cleantech news march 2021

The cleantech news that caught our eye in March

Cleantech News 1 – The UK scraps its flagship green homes grant only six months after its launch

What’s happened?

On Saturday 27th March, the UK Government announced that it would close applications for the green homes grant scheme at the end of the month, just six months after its launch. The £2bn programme offered households grants of up to £5,000 or £10,000 to install insulation or low-carbon heating and should have created green jobs to help the British economy recover from the pandemic.

This decision doesn’t look good for the UK, as it leaves the country without a concrete plan for tackling one of its biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions just seven months before hosting COP26. Britain’s inefficient, leaky homes currently account for a fifth of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions, which could jeopardise the government’s plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why should cleantech businesses be paying attention?

Unsurprisingly, this is a heavy blow for the environmental sector, as homeowners are less likely to turn to energy-efficient solutions for their homes without government support. The decision also threatens jobs in the energy sector, with Solar Energy UK warning that we could see job losses in installation companies who would have invested in staff to meet the strong demand for solar thermal technology.

However, there is a silver lining to this whole situation. With COP26 on the horizon, pressure from environmental and industry groups on the government will only increase. It’s the perfect timing for cleantech businesses to be proactive in their communications and become a voice of authority in their industry. By showing how your business can help the UK meet its climate targets, you’ll draw attention to your company and attract customers. The options are endless: boost your media recognition, produce thought leadership articles or partner with other organisations to strengthen your community and amplify your collective voice.

It’s also the right time to revise your messaging. If the environmental angle doesn’t resonate with all your audiences, you can focus on other key differentiators, such as efficiency or financial gains.

Cleantech News 2 – UK’s plastic waste treatment comes under fire… again

What’s happened?

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that an average of 11% of waste collected for recycling is actually incinerated, with a direct correlation between low recycling rates and regions with strict incineration contracts.

This is not the first time that the UK’s recycling system has come under fire (no pun intended). Last year, an investigation led by The Conversation suggested that a large part of the plastic sent to so-called ‘recycling companies’ would only be sorted before being sold towards unknown destinations. Furthermore, the UK’s recycling rates have been stagnating at around 45% since 2017. The pandemic has worsened the situation, with nearly half of recycling facilities reducing or halting treatment last April.

Why should cleantech businesses be paying attention?

Recycling is one of the most popular environmentally-friendly habits, with 87% of householders claiming to do so regularly. Trust in the recycling system’s efficiency is crucial in maintaining those habits, so efforts are clearly needed to improve the entire waste treatment process.

It’s been repeatedly shown that recycling alone cannot solve our plastic predicament. While recycling has often been portrayed as the silver bullet solution, pressure is now being put on the government to consider alternative and complementary solutions. If you are a cleantech company dedicated to halting plastic waste pollution, now is your time to shine. Boost your PR activities by proactively contacting journalists and communicate your ongoing projects. Look for like-minded partners in the industry and explore how you can work together to strengthen your offering. You could also educate mainstream audiences about your technology and explain why it can be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Cleantech News 3 – Cleantech investment just received a major shot in the arm

What’s happened?

BlackRock and the Vanguard Group, the world’s two largest asset managers, have joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, a group of investors committed to a net-zero emissions portfolio. The initiative asks its members to pledge to achieve net-zero emissions across their investment portfolio by 2050, plus establish a 2030 target consistent with global climate goals within 12 months of signing up to the alliance.

BlackRock and the Vanguard Group manage a combined $14 trillion in assets, meaning that the two firms will now account for nearly half of the $32 trillion of total assets supporting the initiative.

Why should cleantech businesses be paying attention?

There’s a reason why we keep on talking about the importance of communications when raising investment. Each month, we see more and more announcements about leading asset management companies or venture capitals backing green finance and clean technologies.

While financial return remains the main driver for investors, it’s a no brainer that environmental and societal benefits are growing in importance. To attract these investors, cleantech start-ups need to revise all their communications material to make sure it speaks to the right audience. You should start with your brand, messaging and website, which need to clearly convey your vision and impact.

And a last piece of news just announced…

President Biden has announced a US$2 trillion plan to rejuvenate crumbling US infrastructure and make it more robust to extreme weather events. The mammoth plan includes boosting investment in clean energy, electric vehicles and building resilient housing. Among the many proposals, tax incentives will allow “all Americans to afford electric vehicles”, US$100bn will go towards upgrading the country’s electricity grid, while US$200bn has been committed to building, modernising and fortifying housing for low-income people affected by the effects of climate change.

The ambitious plan is likely to face resistance from the Republican party. Still, it is good news for the American cleantech industry and lays down a clear roadmap for decarbonising one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

While none of the announced measures are revolutionary – most of them have already been implemented in Europe – one crucial aspect is that 40% of the planned spending will be aimed at vulnerable communities of colour. We discussed this point in our recent panel discussion, as clean technologies can only truly be impactful if they benefit the people most affected by the effects of climate change as a priority. As a cleantech company, how are you ensuring that all your stakeholders have a seat at the table?

Do you need help communicating your vision and story? We build market-leading brands that lead to global recognition and catch investors’ attention. Email us today to book a free consultation and see how we can help!

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