Bolder Climate Action - 3 Ideas to Pursue Now

November 25, 2021

When Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon delivered the Speech from the Throne this week, I related to it in a way I hadn’t in the past. The speech lays out the new government’s mandate to open the new session of Parliament. This version put climate change front and centre, mincing no words.

"Our Earth is in danger. From a warming Arctic to the increasing devastation of natural disasters, our land and our people need help. We must move talk into action and adapt where we must. We cannot afford to wait."

I couldn't agree more. So if we’re talking about bolder climate action now, let’s get specific. Here are three things we must do today to ensure our precious planet’s tomorrow:

1) Help industry find the right climate solutions

Achieving ambitious emissions targets is going to require massive changes in industry. It’s been said that half of the innovations required to achieve net zero have not even been developed yet.  We need to better connect industry with innovators. Foresight’s Challenge programs do just that - industry leaders outline their needs in reverse pitches and on an open source platform. Innovators pitch their solutions without the usual obstacles of getting in front of corporate customers.  We need more Industry Challenges, and more support like our Pilot program to help entrepreneurs run successful industry pilot tests. By validating in a commercial environment, they are better positioned to rapidly scale but this comes with risk and cost. The result is a higher probability of a successful match between problem and technology, and an accelerated path to net zero.

2) Connect cleantech innovators with capital

Foresight has worked with 750+ ventures and we hear one message consistently: we need access to capital to grow, scale, and tap into global markets. We need to rapidly commercialize Canadian climate solutions, and that takes capital. We have just unveiled the Foresight 50, recognizing Canada’s most investable cleantech ventures. This is an amazing group of innovators. We’re making it easy for impact investors to find climate solutions to support. We also support ventures raising capital through our Investor Readiness program, but need more federal incentives for investing in cleantech. With more than $100 trillion in climate capital available globally, let’s lean in and showcase Canada as the place to invest - today!

3) Support the growth of cleantech scale-ups

Canada does a good job of supporting startups, but how about the next stage when ventures need to rapidly scale and expand into global markets? Foresight pioneered support for cleantech scale-ups two years ago and the results speak for themselves: 31 companies generated revenue of $220+M, raised $429M in capital (as of August 31), and created close to 600 jobs. We’re ramping up Canada’s Cleantech Scale-up Program by collaborating with partners across Canada to provide a mix of progressive, venture-driven supports to cleantech ventures across the country. This is the type of bold action we need to position Canada as a global leader in cleantech - with domestic adoption and international scale.

We are influential and accountable together. There is no reason to wait for 2030.  Let’s commit to change - today!  

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Photo by Blair Gable/Pool/AFP via Getty Images