WWF urges Nordics to be a global hub for taking climate innovations to growing global markets

WWF urges Nordics to be a global hub for taking climate innovations to growing global markets

WWF has identified twelve early stage Nordic entrepreneurs with innovations and commercial offers that could reduce the equivalent to all Nordic countries worth of domestic annual emissions in ten years time. The Nordics is a region packed with early stage climate innovation talent but the region punches below its weight in bringing about commercialization at scale.

The twelve Climate Solver Nordic of  2016 cut through traditional business sectors as they are in the forefront of using digitalization to disrupt wasted energy in the food supply-chain, turn arid land into fertile soil, provide solar energy as a financial service for roofs in Nordic region as well as East Africa, manufacture fibres from textile waste replacing virgin material, improve our heating systems, store energy, capture low heat normally wasted to make electricity, making super-efficient showers, smart homes, reduce in-city traffic and enable electric drive through infrastructure and EV car sharing. They will be honored for their innovations during Cleantech Capital Day in Malmö 18-19 May where the final of Nordic Cleantech Open will also take place with plenty more of the best innovation for a better planet that the Nordics has to offer.

Because the Nordic region really is a global hot spot for innovation as measured by INSEAD Business School, WIPO and other innovation analysts for the Global Innovation Index that places all Nordic countries in the top 20 of the world economies on innovation (3 Sweden, 6 Finland, 10 Denmark, 20 Norway). In relation to ability to nurture good cleantech innovation all Nordic countries rank top 14 out of 40 countries in the Global Cleantech Innovation Index (2 Finland, 4 Sweden, 5 Denmark, 14 Norway). So there is a continuous stream of ever more innovative solutions coming out on the market, often from renowned science parks, universities and incubators in the Nordic region.

But many of these startup companies are left ill-fated, not growing fast compared to strong commercialiser countries. Some challenges being a Nordic start-up pointed out by this years honorees are conservative industries resisting the change they can enable, not stringent enough environmental regulation decreasing capital flow into their markets, lack of interested investors/funding, low electricity prices and small domestic market. On the opportunity side they see that solving climate change and the energy transition as a massive global market opportunity. And the reputation of Nordic countries as innovative, technologically advanced with relatively clean air, water and nature is a plus.

And as the entrepreneurs suggest, solving the world’s environmental woes can also be lucrative business. 63 times Nordic GDP, US$90 trillion, is likely to be invested in infrastructure in the world’s urban, land use and energy systems over the coming 15 years according to the New Climate Economy report. The World Bank estimates specifically that cleantech market over the next 10 years in only 15 emerging clean technology sectors in the developing world is 4-5 larger than the Nordic GDP at $6.4 trillion. Accenture research indicates a rewards worth three times the Nordic GDP for companies using circular economy business models by 2030; And for last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has reported that global investment in clean renewable energy totaled a quarter of Nordic GDP with modern renewable power (excl hydro) exceeding fossil fuel investments 2 to 1 and nuclear investments 11 to 1, this despite a low oil price.

The Paris Agreement from December was agreed and signed last month. The convention commits countries to go globally to net zero emissions and to limit climate change to well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts for 1,5 degrees. The current country pledges do not yet put us on track to achieve this goal, making low-carbon innovation a global priority and matter of urgency. Following the historic turning point last year WWF Nordic offices want the region to become the Silicon Valley of sustainable innovation bringing commercialized solutions to international markets. The global energy transition must occur at unprecedented speed and at scale. Nordics have the talent, the capital and a good share of political will. But market action is needed now or the first mover benefits that the region once enjoyed will be lost. WWF sees a need for a coherent policy environment to ensure that the early stage innovations become truly commercialized. We would create a strong domestic market for our innovation talent by accelerating the Nordic transition to a full 100% renewable energy region. The opportunity for the whole Nordic region to become a globally recognised hub for innovation towards 100% renewable energy and net zero emissions makes sense economically, socially, environmentally and not least politically.

WWF wishes to see the most sustainable cleantech companies to win the race at the billion-dollar market. For this reason, WWF chose to collaborate with the Nordic Cleantech Open last year in a first ever call to identify the Nordic start-up companies – the WWF Climate Solver Nordic - most able to a pave the way towards 100% renewable energy and halting climate change while providing energy access to poorer communities. Jury members are distinguished investors, policy and technology expertise and very experienced in assessing the business case which we combined with WWF conservation expertise and the calculation of these innovations climate and energy access impact potential.

The twelve honored climate entrepreneurs share WWF’s passion for the low-carbon transition as they offer a myriad of innovative solutions to add to the 70 honored Chinese, Indian and South African innovations on the platform. WWFs calculations on these  innovations from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway - 3 from each country - show they have the potential to avoid 247 milion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and pull 48 million people out of energy poverty by year 2026. The domestic emissions coming from the same Nordic countries was 249 million tonnes in 2010.

The entrepreneurs that will be honoured in Malmö 18 May at Cleantech Capital Day are:

From Finland  

100 percent emission-free car and ridesharing by EkoRent - “Humankind is facing the greatest challenge of our times. We have to stop consuming our resources and polluting this planet as we are doing today. If we don't, large parts of our planet will suffer from catastrophic consequences of climate change forcing millions of climate refugees out of their homes. This will effect us all, either directly or indirectly. Time is running out and we need to act now to reverse the direction.” Juha Suojanen, Founder and CEO , Contact +358 40 707 1091

Offering solar energy below grid parity by Solnet Green Energy“Our approach to solving tomorrows climate and energy challenges is to focus on end customers financial benefit and making the transition to renewable energy as simple as possible. From our perspective the environmental impact of renewables is added value and key selling point is financial benefit and cost savings to end customers. This is the only way to implement renewables fast enough and on a scale that is significant to mitigate future climate issues. With our business model saving the worlds biodiversity is good for the economy and improves the bottom line for companies.” Arttur Kulvik, Chairman of the Board / Founding Partner , Contact '+358 50 342 7719 

Creating new ways to produce cellulose fibers by Infinited Fiber Company - “Plenty of innovation will take place in the near future in fashion recycling, and that is great: humanity either needs another planet or smart solutions. We are the ones who are ready to act with our technology. We want to be active and open about our manmade natural fiber that is both ecological and affordable, and gets better when recycled – infinitely. Simultaneously, we want to create an open ecosystem where all the radical fashion recycling innovators can unite for maximum impact on both business & the planet. We know that good business needs all the sharp brains it can possibly have: together we can do this. In this world, most things are meaningless and lack true impact. With Infinited Fiber technology we have an opportunity to solve a major problem by turning waste into treasure. Join us, we can do this.” Petri Alava, CEO , Contact +358 50 14 83 

From Denmark

Digitizing the food supply chain by Fresh.Land - “The food supply chain is broken. Food spends months in cold storage - which represents 1/3 of all food related emissions. With Fresh.land we are using the trees as a ‘natural warehouse’ - directly from tree to store in days rather than months. Fresh.Land puts the Nordics at the forefront of two strategic industries - cleantech and agribusiness - and as an innovative new business model to showcase to the world.” Mathilde Jakobsen, CEO , Contact +45 5379 0707 

Smart energy at home using cloud and storage by Suntherm - “At SUNTHERM we are developing the residential heating system of the future. We are able to produce and store both clean and cheap heating.” Morten Veis Donnerup, CEO/Co-Founder , Contact +45 6161 0604 

Making hot water storage more efficient by EyeCular Technologies - "Saving the climate (if saving the planet is to grant to say), is the single most important challenge, which must be solved. All other challenges in the world becomes redundant if we do not succeed in solving the climatic challenge." Martin Spanggaard, CEO , Contact +45 5269 5955 

From Sweden

Invest in solar energy today - Make an impact and get return on investment by Trine - "With as low as €25 you can literally save the world. By allowing everybody to invest in solar, TRINE enables people to be climate solvers in their everyday life. Because doing good should be easy and rewarding.” Sam Manaberi, Founder & CEO , Contact +46 76 191 53 28

Energy generation: Converting low temperature heat to electricity by Climeon - “We have reached a tipping point with green energy at a cost lower than traditional energy sources. Our solution is significantly more cost-efficient than fossil fueled electricity, and thus becomes one of the most efficient ways to reduce CO2 emissions.” Thomas Öström, CEO , Contact +46 76 05 23 295

Creating a new paradigm in daily water and energy usage by Orbital Systems - "Our mission is to create a new paradigm in daily water usage for the world. Our water recirculating shower saves up to 90% of the water and 80% of the energy, while at the same time increasing comfort and hygiene." Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, CEO & FOUNDER , Contact +46 70-0918874 

From Norway

Smart urban mobility solutions by Meshcrafts - “The climate change is probably the biggest challenge human kind have faced, and transportation is a big part of the problem, so by reducing and pivot the transportation into electric and green solutions we can get closer to reach the goal of max 1.5 degrees.” Åsmund Møll Frengstad, Founder & CEO , Contact +47 905 03 441

Helping consumers manage their home energy by Viva Labs - “Moving to renewable energy sources is critical for our future, but on that journey it is important not to lose sight of what we can do today. Intelligent software is the key to making the world better today and it can be done with little investment.” Henrik Holen, CEO , Contact +47 977 99 546 

Converting arid land into fertile soil by Desert Control - "Some technologies are so disruptive that it's hard to imagine the consequences: visualizing most deserts as green farmland, with unlimited pure water is one of them. Knowing that this technology exists now, one can't help, but think of the Klondike gold rush, as we now stand at the threshold of a new gold rush, only this time it's for the green gold. Ole M. Olesen CEO. Contact +47 46665455

 

All in all, we did not leave the stone age because we ran out of stones but because entrepreneurs found new ways of fulfilling our needs in smarter ways for human progress. Next in line is to bid farewell to fossil fuels.

 

Contact us:

WWF Sweden - Stefan Henningsson, stefan.henningsson@wwf.panda.org

WWF Finland - Kaarina Kolle, kaarina.kolle@wwf.fi

WWF Denmark - Hanne Jersild - h.jersild@wwf.dk

WWF Norway - Ragnhild Elisabeth Waagaard - rwaagaard@wwf.no 

Climate Solver would not have been possible without the financial support from Dustin and Swedish Postcode Lottery as well as our innovation partners over the years with Nordic presence which are Cleantech Scandinavia, STING, Innovatum, Impact Invest Scandinavia, Sustainable Business Hub, CONNECT Östra Sverige, Cleantech Inn and Sustainia. 

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