Eco Innovation: Driving the Fight Against Climate Change
London: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and drastic changes are needed to prevent further environmental damage. One way we can achieve this is through eco innovation. By using human ingenuity and technology, we can mitigate the effects of climate change and improve our environment. In this article, we will explore some of the key issues facing our planet and highlight exciting eco innovations that could be game-changing.
Table of Contents
- Direct Air Capture (DAC) Technology
- Alternative Packaging Solutions
- Upcycling: Innovative Solutions to Reduce Industrial Waste
- Lab-Grown Meat
- Added Incentives for Eco Innovators
- The Role of Invenics
The climate clock is rapidly approaching zero, and we need to act fast to make a positive impact on our environment. There are various areas in which we can innovate to address the environmental challenges we face. From greenhouse gas emissions to plastic pollution, deforestation to waste, eco innovators have the opportunity to drive the fight against climate change. In this article, we will examine some of the most significant issues, discuss the latest eco innovations, and highlight how they can potentially be game-changing.
2. Direct Air Capture (DAC) Technology
Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology is an obvious solution to greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the science behind its efficiency is far from straightforward. Currently, there are 18 DAC plants operating worldwide, capturing almost 0.01 Mt CO2/year, a drop in the ocean of the 37,000 Mt of CO2 produced globally in 2022. This disparity is further exacerbated by the fact that only 2 plants are storing the captured CO2 in geological formations for atmospheric removal. This highlights the need for further innovation to make DAC more easily scalable and cost-effective so that we can close the gap between emissions and removal rates as soon as possible.
3. Alternative Packaging Solutions
Plastic pollution is one of the most significant environmental challenges we face. The long-term effects of microplastics are still unknown, and we continue to use a staggering amount of single-use plastic every day. As a result, alternative packaging solutions that are biodegradable or compostable are becoming more prevalent through material science. Recent innovations include Goneshells, 'peelable' drinks bottles derived from potatoes, which are waterproof until peeled apart after use, when they become dissolvable in water and compostable. A key theme is utilising natural materials, epitomised by Biofase who make disposable cutlery from avocado pits. This is also a great example of taking a waste product and turning repurposing it.
4. Upcycling: Innovative Solutions to Reduce Industrial Waste
Waste from large-scale industry can amount to huge amounts of material discarded or headed for landfill. Because of this, businesses are creating innovative solutions to manufacture products out of what would usually be discarded as waste. Brands such as Huskee cup and ChopValue are great examples of this. Huskee takes coffee husk, an external layer of the coffee bean that is removed at the milling stage, and incorporates it into reusable coffee cups that are infinitely recyclable through their Huskee loop scheme once damaged or worn out, helping to make a dent in the 2.5 billion disposable cups that end up in landfill every year. Upcycling is also a great way of reducing waste, which is what ChopValue does when taking used chopsticks and turning them into a wide range of wooden pieces, from desks to phone stands. Through this, they have saved close to 100,000,000 chopsticks from landfill to date.
5. Lab-Grown Meat
The food industry is a significant contributor to emissions, with meat, specifically beef, being an area of concern, producing almost 10% of global emissions. Although consumer tastes are changing with the rise of veganism in recent years, many still want to be able to eat meat but don't due to the environmental impact and animal welfare concerns. Lab-grown meat is aiming to solve these issues. Since being approved for sale in 2020, innovations have enabled scientists to grow 'meat' artificially more effectively and efficiently. Companies like Steakholder Foods (formerly MeaTech 3D), an Israel-based cultured meat company, have capitalised on this, with rapid growth and further planned expansion in both America and Europe. They specialise in bioprinting cell-based meat; harvested animal cells are grown inside a bioreactor and then later printed to look and feel like actual meat.
6. Added Incentives for Eco Innovators
Whilst there are private benefits to eco innovation such as added value to products, efficiency gains from process innovations and improved ESG scores increasing shareholder value, eco innovations have positive externalities in production. This implies that they are underproduced as the societal benefit they create is greater than the private benefits from their production, i.e. there are positive spillover effects. Therefore, there needs to be added incentive for eco innovators, in order to increase the rate of it, most commonly through grant funding and R&D tax credits.
7. The Role of Invenics
At Invenics we are passionate about making a positive impact to our society especially to promote companies who undertake eco-innovation. Invenics offers a range of services where we work closely with businesses to identify areas where they can make the biggest impact and develop innovative solutions to address their environmental challenges. In addition, Invenics provides Innovation Incentive services which include assistance with R&D Tax credits and grants in eco-innovation, which can help businesses develop long-term sustainability plans that align with their goals and values.
Overall, Invenics' services are designed to help businesses drive eco-innovation and sustainability, and to make a positive impact on the environment. It's crucial to recognise the positive externalities of eco innovation and the need for added incentives to encourage further progress. By working with businesses to develop innovative solutions and strategies, we are playing a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices and eco innovation across industries.
Eco innovation is a critical tool in the fight against climate change. The world faces significant environmental challenges, and innovative solutions are needed to mitigate their impact. From Direct Air Capture technology to alternative packaging solutions, upcycling, and lab-grown meat, there are numerous examples of exciting eco innovations that could be game-changing.
If you are an eco-innovator or know someone who is, get in touch as we’d love to help you maximise your impact.