Tech Nation, the UK’s leading growth platform for tech scaleups, today announces the 32 climate tech companies who have been accepted into Net Zero 2.0 - the second iteration of the Net Zero programme.
Net Zero 2.0 is the first government-backed programme designed to support the most promising climate tech companies to accelerate the UK’s path to net zero. This year’s successful companies were assessed by 40 judges across key industries. These included climate specialists, investors and senior representatives from companies such as Google, National Grid, Sky Ocean, Bulb and B Corp, including Hayden Wood, CEO and Founder at Bulb, Azeem Azhar, Founder of the Exponential View, and Pippa Gawley, Founder & Director of Zero Carbon Capital.
Companies were judged based on their scalability and potential to help the UK reach its high-priority net zero goal. The chosen companies are actively decarbonising key sectors across energy and electricity, transport, buildings and cities, and agriculture. Carbon removals and space-tech are two emerging focus areas this year in the race to zero.
With 40% of emissions reductions reliant on technologies not yet at mass-market scale, it is imperative to support the growth of these companies. In the run-up to COP26, the Net Zero programme aims to help realise these vital tech companies’ potential to drastically reduce global emissions. Every company in Net Zero 2.0 will be given unparalleled access to long-term investment opportunities, education, talent, exposure and a platform with which to influence green policies and create the optimum conditions for growth.
The UK leads the way in Europe for its number of climate tech companies
New data from Tech Nation and Dealroom has revealed there are 519 Net Zero startups and scaleups in the UK, nearly double the number than in France (270) and 63% more than in Germany (318).
With its Net Zero 1.0 cohort and new Net Zero 2.0 cohort, Tech Nation has now supported the growth of 13% of the UK’s climate tech companies in total, who are leading the race to net zero and disrupting the status quo.
41% of the companies in the Net Zero 2.0 cohort have at least one female founder and 63% are headquartered outside of London.
Space tech is gaining momentum in the race to net zero
For the first time, Net Zero is welcoming space tech companies into the programme. Satellite imaging is a way of observing large areas from space to rapidly identify illegal activities (deforestation, mining), monitor supply chains, and verify nature-based solutions (such as carbon offsetting). This type of technology is gaining traction rapidly as countries across the world look for innovative ways to combat climate change and as multinationals seek to achieve their recently set net zero goals.
Edinburgh-based Earth Blox is using satellite data to identify deforestation or mining activities and monitor supply chains and support nature-based solutions, while London-based Sylvera is the world’s first carbon offset ratings provider, using machine learning and satellite data to verify the carbon offsetting industry. London-based Satellite Vu is the world’s first satellite constellation capable of measuring the thermal footprint of any building on the planet every 1-2 hours, helping to drastically increase the energy efficiency of buildings, factories and power stations around the world.
The emergence of carbon removals and offsetting
While the majority of the Net Zero 2.0 companies are helping to reduce carbon emissions, companies in this year’s cohort are also using carbon capture technologies and other forms of carbon removal to physically remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Carbon Infinity is creating cost effective and modular direct air capture (DAC) technology, which removes carbon dioxide directly from the air, while Supercritical are accelerating the growth and prominence of the carbon removals sector, by building the UK’s first marketplace of carbon removal projects for tech companies. Alongside this, Bx Earth is focused on carbon removal through carbon sequestration in soil. The company is connecting food growers who can store carbon in the soil with corporations looking for verified carbon offsets, simultaneously incentivising growers to practice climate-smart agriculture.
At such an early stage in tech, carbon removal, particularly DAC, will require a huge amount of funding and investment to reach its full potential, and this is a need the Net Zero growth programme is aiming to facilitate.
The number of B2C climate tech companies is growing
Another trend in these up-and-coming climate tech businesses is their increased availability to consumers as well as businesses. Over a third (11) of the companies in Net Zero 2.0 offer services to consumers.
Leeds-based Tred is the UK’s first sustainable challenger bank measuring the carbon intensity of its customers’ purchases, making it easy for customers to track, reduce and offset their carbon footprint. Within the energy sector, London-based Ripple enables people (and businesses) to partially own large-scale wind farms and have the green electricity they produce supplied to them via the grid, while Solivus enables consumers to generate their own local, green energy through new solar technology. Within the washing sector, South East-based, Oxwash are the first truly sustainable 'Space Age' laundry company in the world. Their aim is for zero net carbon emissions throughout the whole laundry process.
Empowering all of these climate tech scaleups is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission. Tech Nation is also proud to be a founding member of the Tech Zero Taskforce, whose Tech Zero Pledge has recently reached 150 signatories, and have committed to reducing and measuring their own carbon emissions - as well as publishing these in an annual Sustainability Report.
Tech Nation is pleased to announce that BNPP will be returning as headline partner for Net Zero. We also welcome Sage as our programme partner for this year's Net Zero programme.
Sammy Fry, Net Zero Lead at Tech Nation, said: “With Europe recording its highest ever temperature on record this Summer, and the latest IPCC report published last month, there isn’t a more urgent time to take climate action. Every successful climate tech company is another step towards decarbonising the world. I’m proud to say that in the run up to COP26, our pioneering Net Zero growth programme gives these revolutionary, high-impact scale-ups the access they need to investors, insights, education, networks and practical support, enabling the UK to lead our transition to a green economy as quickly as possible.”
Gerard Grech, Founding CEO of Tech Nation and Founding Member of the Tech Zero Taskforce, said: “Climate tech is playing an enormous role in reducing carbon emissions. Technology that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either directly or indirectly, across all sectors of society is in hot demand. But with 40% of emissions reductions reliant on technologies not yet at mass-market scale, there is huge potential still to be realised. With these companies needing to scale further and faster than any other technology has before to meet the demand, we are committed to doing all we can at Tech Nation to support and accelerate the growth of the UK’s climate tech scaleups.”
Andrew Griffith MP, UK Net Zero Business Champion, said: “Reaching net zero emissions is not only a global priority; it is essential for the UK's future prosperity and competitiveness. Supporting climate tech companies to grow and encouraging all businesses to join the UN’s Race to Zero is core to our government’s ambitions, and we are excited to continue empowering the climate tech scaleups who are working to create a greener future for us all.”
Anne Marie Verstraeten, BNP Paribas UK Country Head, comments: “Driving innovation towards the net zero transition requires a new scale of knowledge sharing, engagement across sectors and critically financial sector mobilisation. During this important year of climate action with COP26 in the UK, through the launch of Net Zero 2.0, we are looking forward to collaborating with these leading start-ups on accelerating the transition to a greener economy”
Paul Struthers, Managing Director, UKI, Sage, said: “To tackle the climate crisis and protect the planet, we are taking action to address our own environmental impact and supporting SMBs to make it easier for them to do the same. Partnering with Tech Nation on its latest Net Zero programme allows us to support a generation of high growth tech businesses that will not only innovate to tackle the climate crisis, but also provide UK SMBs – who see sustainability as a big priority – with solutions to reduce their own carbon emissions.”