thanks to being honored as Climate Solvers. Great to hear and that’s the kind of speed and market impact we need !

Quotes from some of our amazing Climate Solver entrepreneurs

‘’Bringing an innovation like this to the market is indeed a challenge, the DIRO© system is a whole new way of doing laundry. The WWF Climate Solver Award will truly help us in marketing the system and make people understand that you don’t need chemicals to do your laundry anymore, giving us a cleaner world in the future.’’

-          Per Hansson, Scandinavian Water Technology AB

“Sympower was founded to help build a carbon-free future. The opportunity for business in decarbonising the electricity sector is enormous. The recognition from WWF helps raise awareness and draws attention to our core mission of helping avoid dangerous climate change.”

-          Georg Rute, Sympower Oy

"Formconsult is honoured to be awarded the WWF climate solver. There is clear challenge to meet the necessary demand to reduce CO2 emission in a booming building sector, but we are confident that our Strongcrete method will deliver more sustainable concrete all over the world in the future."

-          Stefan Alvarsson, Formconsult AB

"In the transformation to a new sustainable industry a lot of innovation capacity and investments are needed fast to be able to turn great ideas that truly could be a part of a more sustainable society to a new greener industry before it is too late. It is sometimes frustrating when you realize that parts of the ecosystem that could help turning great sustainable ideas to businesses have not really understood this yet."

-          Sofie Allert, Swedish Algae Factory

“EnergyNest stands at the edge of the energy frontier, where incredible structural challenges must be overcome to increase renewable power generation and industrial energy efficiency measures. The WWF Climate Solver award is undoubtedly the best platform to showcase the role that technologies such as ours can play in the transition towards a more sustainable world.”

-          Ludvig Bellehumeur, EnergyNest AS

“The Climate Solver nomination are empowering us in our work to disrupt the car insurance industry. We are aiming to offer Enerfy Car Insurance worldwide, an insurance that reduce environmental impact by giving incentive to car owner’s to drive less and better.

We got a few global trends working for us, Digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence, Change in transport and Consumers expectations for more transparent car insurance solutions. Having this said, the largest challenge we are faced with, is to convince the traditional insurance companies to give up their old business model.”

-          Liselott Johansson, Greater Than AB

 

So congratulations to all honorees above, organisers and participants. Together we can be an unstoppable force of positive change for people and planet that also generates profits.    

Stefan Henningsson

 

 

Making Innovation count: Workshop for cleantech SMEs in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: WWF-India, in partnership with CII, organized a regional workshop on “Climate Solver+: Fostering Cleantech Innovation in SME sector in India” in Bengaluru on 15 March 2017. This is second among the series of regional workshops, reaching out to cleantech entrepreneurs working on sustainable energy solutions. The workshop included key representation from government, venture capitalists, incubation centres, SMEs, universities, financial institutions, industry associations and other stakeholders from the southern region.

WWF’s Climate Solver platform recognizes Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), whose innovative technologies significantly reduce carbon-dioxide emissions or provide improved energy access to rural or urban poor. Over the last four years, the India chapter of this platform has recognized 15 promising innovators and conferred the Climate Solver award to them. Some of these winning companies have also been listed in the top 100 innovators listed in Sustainia100 – an annual guide that identifies projects, initiatives and technologies that are at the forefront of sustainable innovation from around the world, based on a review of more than 1500 projects and businesses from six continents.

In its fifth year, WWF-India has expanded this platform to the “Climate Solver +” platform, and through this intends to strengthen the cleantech innovation ecosystem in the country by enhancing networking amongst SMEs and other relevant stakeholders such as the finance community, incubation centres/accelerators, and government bodies. SMEs in India, especially at grassroot/regional level, still encounter barriers that hold them back from scaling up. This initiative therefore seeks to address these barriers by building on the successes of the Climate Solver initiative in India to scale climate innovation among SMEs by growing the pool of clean energy innovators, providing a select group of innovators with business and financial planning, and building a community of clean energy innovation practice.

Mr Kamal Bali, Chairman, CII Kanataka State Council & MD, Volvo India remarked, “Opportunities are available both at the national and global to comeout with innovative technologies through local and national incubation centers, national and global research centers, and business platforms. Small and medium enterprises, being a major consumer of energy, have a lot of potential to use methods and technology that is not only energy efficient but also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. SMEs in India, especially at grassroot /regional level, still encounter barriers that prevent them from having the significant impact on energy access and carbon reductions. This project therefore seeks to address these barriers by building on the successes of the Climate Solver initiative in India to scale climate innovation among SMEs by growing the pool of clean energy innovators, providing a select group of innovators with business and financial planning, and building a community of clean energy innovation practice.”

Holistically analysing the clean technology innovation landscape in India, Dr T.S.Panwar, Director, Climate Change & Energy, WWF-India, emphasized on the need to reach out to different regions in order to have a deeper understanding of the ecosystem, and strengthen linkages of the SMEs with the various orchestrators in the innovation space.

Mr Sanjeev Sharma, Vice Chairman, CII Karnataka State Council said, “WWF, CII & Government have come together for Making Clean and Green energy products for sustainable future. Radical innovation is the key to reducing emissions over the medium and long term, but it will not stop climate change from getting worse in the meantime. This is where the realism comes in: many people will have to adapt to a hotter Earth, and some of them will need help.  Pragmatism should replace green theology. The climate is changing because of extraordinary inventions like the steam turbine and the internal combustion engine. The best way to cope is to keep inventing. Keep innovating new ways to produce energy. Perhaps, we could be inspired by Nature’s way of sustaining life. Coal now supplies 41% of the world’s electricity and 29% of the world’s energy—the bigger share than at any time in at least four decades. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is 40% higher than it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons: to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels. But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.”

About CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes. CII charts change by working closely with Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. It also provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues. Extending its agenda beyond business, CII assists industry to identify and execute corporate citizenship programmes. Partnerships with civil society organizations carry forward corporate initiatives for integrated and inclusive development across diverse domains including affirmative action, healthcare, education, livelihood, diversity management, skill development, empowerment of women, and water, to name a few. 

 

To know more, contact:
Divya Joy
WWF-India
djoy@wwfindia.net
011-41504823

 

Lokanath
Confederation of Indian Industry
Lokanath.sampangi@cii.in
080-42889595 

A new dawn for start-ups in India may impact us all

Already in the opening remarks of the Climate Solver event in India Ravi Singh (Secretary General & CEO, WWF- India) highlighted that India has one of the biggest small and medium sized enterprise sectors in the world and their potential is now being looked at in a major way. There is a big impact potential in this, if that effort is also canalized towards achieving societal goals.

Presentations and discussions over the day revealed undoubtedly that there has been an overall positive change and mind-shift in the Indian government attitude in India towards the promotion of start-ups. It is clear from the launch of “Start-Up India” that the needs of start-ups now have a fora where they are put central stage. Prime Minister Modi’s visit with Indian start-ups, incl Climate Solver honored entrepreneur GIBSS - Green India Building Systems and Services, to pitch in Silicon Valley last year has also changed the dynamic around start-ups in India today. And this may have big effects not only in India but also to the world outside. 

India Climate Innovation System Panel

This was reinforced in real cases during the event with comments from for example Mudit Narain that introduced Bharat Innovations a new $150 million start-up fund that will partly invest in scaling cleantech innovation in close collaboration with incubators such as the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad. This represents six times more funding for sustainable ventures if you compare to the previously available funds from Infuse Ventures. We also heard Piyush Mathur, CFO for Climate Solver Simpa Network, witness that they were inspired by Make in India to manufacture their solar energy access products locally. Present from the Climate Solver India jury were Mr. Nitin Desai (Former Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, UN), Mr V. Subramanian (Former Secretary, MNRE), Mr Krishan Dhawan (CEO, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation) and  Dr Arunabha Ghosh (CEO, CEEW). The jury raised that it is important to celebrate the fact that innovation is key to us in order to reach the agreed sustainable development goals but having an ecosystem that takes these innovations to scale is more important. And do we really have that? That is the real issue.

The jury raised that the technologies and business models winning awards such as Climate Solvers may not be glamorous but have actually developed something that is making a difference. And indeed two Climate Solver entrepreneurs from last year were present to report back on their journey. Simpa started operations in 2011 and, reached over 10,000 customers in the state of Uttar Pradesh alone last year and now witnessed how their customer base has tripled over the last year partly thanks to being honored as Climate Solver. Mr. Mainak Chakraborty, Founder-Director of GPS Renewables highlighted that Credibilility and Visibility are very important for start-ups that do not hold the budgets of larger corporations. Therefore, the recognition from Climate Solver has already meant a great deal to their expansion to reach 35 projects, all remotely controlled from Delhi, and the 30 000 tonnes of GHG emissions avoided today as well as their recent expansion to the US market through a California pilot.  So we witness some growth from credibility and visibility but there was rightly a call from Dr Arunabha Ghosh for a lot more private equity as well as debt finance, such as green bonds, to reach these kinds of Climate Solver innovations rather than more business as usual technologies. We need to go from case studies at scale to implementation at scale. There was also a jury request to WWF to assess how the WWF Climate Solver portfolio of now more than 80 entrepreneurs have developed after they have been honured. A request we have also heard from other countries and will do as part of the work going forward. 

The stars of the day were our newest additions of two innovations the jury selected this year as really walking the talk on climate innovation in India. They are:

-          Radiant cooling solution for building sector by Oorja Energy Engineering Services

-          Prepaid DC micro grid with USB stick based recharge by Boond Engineering & Development   

The expert panel on strengthening the Indian Climate Innovation Ecosystem were Dr. Nakul Gupta (Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Entrepreneurship and Incubation Centre,  MDI, Gurgaon) Mr. Pankaj Sindwani (Vice President, Tata Cleantech Capital) Mr. Pradeep Sharma (AGM,  Consultancy Services Cell, SBI) and previously mentioned Mr. Mudit Narain (‎Vice President,  CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad and Bharat Fund) and Mr. Piyush Mathur (CFO, Simpa Network) with undersigned as moderator.

In the panel there were expressed wishes and ideas to for ex

-          Initiate a dialogue between innovation companies and financial institutions in India as well as speeding up cross-border migration of the large range of innovations outside, eg as annually portrayed in Climate Solver, Sustainia 100 and other sustainable innovation initiatives. The challenge is partly linguistic where companies need to take time to develop financial literacy, and banks on the other hand should make efforts to understand the technical and commercial aspects. For banks financing is not a problem but it is important for business to have scale and right kind of business models for banks to have an incentive to lend

-          Get debt finance institutions (for ex bond issuers) more actively looking at new technologies which could make a big difference in sustainability impact, not least decentralised energy access projects.

-          Engage mainstream lending institutions in India to better understand the businesses where there is a risk of distributed customers/cash flows.

-          Devote more time to new ideas by mainstream lending institutions

-          Change behaviour in the way we see business. The next wave of innovations (after the IT revolution) is in sectors such as cleantech and healthcare.

-          Use ‘Growth hacking’ as a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. It’s working in the ICT sector so is it applicable to climate innovation too?

From the entrepreneur side an obstacle was raised that there is a ‘dark middle’ of raising capital between 5 and 15 million US dollars where entrepreneurs have nowhere to turn. So the journey for the best innovation companies to raise capital in different stages of equity and debt finance in order to employ people, reduce emissions and draw people out of poverty continues in India, as it does elsewhere. Pankaj Sindwani from Tata Capital drew a comparison to mature cleantech by reminding us all that a few years ago no capital wanted to touch solar PV but now everyone’s there and wants to be there due to the scale of it. Looking forward we must open up many more such innovation opportunities also beyond solar PV and wind power. 

There is a new dawn for start-ups in India supported by Government as well as the private sector. There are still problems to be resolved but there are also tremendous opportunities when actors like incubation centres, entrepreneurs, public/private finance and NGOs, that were respresented in our panel, start to pull in the same direction on climate innovation and mind the gaps that stop many innovations from growing large at speed today. Initiatives like Start-Up India putting the entrepreneurial challenges at the core is taking this a step in the right direction and with appropriate integration of sustainability this is not only good news for India, but also for the world outside this brewing innovation economy. And there is growing confidence from these actors in India that the ecosystem of innovation is coming into place and that it’s a good place to be for entrepreneurs looking for growth opportunities at this very moment. Increasing the flow of start-ups from as well as to India thereby carries hope for large markets, rapid business growth as well as carbon reductions and energy access at scale in the years to come. 

And thanks to new funding the reach of the Climate Solver programme in India is now being expanded to different regions of the country to capture larger number of local initiatives and entrepreneurs as well as to strengthen the interface and networking amongst different stakeholders. 

For further reading please find the press release here

Blog by Stefan Henningsson, Senior Adviser Climate Innovation, WWF Climate & Energy Practice 

 

Pages