The best way to predict a better future is to create it.
Hi my name is Jop Blom, I am a Dutch native international serial social entrepreneur with 20 years experience and I am currently the National Lead of the green business ideas competition ClimateLaunchpad in Colombia. I am honoured and grateful for the invitation by our colleagues of Renergii to participate as a panelist in their upcoming event 'Trends in Cleantech Innovation: Challenges, Opportunities and Funding', happening virtually on 22nd October, next week.
To reflect on this topic, it is interesting to share that I am actually quite new to the topic of Cleantech. Until I joined ClimateLaunchpad in 2019, I was actually more of a social instead of a green guy, and much more engaged in social instead of green entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibilities instead of Sustainability. Having said that I can really reflect on the huge difference, also in potential, between social and green entrepreneurship.
Over the last 2 years I have noticed that social entrepreneurship is actually more a nice to have, and green entrepreneurship is conceived as a massive must to have.
Based on my non-academic, hands on experience and gut feeling this all has to do with the Y factor that will sum up the enormous boost that Cleantech will experience in dominating the #greenrecovery towards a #neweconomy in the near and hopefully sustainable future.
TechnologY – Cleantech has in its core, disruptive and innovative technology and that's what makes it rather sexy. Everyone likes to be in the game of the next big thing and every innovator would like to become the Elon Musk of his industry.
ScalabilitY – driven by technology, Cleantech is also very replicable and scalable, something that every entrepreneur, industry, company and investor is looking for to reduce their risks and increase the returns on investment.
EfficiencY – it is the priority and direct efficiency and with that the mitigation in environmental impact and reduction in use of resources and costs that counts. If you can make the simple calculation on the backflip with the problem you solve at what investment and earn back time, everyone will love your solution. The additional good reputation, communication value and karma points come as a cherry on the cake.
IndustrY – In comparison with fintech which is mostly a nice gadget for the financial industry, Cleantech has its relevance and market within every industry, company, production process and value chain. Only this aspect will make Cleantech a thousand times more interesting and relevant then the hype in fintech.
SustainabilitY – is key, as also Covid19 shows we can no longer deplete our natural resources and human capital. We have to be adaptable to change and find ways to protect our natural resources to survive on the longer term. We have to focus our attention to long term value creation & leadership and with that consider our impact on the environment and society in everything we do.
UrgencY – the devastating impact and costs of climate change and temperature rising can no longer be denied. 10 out of the last 11 years all heath records were exceeded. Back in my youth we enjoyed ice skating in every winter and a nice Dutch summer consisted of a few days above 25 degrees Celsius. Now ice-skating has become something of the past and we are not surprised when the thermometer hits another 40 degrees on an Amsterdam summer night. Not to talk about the devastating forest fires, hurricanes, floods, water shortage, desertification of land and all of the other threats threatening our livelihoods and which are the roots of wars and mass refugees flows who desperately seek for a better future for their children.
InclusivitY – Climate change and droughts (or floods) are directly threatening up to half a billion people with poverty and food insecurity. Unfortunately, almost 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Over 2 billion people use drinking water sources contaminated with feces and don’t have access to basic sanitation facilitations causing deadly diseases. Over 1 billion rural people lack access to energy hindering their lively hoods, educational potential, internet access, and socio-economic statuses. Air pollution threatens the health of people in many parts of the world, 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. We have an estimated 8.79 million premature deaths each year. This is especially amongst the poorer population living in overcrowded city townships and commuting to work daily to the smog, but also a serious threat in our western world.
NecessitY - I am always using this short Cleantech video animation to explain the necessity of Cleantech to provide our growing world population of 8 billion soon. Most of them ±60% will be living in mega cities, with a high need to access to clean energy, clean air, clean water and healthy food. We can only achieve that if we find ways to optimize our efficiency and use our limited resources in a sustainable way.
PolicY – I studied law and economics in company and society, which asked the question - what can we leave up to the market and what do we have to force by a legal framework for companies to take their responsibility for our planet and society? More restrictive legal frameworks such as extended producer responsibility and GRI reporting came into place, and true pricing could be the norm in the future. Large political standards and ambitions are set such as by the OECD and of course the Paris Climate agreement 2015 are set. Cities will have to turn green to become livable and healthy and improve quality of life. And a framework of the Sustainable Development Goals for a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable society in 2030 are set to inspire the world. In all of these global goals Cleantech could provide the solution.
OpportunitY – as an optimist I rather like to see every challenge as an opportunity. All major investors like Blackrock are divesting from fossil fuels into new green industries. Big bad boys like our petrol companies need to transform into the new economy. Trillions of dollars like in the EU green deal are earmarked to add to a #greenrecovery and sustainable transformation of our economy, society, cities, countries and continents. And guess what – all of them will be looking for this amazingly smart bottom up innovations that we with ClimateLaunchpad are aiming to catalyze.
LegacY – at the end it all comes down to our responsibility to leave a legacy. There simply is no planet B. We must and can act because in the very near future, the costs of inaction will far exceed those of acting. We simply have no time and no planet to waste. The new generation as a consumer or employee is demanding a higher purpose, sustainability and companies that share their same values. We are all one. Ubuntu.
At ClimateLaunchpad we believe in people who believe in their idea. That’s why we have an astonishing 60% of the early stage entrepreneurs that joined our program over the last 5 years, still in business today. This is because they are not limited by any market knowledge, politics or limiting believes. They just act and are all driven by their personal purpose that fuels their grit, persistency and drive to have their positive impact in the world. Whether big or small.
That’s my personal motivation to drive green entrepreneurship & Cleantech innovation to fix climate change, one start up at a time!
Attend our upcoming event to learn more about trends in Cleantech Innovation and hear more from Jop: