If our planet keeps getting warmer, even by a few degrees, there’s a tremendous amount at stake. “As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse,” Bill Gates wrote. This stark warning from the Microsoft co-founder brought into focus the biggest crisis facing humanity. Scientists have issued their own unprecedented alert about the severe threat to human health from increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
The latest report released by the World Meteorological Organization is more alarming still, with Earth close to exceeding the critical global heating threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next five years. Time is running out to take action, and businesses are under increasing pressure to lead the charge.
This article looks at the role business can play, whether adopting environmentally-friendly practices or creating new technology to reduce emissions.
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Why GGV invests in environment-first startups
GGV Capital believes that a better world is something worth investing in. To that end, we put sustainable investments front and centre of our strategy by investing in companies with innovative solutions. Fast-growing Next Gen Foods, the creator of plant-based chicken alternative TiNDLE, is an excellent example. Eating less meat can have a dramatic impact on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, and as the World Economic Forum has highlighted, “A global switch to a predominantly plant-based diet would boost dietary health, help reduce food waste and eliminate the need to keep clearing new land for grazing.”
The recent appointment of GGV Capital’s Managing Partner Jenny Lee to Next Gen Food’s board further bolsters our commitment to the cause. “Agriculture, forestry and land use cause 7% of carbon dioxide emissions and 46% of methane emissions, much of which is driven by food production. Sustainable foods can help us address environmental concerns arising out of inefficient animal farming and food production,” said Jenny.
Minimising the harmful effects of operations should be a leading priority for any organisation. We’re starting to see some positive moves by companies across different sectors. For example, Thunes, a leader in global cross-border payments and a GGV Capital portfolio company, recently formalised its commitment to generating positive change through a newly launched ESG programme: Turning Transactions into Actions.
This initiative shows how technology can play an integral role in fighting climate change. As part of the new programme, Thunes’ platform enables an NGO to make simpler, more accessible payouts in hard-to-reach locations around the world, supporting regenerative projects like reforestation.
“The efficient and sustainable use of energy is the key issue of our time,” said Weihan Liew, Venture Partner, GGV Capital. These words were backed up by action in November 2021 when we welcomed a new Singapore-based startup to our portfolio called Resync. Founded by engineers Emire Nurov and Dr Jayanika Soni, both with a passion for renewables, Resync provides AI-driven intelligent energy management solutions for smart buildings and systems with multiple sustainable energy sources.
This move comes as governments globally are accelerating efforts to reduce carbon emissions, meet sustainability goals and mitigate climate change. In his 2022 Budget, Singapore’s Finance Minister announced that the nation’s carbon tax will be progressively increased to reach S$50 to S$80 per tonne of emissions by 2030, providing the financial impetus for companies to accelerate decarbonisation. In the UK, reports suggest the public back even higher levies to encourage cuts in emissions in order to surpass current carbon targets.
More companies will look to enterprises like Resync for intelligent solutions as pressures increase. “Resync’s AI-driven approach shows tremendous potential in helping commercial properties optimise across energy sources and get the most value from their spending,” said Liew.
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Combat climate change today
COP26 in Glasgow was undoubtedly a wake-up call for the world to come up with more urgent solutions. It also should have inspired entrepreneurs to develop tech-driven solutions to tackle the crisis – investors like GGV Capital are eager to support innovative ideas that can make a real difference. So what are you waiting for?