Smart businesses are making climate change their business.
The Reichstag in Berlin was the world’s first parliamentary building to be powered entirely by renewable energy.
Copenhagen in Denmark is on its way to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city, while Sweden intends to become the world’s first fossil-fuel free nation.
There’s a lot for Europe to be proud of when it comes to green tech. But then it’s our moral duty to be the best, says Mikkel Trym a leader at Europe’s biggest climate change business hub, Climate KIC.
“But you also can not stop progress – the transition has started and we’re reaching that tipping point where suddenly there’s really no return anymore.”
Formed of 250 partners, Climate KIC is the largest public-private climate innovation organisation in Europe.
It hands out European funding to small businesses with new ideas, supports the research and development going on inside big companies, local authorities or universities, and provides a community for climate innovation across the EU.
“Climate KIC is about making good business, and at the same time focusing on businesses that have a climate impact,” Trym explains.
The best way to bring about change that’s good for the economy and the environment, he argues, is to bring the big dogs and small dogs together.
“We see more and more corporates in this world because they need the startups to inspire them about the future green business, and the future of their own company as well.”
What’s great is that the budding new businesses Climate KIC supports are already garnering worldwide acclaim.
In 2017 alone, more than 13 of its young businesses have been recognised in Forbes 30 under 30 lists, two businesses were honoured at the Global Water Awards, and one company, called Woodoo, even took home a Cleantech Open Global award for its molecularly enhanced wood material.
In Denmark, a company called Heliac is reimagining solar power, explains Trym, while bike hiring service Donkey Republic is now in more than 40 European cities. “It’s going to be a huge growing company,” says Trym.
The big idea is to help small businesses to grow, while encouraging big businesses to be open to adopting ideas, partnering with innovators, or even buy them out.
“We see big companies acquiring new startups of course, but also that they want to be connected to this ecosystem of entrepreneurs,” says Trym.
“In five years time, Europe will have even more technology around sustainability, we should have a much bigger voice, from our startup scene and in the world.”
Who doesn’t want to bike to their solar-powered office – and shape the future for the better?