We are living in a world in which climate change is dominating every part of what we do. We are being encouraged to use electric cars, eat less meat and even think about where we are buying our goods. As a result, industries - some reluctantly - are also having to adapt to meet our changing needs. Startup land has transformed dramatically since its conception, for better or worse.
How climate change has affected startups
We all know the devastating effects the climate crisis is having around the world, creating forest fires, damaging homes and livelihoods, and increasingly more and more storms in strange months of the year. Businesses are being affected too.
Unpredictable and extreme weather patterns have made international shipping more dangerous, causing delays and forcing businesses to rethink how they make their goods. In some cases, prices for goods have skyrocketed, even for companies not in the energy industry.
Most importantly of all, however, is the dramatic change in consumer behaviour. Activists like Greta Thunberg and scientists around the world have brought to our attention the effects that what we buy can have on the environment around us. Companies that outsource their manufacturing to large factories in China are experiencing consumer losses as people turn to more sustainable companies. This is where startups come in.
Some of the biggest and most successful startups have a significant focus on tackling climate change. Second-hand apps such as Vinted and DePop are increasingly popular with younger people turning away from fast fashion. Tech startups are also putting their energy into battling climate change. For example, Airex, a London based company, was formed to help reduce heat demand in homes and increase the quality of indoor air.
Most successful sustainable companies
Believe it or not, tech startups are some of the most sustainable companies in the UK, paving the way for more climate efficient ways of working.
- Ecoping - Gives businesses tools to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
- Treeconomy - Finds ways of valuing natural capital to fight biodiversity loss.
- Worthmore - Recycles, refurbishes and resells old smartphones and donates money to charities!
- Paboco - Creates paper bottles that are 100% bio-based.
- IADYS - Uses AI to support marine environmental protection.
You don’t need to rethink your entire startup model to have less impact on the planet. Making small changes in your business and even the way you work as a founder can have a significant positive impact. Walk to work instead of taking your car, question whether you really need the heating on in the office (especially as we approach summer) and encourage your consumers to think about their impact on the planet too.
And if you’re wondering why you should care about climate change, well, it’s likely your consumers care about it and as the old saying goes: the customer is always right.