Our view of seven sustainability trends on the rise in 2021

Avatar Clim8 Team

08 April 2021 Climate ChangeSustainability

sustainability trends

Sustainability trends suggest a shift towards a more circular system is beginning.

In the last 70 years, mass consumerism and a maturing linear system (make, use, throw away) have changed how we view resources.

The term ‘waste’ can infer little or no worth. All resources, effort, energy and time that goes into making products are dismissed in a single word and often after very short lifespans.

Sustainability trends in waste management

Times are changing. Although landfills and incinerators continue to fill and mindsets still need shifting, rays of hope are on the horizon.

2021 looks to be a year of accelerated change in the waste management world.

Here, in our view, are seven sustainability trends to watch closely over the course of the year.

1. Capturing methane

Landfills emit 15% of the world’s methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Waste Management, one of the largest waste management companies worldwide, focusses on capturing this methane and using it to run its natural gas-powered fleet of vehicles.

Hopefully this system will also encourage other companies to capitalise on their own methane emissions.

2. Ending the single-use wave

Every additional six-month delay on the ban of single-use plastics results in hundreds of millions more items filling our landfills and oceans. China also recently decided that it would no longer (unsurprisingly) accept non-recyclable waste, heightening the landfill situation further.

Thankfully, we believe legislation is within reach and will force change.

For example, Canada is banning the majority of single-use plastics by the end of this year with Montreal aiming to have a zero waste policy by 2030.

Other countries including France, Taiwan and Kenya are in hot pursuit, many having already banned plastic cups, plates, cutlery and bags.

3. A puzzling affair

The UK has a decentralised waste system with an array of recycling criteria and a confusing labelling system. No wonder 73% of British consumers would welcome greater transparency about their waste.

Combined with a widening variety of plastics and mixed-polymer plastics on the market, sorting waste is, in our view, a complex issue.

Good news though. Advancements in sorting technology continue to make headway in alleviating the pressure for waste-to-product companies such as Renewi.

However the system is still heavily reliant on humans separating out the different plastics at a maximum rate of 30 to 40 recyclables per minute. 2021 will be the year AI becomes prevalent. Increased sorting accuracy and efficiency enables AI-powered machines to sort 160 plastic items per minute.

4. Upping the recycling ante

Increased customer pressure and new legislation are pushing brands to think carefully about their design choices.

Whilst fiscal policy changes (for example a tax on all products that do not hit a 30% recycled-content threshold will be introduced in the UK in 2022) will drive some decision-making, others will be good-will, or value-led (the value of recycled materials especially rare earth could be significant which creates an incentive to recycle), such as the surge in battery technology recycling research by companies like Umicore.

5. Collaboration is king

Waste is, in our view, a systemic issue. Brands trying to solve the situation alone generally stall early on.

We believe worldwide collaborations and partnerships are and will be the answer. Co-founded by Tetrapak, Nestle, Danone and Veolia, 3R Initiative, in our opinion, is a prime example.

A global collaboration, it researches different methodologies to help reduce, recover and recycle the ever-increasing plastic production by companies. Findings are open source so all companies can benefit.

6. Thinking outside the box

Designing out waste completely is the ideal scenario. Unfortunately, society has become less and less circular over the decades. Only 8.6% of waste worldwide is recycled and the figure is getting worse.

Rethinking the way products are designed with end of life in mind will change this. DS Smith, a global packaging solutions company, now trains all of their designers in Circular Design Principles to help them hit their 2023 target of producing 100% recyclable or reusable packaging.

7. Is alternative better?

Sustainable paper-based packaging’s popularity has increased tenfold and Smurfit Kappa is leading the charge.

However, many other brands are turning to plastic alternatives such as plant-derived materials that claim to be biodegradable. Despite sounding green on the tin, in reality they typically only degrade in highly-controlled environments.

Although new varieties of such materials encourage consumers to lower their plastic consumption, they can wreak havoc on a waste management system not capable of processing these materials.

Though it’s not obvious, solutions, partnerships and innovations are being worked on behind the scenes. Working collaboratively is the only way to productively move forwards. Invest your money in companies pioneering the way and accelerate the rate of change.

With investing your capital is at risk. Information is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.


Overcoming water scarcity: water crisis solutions you should know

Avatar Clim8 Team

31 March 2021 Climate ChangeSustainability

Tackling water scarcity

Water scarcity is one of four major challenges preventing 2.1 billion people, almost a third of our global population, from having regular access to clean drinking water.

The other three are pollution, quality and affordability. For this first part in the series, we will be focussing on water scarcity.

Water scarcity? And yet water is everywhere I look

The vast majority – 97% of water on earth is stored in its oceans. A further 2.5% is frozen in polar caps, is locked up in soil or polluted beyond repair. The remaining 0.5% of our global water resources is used by 99% of the Earth’s 1 trillion species, of which humans use a disproportionate amount.

To exacerbate the situation even further, populations are booming, existing infrastructure is poor, farming methods are damaging and climate change is already upon us. Every year, water is becoming scarcer.

Two sides of the water scarcity coin

Water scarcity happens in two ways. Physical water scarcity occurs when water supply does not physically meet demand. This affects 20% of the global population.

Economic water scarcity, however, arises when an adequate water supply cannot be tapped due to insufficient funds; often caused by lack of good governance. Economic water scarcity affects 23% of the global population, predominantly in Africa

A range of innovation and technology businesses look to solve water scarcity via different channels.

Focus on reducing non-revenue water

We lose a third of all drinkable water worldwide. Old infrastructure such as leaky pipes cause inefficiencies, alongside human factors such as meter reading errors, theft and corruption.

‘Non-revenue water’ costs countries millions of pounds and usually passes onto the ratepayer, making affordability an ever-growing concern.

Thankfully, many companies have developed and are implementing solutions, for example:

  • Xylem SmartBallTM is a multi-sensor tool that detects and locates leaks without the need for costly excavation exercises. Africa’s largest water utility company, Rand Water, used this technology to examine 2,200 kilometres of pipelines and locate every single leak down to the closest metre.
  • Utility companies rarely have funds to replace infrastructure. In fact, USA companies need $1 trillion in the next 25 years to replace all existing leaky infrastructure. Aegion Corporation have invented future-thinking technologies that aim to enable effective pipeline rehabilitation rather than replacement.
  • Smart water meter technologies, such as Badger Meters, are being used to replace existing antiquated systems. Smart technology enables companies to check water usage, identify water leakages and detect tampering in real time.

Moving to access the 97%

Rapid adoption of desalination technologies in arid regions such as the Middle East, has helped countries deal with physical water scarcity. In Saudi Arabia, desalination now accounts for nearly 70% of their drinking water. 
However, desalination plants are power-hungry using 4 kilowatt hours of energy for every cubic metre of water produced. This costs customers as much as $5 per 1000 gallons versus $1.50 per 1000 gallons from a typical municipal water supplier even if the costs have fallen significantly over the last 2 decades.

Increasing solar power generation will bring this cost down, though some experts believe that desalination must be coupled with other solutions to reduce costs substantially.

water scarcity
Source: Mission 2017

To make desalination truly affordable, Energy Recovery, an innovative desalination company, produces highly efficient and scalable solutions that minimise existing plants’ energy usage and carbon emissions. To date, $2 billion in energy expenses have been saved and 11.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been eliminated.

A team in Singapore are also exploring biomimicry techniques to see how mangrove plants are able to extract fresh water from the sea with minimal energy.

Slowly changing perceptions

Reusing and recycling water should alleviate municipality and industry-wide water scarcity. Depending on whether it is drinkable, water can irrigate orchards, recharge groundwater or wash vehicles. Wastewater treatment technology has improved exponentially in the last decade. Kurita Water is a prime example that has created Zero-Liquid Discharge (ZLD) systems, a closed-loop process which treats and reuses water without any discharge. 

The public appears to remain sceptical as to whether recycled, treated wastewater is drinkable. Highly visible champions such as Bill Gates are vouching for its safety, which should help grow the practice. Australia turning to greywater would save 1 trillion litres of water.

Intelligent irrigation

The global agricultural industry uses 70% of our freshwater supply. Inefficient watering methods loses much of it to field run-off. 

In developing countries, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) launched an initiative, Global Framework for Action on Water Scarcity in Agriculture helping farmers adapt to climate change impacts and water scarcity. In the meantime,  precision irrigation systems and computer algorithms are becoming commonplace in developed countries, reducing water usage ten-fold and preventing run-off. 

For many of us living in rain-abundant countries, it can be hard to envisage water scarcity. With increasing global temperatures though, it may become more frequent. 

In order to resolve this worsening situation, investment into innovative companies applying solutions to water scarcity is essential.

With investing your capital is at risk. Information is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.


Clean Energy Superpower: The Energy Storage Solution

Avatar Clim8 Team

13 April 2021 Climate ChangeSustainability

Wind farms and solar panels are a common sight these days. Originally criticised for blemishing unspoilt landscapes, they are now welcomed as signs of greener times.

And as fossil-fuel energy gradually gives way to clean energy, wind and solar will likely take over as the dominant energy source. Especially in the UK and other less mountainous countries that do not benefit from an abundance of hydropower, currently the world’s most utilised renewable energy source.

Actually, over the course of the last two years, the UK managed several months without coal-based power generation at all.

The clean energy conundrum

Water might always flow, but what happens when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow? How do you maintain a consistently sufficient supply of power when the weather isn’t playing ball?

 Adding to the challenge, electricity consumption patterns are changing. Transport systems are gradually electrifying and our dependence on numerous electronic devices increases.

Clean energy: the missing solution

The answer, we believe, is energy storage. Combining solar, wind and battery storage technology (known as SWB) cannot only, in our view, help bring the cost of green energy contracts down but also balance intermittent energy supply for grid operators.

Think tank, RethinkX, believes that when SWB technology is finally fully integrated in power systems and running at optimal conditions, it will generate 3x-5x as much energy as today’s grid whilst energy can be stored on the less windy days.

If anything, clean energy sources are capable of excessive amounts of surplus electricity generation, produced at near-zero marginal cost, coined ‘Clean Energy Superpower’.

An idyllic thought but a few hoops we feel need to be jumped-through first.

Automotive industry – a source of inspiration

Battery storage size (the number of kWh that a battery can hold as opposed to the physical size) and output remains a challenge for the adoption of electric vehicles.

Thankfully the race to find solutions to these challenges is drawing closer; the magic figure of $100/kWh is widely seen as the threshold beyond which batteries will become mainstream. This is mostly driven by the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry’s need for batteries that last longer, hold more energy, and weigh less.

As of this month StoreDot, a startup battery manufacturer working in the automotive marketplace, released a battery that it says can fully charge in just five minutes; a notable step change brought about by highly-targeted industrial innovation.

We all want an electric car but where can we get power when we want it? The concept of ‘range anxiety’ is key; when people  try to keep their battery charged 100pc even when they do not need it.

Some clean energy companies such as Vestas, a wind turbine manufacturer, are latching onto the innovative sprint and deep pockets of the automotive industries and forming partnerships with leading EV companies like Tesla to help accelerate the process further.

Capturing the clean energy superpower

Many energy suppliers are taking storage issues into their own hands.

Ørsted, originally a Scandinavian oil and gas company and now the world’s largest offshore wind power developer, has recently installed one of the first stand-alone, large-scale battery energy storage units near their wind turbine site off Liverpool, UK.

Ørsted can now, we understand, capture 90MW of energy directly from their turbines, helping existing local grid services to meet peak demands when required.

Flattening out peak demand

Factories have, in our opinion, had this nailed for decades; running their machinery overnight when energy is abundant and prices are low.

However, despite the availability of smart home technology on the market, adoption levels are still low; the cost savings are often not understood, or not enough to outweigh the timing convenience on a per-household basis.

Studies also reveal that perceived usefulness, ease of use, trust and compatibility are inherently affecting uptake levels. More research needs to be done, in our opinion, to enable companies to break down entry level barriers.

Elephant in the room or The inconvenient truth

Transitioning to a green economy, we believe, is going to need substantial resources; starting with all the raw materials needed to meet the growing battery and wind turbine demands. Wind turbines alone need 5.5Mt of copper to meet 2028 targets, regardless of all other metals required in their construction.

Sadly, the long-term ill-effects of most current mining operations are considerable. Mining these materials also has a detrimental effect on the environment. Most notably from air and water pollution, to land damage and loss of biodiversity.

Climate change deniers, in our experience, repeatedly raise this as part of their argument against the green transition. We must carefully explore this point while we look for alternative solutions.

Mark Carney, ex- Governor of the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, as well as Financial Advisor to Boris Johnson for COP26, has stated that the net-zero transition is the ‘greatest commercial opportunity of our time’. Many companies worldwide also share this opinion and are jumping on board to find solutions. The race is on to turn abundant amounts of clean energy into an abundance of money.

Companies are already jumping on the bandwagon. They are focusing on technologies that aim to minimise mining for virgin materials. Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund recently put a sizable portion of its $2 billion pot into Redwood Materials, a company founded by Tesla’s former Chief Technology Officer. It focuses on solving the battery recycling challenge.

Whilst Vestas has teamed up with Aarhus University and the Danish Technology Institute to build a circular economic model. This retains and reuses everything, including the wind turbine blades, which to this day has been a sore sticking point for the industry.

Final word

The topic is hugely complex but in our view, if solved, comes with an equally huge reward. And we may not have solved the challenge yet.

But with so many countries and companies worldwide striving for a solution, one can’t help but feel optimistic that positive change is on the horizon.

The big question is – will it be too late? We think not, but it will require huge investment in the right companies to find answers fast.

With investing your capital is at risk. This information is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.


What is upcycling and how can it stop food waste?

Avatar Clim8 Team

19 March 2021 Climate ChangeSustainability

From fashion to food, upcycling is in Vogue this year. No pun intended, here is the article. Everyone wants a slice of the cake. A welcome trend that is helping tackle our inherent waste problem. 

Simply put, upcycling takes what would traditionally be seen as waste and turns it into new products of similar or higher quality. Making better use of the energy expended in sourcing, transporting and processing material, it prevents valuable resources going to landfill.

A term originally coined by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, upcycling also plays a major role in the circular economy transition.

Food waste: today’s problem

Waste is a recent phenomenon. Until the 19th century, people made all they needed at home, squeezing out every last drop of value from each item. Broken ceramics, shells and animal bones were all discarded. 

During Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 – 1901), an enormous societal shift took place. Incomes were on the rise and people subsequently started buying what they previously made at home from stores. Packaged goods became the norm average household waste skyrocketed and the perceived value of each item was lost. 

Only when waste started visibly piling up were people forced to start finding solutions to fix this new systemic issue. Upcycling was born. 

Changing perceptions about food waste

The term ‘waste’ can imply something of little value. Although upcycling in other industries is becoming ‘trendy’, people still perceive food waste as ‘rotten’, ‘useless’ or even ‘inedible’.

Today’s biggest challenge is not figuring out how to upcycle food waste but convincing people that food waste is in fact perfectly fine to consume. Marketing has a major role to play if upcycled goods are to become mainstream. And not just for eco conscious customers.

Messaging, in our view, needs to steer away from waste’s negative connotations. Companies that have latched onto this have changed the narrative, successfully luring customers in with terms such as ‘by-product’ or ‘derivative’.

Killing two birds with one stone

Despite the marketing conundrum, upcycling food waste brings substantial economic benefits. Companies have discovered a win-win opportunity; an additional revenue stream and a means of saving money on waste disposal.

Their creativity, in our view, is inspiring. Here are some imaginative examples:

  • Sensient Technologies use leftover grape skins from the wine industry to make a hotly sought-after purple extract for dyeing.
  • International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) recently safeguarded 400 metric tonnes of surplus spinach from farmers’ bins after their production levels exceeded supermarket demand. IFF subsequently turned the leaves into nutrient-rich powders, adding them to health products such as nutritional beverage powders or snack bars. Originally a pilot program, it generated an additional USD $1.3 million leading to discussions on how the initiative could be permanently rolled out.
  • Symrise uses discarded cranberry by-products that do not meet current food standards in cosmetics.
  • Givaudan converts spent coffee grounds into premium ‘coffee oil’ adding it to premium skincare products.
  • Rubies in the Rubble rescues leftover wonky and slightly bruised fruit and vegetables from local markets and transforms them into condiments. 

We still throw a third of all food produced worldwide every year. We have a long way to go to tackle  this but upcycling is definitely one lever we can and should be pulling to ease the load.

With investing your capital is at risk. This information is for illustration purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.


International Earth Day: 6 climate-related actions

Avatar Duncan Grierson

23 April 2020 Sustainability

April 22nd marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.

To celebrate it, we decided to launch our first tree planting initiative. On April 22nd and 23rd, we will plant a tree for every person who invests in Clim8 to become a shareholder in our company during our crowdfunding campaign.

As we navigate the uncertainty and fear generated by the global pandemic, Earth Day seems to have taken a back seat. António Guterres, Secretary-General at the United Nations said “While the impact of the coronavirus is both immediate and dreadful, there’s an even deeper emergency — the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis… Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return,”

Guterres proposed 6 climate-related actions to shape the recovery of the climate crisis :

  • Green Transition – As we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition. (And as more people move towards products and services that are making a difference on climate change, at Clim8 we believe that their value will also increase in time).
  • Taxpayers’ money – When used to rescue businesses, taxpayers’ money should  be tied to achieving green sustainable growth. 
  • Fiscal firepower – In the words of Guterres, this must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient.
  • Public funds – They should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.  Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution.
  • Climate risks and opportunities – These elements should be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.
  • Community – We need to work together as an international community. Climate change, just like viruses, does not respect national boundaries. And we need to come together to solve on of the biggest challenges that the world has ever faced.

As Guterres said,

We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future, demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike”.

With Clim8, we want to support sustainable businesses that make an actual difference on climate change. The path to a greener world will be paved by greener companies. Join us on our journey.


Supporting UN sustainable development goals while working from home

Avatar Duncan Grierson

09 April 2020 Sustainability

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are designed as a roadmap for a better planet with a healthier climate. We’ve picked out four of them that you can support, even while working from home!

In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to bring peace and prosperity to the planet and all people. Today, as the world adapts to the impact of Covid-19, this mission could not be more important.

17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and 169 targets derived from those goals, map out the ambition of the plan. Critical transitions such as improved health, education, ending poverty, and boosting economic growth are among the key areas of focus. Climate action, goal 13, has the potential to affect all the others.

The question we can ask ourselves today is: ‘how can I help the world improve and achieve the UN’s mission, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic?’

As individual citizens, we have a part to play. To help guide, we’ve chosen four of the goals that we can all support at home.

Choose energy options that reduce your energy footprint

Global Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

We need to decarbonize the energy that we use. Together, we can reduce our carbon emissions and keep global temperatures below disastrous levels. Using energy-saving light bulbs and appliances are helpful, but we can do more. Switching to a provider which supplies only renewable energy is also a powerful step. Looking to the future, when we are no longer confined to our homes, we should consider our choice of transport carefully. Choosing an electric vehicle can save up to 1.5 million grams of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona. Harnessing the power of the sun to fuel your home is another option. With prices falling and the opportunity to sell your energy back to the grid, domestic solar panels are increasingly attractive. 

Think local: support your community

Global Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban areas are projected to house 60% of the world’s population by 2030, with one in every three people living in mega-cities with at least half a million inhabitants. Building modern, sustainable cities will be essential in preparing for this surge. Intelligent urban planning will effectively guarantee safe, affordable, green and cultural cities.

Many of us are already contributing to this global goal without realising it. By shopping as locally as possible, we are supporting our communities as well as choosing a lower carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose local food providers.

Local politics matters as well. Elections have been postponed, giving us more time to reflect on our options. Research your local candidates and make sure you elect the leaders in your local community who will prioritise green solutions as part of their agenda. To support the UN Sustainable Development Goals at home, vote for leaders who support them. 

Be a responsible consumer; think before you buy

Global Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production

Over 7bn consumers drive the global economy. Every time we purchase something, we make a vote. What does your vote say? Are you voting for a more resource efficient planet? 

Taking responsibility for everyday purchases is essential. We need to start asking where the things we buy come from. Who made them? Are they ethical? Were they shipped thousands of miles by air when I could have purchased locally? What are they made out of? 

We need to think before we buy, especially in the fast-paced world of online shopping: “Do I really need this?” Perhaps you can use something you already have at home, repair it or make your own. DIY recipes can easily be found online for all kinds of things.  

And the food we eat has a big impact. Eating less meat, fish and dairy products can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But you can also cut down on food waste, which contributes to 8% of our total carbon emissions. In Max La Manna’s ‘More Plants, Less Waste’ book he shows us how to use food scraps like onion skins and celery leaves to make stock. So get creative with your leftovers and reduce your food waste, all from the comfort of your own home.

Take action now

Global Goal 13, Climate Action

Action at home starts small, by writing to your local MP. Demand action from the government on the climate emergency. Call for policies that will create lasting, positive change. 

Inspiring speeches might even motivate you to start your own initiative. This could be anything from a ‘green group’ in your community, planning a fundraising event (later in the year!) or starting a petition. Local networks are key. Invite friends, family and colleagues by speaking to them about climate change and what you can do together to help. 

Volunteering for projects such as Trees For Cities or a citizen science scheme are also effective steps. For the more adventuros, perhaps you could plan for your next (post-isolation!) holiday to involve volunteering with a conservation charity on a rewilding project.   

Together, we can support the UN’s mission. Now is the time to give some of these ideas a go, even while working from home. 

And finally, how you invest your savings can have a big impact. At Clim8, we are driven by sustainability and we’re enabling investment in green energy, clean technology, clean water, sustainable food, recycling, and clean mobility. Please join us.


The stark similarities between Covid-19 and the climate crisis

Avatar Duncan Grierson

03 April 2020 Sustainability

The systems that our world is built on are changing quickly and dramatically due to the Covid-19 crisis, at a pace unimaginable just a few weeks ago. Swift government action to adapt our systems has proven that a global response to a global problem is possible.

For the Clim8 team, this raises the important question: can a response of this scale be repeated for the climate crisis?

Covid-19 and Climate Crisis

Both crises are global. No country is immune from either Covid-19 or the effects of climate change. Similarly, they will both impact some countries more severely than others. For example, low altitude nations are at the highest risk of rising sea levels. Nations with rudimentary healthcare systems face more intense challenges.

Both crises are pernicious in the scale of potential deaths. Covid-19 has the potential to kill millions of people around the world. The impact of the climate crisis has already cost many lives and has the potential to be very deadly. 

We will witness famine, droughts and longer-lasting heatwaves. By continuing on our current path, global temperatures will increase by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, triggering lethal scenarios. 

Economic disruption from both crises is also a grave concern. Estimates are of trillions of dollars of impact resulting from Covid-19. 

The potential economic impact of climate breakdown is also in the trillions, but could end up dwarfing the total damage caused by Covid-19. Climate change threatens so many elements of our society and way of life, that its economic impact is almost immeasurable. Agricultural damage, flooding and power grid disruption alone could knock the world’s economy into a steep decline. Climate-related food shortages could also force tens of millions of people back into poverty, which will lead to increased vulnerability to health problems. 

Why such dramatic differences in the responses?

As the world came to realise the severity of the Covid-19 threat, leaders took drastic action. Lockdowns of cities, restrictions on movement, mass school closures, postponement of sports events (even the Olympic games), and a large reduction in transport use.

Despite the starker threat posed by the climate crisis, response from governments has been relatively passive. Our perception of global warming is different to that of a killer virus. Dramatic video footage of floods and bushfires are not necessarily directly associated with climate change.

Governments, businesses and individuals need to look further down the line into the future. 

We have the means to mitigate dangerous global warming through coordinated global action and a move towards sustainable business models. We need to work together to make sure climate change is no longer perceived as a distant threat by governments, businesses and individuals. Encouragingly, many people are thinking longer term now.

What is the key learning from the Covid-19 response?

Change is possible! The recent upheavals to our way of life haven’t been straightforward, but have proven our capacity to adapt as a society. Social distancing, working from home, supporting vulnerable people, avoiding transport, and an increase in hygiene are all impressive achievements. Factories have converted their production processes in order to provide more ventilators for the NHS. We can now confidently say that we can adapt to an altered way of living when necessary.

The reason for hope

Taking action on a global scale is possible. This crisis has proven unequivocally that international action can happen quickly and decisively in response to powerful threats. 

While the current Covid-19 crisis is frightening, we must not lose hope. It is important to recognise that global systems change can happen, and fast. In just a few months, we’ve seen how humanity is capable of incredible feats, innovation and international coordination when it matters most. 

Our mission at Clim8 Invest is to support innovations designed to combat climate change. Together, through our collective investments, we can enable inspiring organisations to bring about the change we need to tackle the climate crisis head on.

Join us on our journey.


3 critical takeaways from Davos 2020 and predictions for 2021

Avatar Duncan Grierson

14 February 2020 Sustainability

Clim8 Invest’s CEO, Duncan Grierson, shares his thoughts on Davos 2020 and predictions for Davos 2021.

It has been almost 50 years since the first Davos conference in 1971, later evolving into the official World Economic Forum in 1987. And for the first time since that gathering, climate change has finally climbed to the top of the agenda. Many would argue that this should’ve happened 5 or even 10 years ago, but at least it has reached the top now. 

Of course, the climate crisis has been impossible to ignore over the past year. 2019 was the second hottest year on record, extreme weather events have become much more frequent, and Australia has been ravaged by wildfires, made far more likely due to a rise in average temperatures. In many ways, the WEF had no choice; they had to make the climate crisis a top priority this year. 

But what was the outcome? As the world’s political and business leaders converged on the stunning Swiss resort, did they actually make any headway? What can we learn from this first-of-its-kind WEF conference?

Here are our top takeaways from Davos 2020 and predictions for 2021.

1. Money talks – the rising fiscal risks of climate change 

One of the key climate conversation drivers at Davos this year was the ever-rising fiscal risks of the climate crisis. Some of the world’s largest asset managers are beginning to wake up to the significance of climate change and how it will affect international markets over the next decade and beyond. In a statement just before the conference, Blackrock said that climate change has led them to a “fundamental reshaping of finance” and a complete rethink of its strategy as fossil fuels, among other areas, become riskier. Meanwhile, the IMF announced that the crisis “already endangers health and economic outcomes.” 

Clearly, there is a need for a “better capitalism”, a term widely used at this year’s Davos. Investors and corporations wield huge power and the ability to enact a new approach; however, the question stemming from this year’s Davos is: will they use this power responsibly or not? Or will governments have to step in?

Either way, there’s no denying the financial risks now. This year’s conference has done a good job at highlighting this. In turn, this focus should provide valuable context as we strive for a more sustainable global system. Next year, we will see this area become even more prominent. Sustainable investing will have further grown in importance. 

However, this year the WEF merely talked about the shift towards better investments; it’s time for action to back up the words. This clear takeaway from Davos 2020 helps shape predictions for 2021. Next year, they should be reviewing how far we have shifted, and how this drive for sustainable investing will only increase in the years to come. 

2. Greta vs. Trump

We live in truly bizarre times. This year at Davos, one of the most powerful men in the world, US President Donald Trump, went toe to toe with 17-year-old climate activist and global green icon Greta Thunberg. Who could have predicted this 10 years ago?

Greta’s message to the WEF was clear. The science from the IPCC shows an urgent need to act now and stop emissions. Strong words here: 

“Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy’. We don’t need to ‘lower emissions’. Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

This was followed by three demands:

  • Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction 
  • Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies 
  • Immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels 

Trump hit back by criticising Greta and her fellow activists, ridiculing them and their demands as “prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”. This was then backed up by Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of the Treasury, who highlighted how Greta wasn’t a qualified economist and therefore shouldn’t be commenting on the matter. Clearly, the current leaders in the US aren’t going to move on the issue. 

If a green-focussed Democrat, such as Sanders, Warren or Bloomberg, is elected later this year, this would provide a much stronger platform for further climate action. It could be argued that the upcoming US Presidential election in November is the most important ever. While Trump’s continued climate inaction was one of the key takeaways from Davos 2020, predictions for 2021 depend dramatically on the election’s outcome.

3. The science is brutally clear, and the WEF knows it

In 2018, the IPCC said that the world had a limit of 420 gigatons of carbon to emit if we are to have a 67% chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. This figure is now down to 340 gigatons. As a result, warming over 2.0 degrees is looking more likely than ever before. This is highly distressing, but there is hope. The good news is that this Davos was like no other. Meaningful commitments are finally being made. For example, even the Trump-led US is joining the One Trillion Trees Initiative, which could make a “huge difference if we do it right”. In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, the penny has seemingly (finally) dropped for more leaders than last year, causing perhaps the most sombre mood at the conference in recent memory. However, there is still a very long way to go, and urgent action is needed, but at least there’s no dodging the topic now. The scrutiny has never been higher, largely thanks to the efforts of relentless activism, brilliant scientific research and bold financial moves. 

As we look ahead, we can expect even higher scrutiny and pressure on leaders to back up their words from this year. The calls for sustainable investing, divestment from fossil fuels, better food systems, and innovations in transport will be even stronger. Let us hope that when Davos 2021 comes about, we’ll have seen far more action than words, and stronger, smarter leadership from all countries.  


Fragile Earth: an astronaut’s view from space

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27 December 2019 Sustainability

Have you heard of the “Overview Effect“?

It’s a cognitive shift in awareness reported by many astronauts while viewing the Earth from outer space.

This is how NASA astronaut Rusty Schweickart described his sense of wonder the first time he saw planet Earth from space:

“You realize that on that little blue and white thing there is everything that means anything to you, all history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love, all of it, on that little spot out there you can cover with your thumb.”

Michael Collins, the astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 around the Moon while Neil Armstrong made the first landing on its surface, used these words to describe the Earth:

“The thing that really surprised me was that it projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile“.

We feel the same way: we have to do our best to protect our fragile Earth, for ourselves and for future generations.

At Clim8, we believe that the most efficient way to have an impact is to make sure that our savings are invested in the right companies and technologies that will have a positive impact on the environment.

Help us preserve this beautiful home that we’ve been given – sign up to our waiting list from the link below.


Living sustainably: 4 areas where you can have an impact

Avatar Clim8 Team

20 November 2019 Sustainability

Living sustainably is important. While the climate crisis demands more government action (“top down”), there are some actions that each of us can take, to help reverse climate change (“bottom up”).

The World Economic Forum has recently highlighted some statistics that show the unsustainability of many of our lifestyles. Let’s have a look at what the main issues are and how we can help solve them (spoiler: pay close attention to number 4 !)

How many of these 4 challenges were you already aware of?

#1 Meat production

Did you know that producing red meat generates half of all methane emissions? And these emissions are only forecasted to rise, due to increased demand for beef across the world as the world’s population increases by another 2 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050.

What can Clim8ers do?

Have you ever considered adopting a “flexitarian” diet? A staggering number of people have already adopted a flexitarian diet in the UK and the US, leading to a surge in interest in vegan food and animal-free products.

#2 Lost soil

Soil is being lost 100 times faster than it’s being formed in farming areas. And half the fertile topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. Soil erosion releases carbon into the atmosphere and can also lead to flooding, desertification and pollution – it’s a negative spiral.

What can Clim8ers do?

Reforesting is key – planting trees is definitely one of the best gifts that we can give to ourselves and our children.

#3 Food waste

Food waste generated 10% of human-made greenhouse gas emission from 2010-2016. Astonishing, right? That’s because about 30% of all food produced is not eaten and rotting food produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2.

What can Clim8ers do?

Shop smart: don’t overbuy (3 for 2 offers where you really only need 1) – it will benefit the environment and your finances too!

Keep your fridge clutter-free: an overly filled fridge will make it difficult to see food and know when products are expiring.

Store food properly: to avoid food spoilage. Did you know, for example, that tomatoes and cucumbers should not be refrigerated?

#4 Exploitation of land

Humans are impacting the land and causing a quarter of the land to degrade. 37% of all human-made emissions come from our use of land, including forestry, farming and food production.

What can Clim8ers do?

Living sustainably is important, but investing sustainably is even more crucial. There are companies that continue to exploit the earth and others that are trying to fix the urgent environmental issues we are all facing. With Clim8, we’re giving everyone the opportunity to make an impact with their savings by investing in these sustainable companies. If you want to be part of this movement and make a difference, join our waitlist today with the link below.

There is still hope for our planet, but we have to act fast. Will you be part of the solution or the problem?

Count me in!