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What the future holds for green tech entrepreneurs

Green technology applications ranging from renewable energy to environmentally friendly cleaning supplies have manifested in different shapes and forms over the past two decades. From developing new materials with better environmental performance to treating household waste, all the way to sustainable agriculture, there are eco-friendly opportunities abound. To better understand how to enter this growing pace, it is worth taking a closer look at what motivates different stakeholders within it.

Why companies are going green

While reducing their negative footprint on the environment, businesses stand to reap significant benefits. Companies can trim down their operating costs in a few simple ways such as installing sensors to turn off lights when people are not around in bathrooms and kitchen areas, using reusable ink cartridges to save cost as well as decrease plastic waste, and printing less paper. Furthermore, businesses are demonstrating an interest in decarbonizing the economy to keep global temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures[1]. Large scale companies including Kellogg, fast food chain McDonald’s and retailers Target and Walmart are part of this initiative and sight brand reputation as their primary benefit. In addition, big corporate companies such as General Motors buy clean power to hedge against investment risks associated with the volatile gas and fuel markets. In areas such as energy and transportation corporations have an incentive to go green. Corporate partnerships are crucial to green tech startups. Entrepreneurs offer companies access to cutting-edge technology while taking advantage of the opportunity to scale up and make a significant impact.

How states and countries are opening their doors to green tech

Tech startups interested in renewable energy should carefully follow which countries or states are passing legislation that supports renewable energy. For example, California, the fifth largest economy in the world, recently passed a bill setting a target of 60% electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and obtaining 100% of its power from clean sources by 2045.[2] The sources for California’s renewable energy will include solar, wind, ocean waves, and small hydropower among others. Green tech entrepreneurs might also consider looking at countries with robust manufacturing, such as Germany or China, who may be interested in developing local manufacturing for renewable technology.[3] Last, startups in this space should not discount third world countries. There is a common myth that third world countries do not have the grid to sustain renewable energy. However, regardless of the type of energy, countries such as South Africa need new infrastructures, and it would be better to invest in renewable energy infrastructures over old technologies.

What the future holds

Believe it or not, green tech has even expanded into space. In just four years, we are expecting to witness the launch of MethaneSAT, a satellite designed to precisely map and measure methane emissions on nearly every spot on the planet.[4] Because man-made methane emissions account for a quarter of global warming, scientists believe the most cost effective way to slow it down could be reducing industrial emissions. By measuring methane emissions accurately, MethaneSAT’s freely accessible data will allow countries, businesses and lay people to identify issues as well as opportunities for emission reduction.

The future is here and it is green. Decarbonization commitments from corporations and countries along with new innovations are creating an exciting shift in the green tech market that startups can capitalize on in a big way.

[1] The World's Biggest Companies Are Set To Decarbonize Their Products/Forbes

[2] California Pledges 100% Clean Electricity by 2045/Time

[3] The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy/ Harvard Business Review

[4] How technology is leading us to new climate change solutions/World economic Forum