Cleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and C40 Cities, with support from PwC, call for enhanced city collaboration with startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovators to accelerate climate action and help secure a 1.5°C future.

Cities that accelerate climate action by supporting cleantech startups and corporate innovation could supercharge urgent global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. That’s the conclusion of a new report released on 9th Dec at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, by C40 Cities and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), with research support from PwC

In the reportCleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation, authors interviewed a range of city officials, innovators and ecosystem actors to inform three key recommendations that would drive innovation in advanced mobility solutions, intelligent energy systems, and more conscious consumption:

  1. Cities should invite, shape, and direct startup and corporate innovation to accelerate climate action. 
  2. Startups need guidance to help them find incubators or partners that work closely with cities and can help facilitate connections across the urban innovation ecosystem.
  3. A new platform and global partnership should be forged to help cities better work with startup and corporate innovation to accelerate climate action

The report also highlights 28 tools and instruments—ranging across tech clusters, startup support services, finance, market access, and pilot projects—that enable innovation and scaling of urban climate innovation.

“Cities are where the future happens first. Throughout history they have been centres of innovation and accelerators of progress to tackle the greatest challenges facing humanity,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities. “Today, there is no greater challenge we face than the growing climate crisis. Cities are major contributors to the emissions that are causing climate breakdown, but they are also where the solutions are being developed, tested and scaled up. By creating supportive policies and partnerships for those innovators and start-ups within their cities, C40 mayors can help drive even faster action towards securing the future we want.”

“As the City of L.A.’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and now working with startup entrepreneurs at LACI, I know firsthand how innovation can help cut carbon, improve people’s lives, and address inequity in every part of a city,” said Matt Petersen, CEO, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and board chair of Climate Mayors. “Given the scope of the climate crisis, we’re calling on city leaders around the world to both set bold policy goals and empower cleantech startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Taken together, these measures can help mayors realize an additional 35 percent reduction in GHGs and $5 trillion in economic potential.”

“We were struck by the speed at which high-growth businesses can accelerate climate action at city-level,” said Dan Dowling, Director, Cities & Urbanisation, PwC. “City governments are an essential catalyst in this and can play a leading role by unlocking barriers in the climate innovation and investment ecosystem so that action can be rapidly scaled in partnership with the private sector.” 

Read the full report here.