News / Tech

Bristol scale-ups join world-first Net Zero programme

By ellie pipe, Monday Sep 14, 2020

LettUs Grow and Ecologi have been selected among 30 of the UK’s most promising scale-ups at the forefront of work to achieve a net zero future.

The Bristol firms will join a government-backed programme designed to accelerate growth and innovation across a range of sectors to support a greener, more sustainable, carbon neutral economy.

The world-first initiative is led by Tech Nation, which just published a report revealing that the UK is the European leader in terms of the number of net zero companies, with 323 firms. Of these, 37 per cent are at an early stage of growth showing what experts are calling an impressive pipeline for the sector.

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Working with a cohort of companies selected for their contributions in helping Britain realise its goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the programme will include quantifying sustainability, navigating the regulatory landscape, and how to internationalise a net zero business.

LettUs Grow, an aeroponic technology company based in Brislington, has already attracted plenty of attention for its innovative vertical farming techniques. Co-founder and CEO Charlie Guy says the company’s values are reflected in the new Net Zero programme.

“We think business needs to play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change,” said Charlie.

“Sustainability in business must be celebrated and embraced, not seen as a sacrifice. By making the most environmentally-friendly option better and more efficient than its non-sustainable counterparts, we can drive adoption and tackle these issues faster.”

Announced in business secretary Alok Sharma’s speech during London Tech Week, the programme comes amid increasing pressure from environmentalists and union leaders for the government to invest in green jobs and infrastructure.

Elliot Coad is one of three Bristol friends who co-founded Ecologi, which acts as is a subscription service for carbon consumption. He said: “Green tech comes with its own challenges; it’s such a great opportunity to work together on these and push through. With climate matters, time is of the essence!”

The programme, which is supported by BNP Paribas, aims to boost the collective mobilisation of clean tech solutions, which are seen as a vital part of accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.

Companies were selected from 149 applicants and include businesses focussed on building electric vehicles, creating animal-free dairy products, measuring environmental footprints, and improving manufacturing and recycling supply chains.

Speaking about the initiative, Gerard Grech, Tech Nation’s chief executive, said: “The UK’s Net Zero sector already leads Europe for venture capital investment, at £336m, and is home to 323 tech companies that are working hard to reduce carbon emissions globally.

“Scaling such businesses can be hard, which is why we are delighted to launch a new programme focused on businesses at this stage of growth from all over the UK, especially given the impact they will have on climate change and their drive towards a net zero economy.”

Programme lead Zheela Qaiser added: “All 149 applications we received for the Net Zero programme were excellent, showcasing the richness of solutions that small teams of innovators are working on to help us make monumental changes to the way our human world and systems impact our planet.”

Main photo courtesy of LettUs Grow

Read more: Bristol’s Anthropology and Technology Conference goes virtual for 2020

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