- Companies are under pressure from stakeholders to reduce their impact on the environment.
- Thus, startups appear to help companies achieve their sustainability goals.
- Here are nine tech startups analysts and investors are betting on to help cut emissions.
As the planet heats up, tech companies are finding ways to reduce environmental impacts.
The technology industry is particularly costly for the environment. Cloud companies operate large data centers that require a lot of electricity. Hardware and chip manufacturers mine finished minerals and use water and land for production. A peer-reviewed study published in the data science journal Patterns in 2021 found that these companies combined accounted for more than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is similar to the carbon footprint of the aviation industry.
CDP, a nonprofit climate disclosure organization, estimated in 2019 that business opportunities in climate technologies could be worth more than $2.1 trillion.
Startups are stepping in to clean up business operations. By 2021, venture capital firms around the world had invested more than $30 billion in climate tech startups offering services such as remote sensing tools to calculate carbon offsets and software to track emissions. And the nearly $370 billion climate budget provided for in the Cut Inflation Act could help spur the creation of hundreds of cleantech companies.
Many companies, such as Salesforce and Intel, have plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Sustainability efforts will only grow as customers, investors and employees put pressure on companies. technology companies to disclose their environmental impact.
“There is now more talk than ever about trying to produce and use software in a more sustainable way,” Abhijit Sunil, green technology analyst at Forrester, told Insider.
But Sunil said decarbonizing businesses can be tricky. Emissions data reported by a company may not be accurate as the calculations can be very complex. And Sunil said many companies don’t have teams dedicated to leading sustainability efforts, which means employees lack the skills to track, troubleshoot and learn from data.
Climate-focused tools could be useful for businesses to gather data to identify processes that need improvement.
“Companies are going to look to some of these younger, more aggressive startups to be able to drive change in their industries,” said Ludwig Pierre Schulze, a partner at venture capital firm Alumni Ventures that invests in green tech.
Insider asked several analysts and a VC which companies are innovating in green cloud computing. Some offered information on green cloud computing that informed the list, which includes companies that make decarbonization software, carbon offset measurement tools and data center cooling technologies. All data is in accordance with PitchBook, unless otherwise stated.