London Tech Week – the showcase of all things innovative – is back. Each day this week, Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates boss Russ Shaw CBE will write for us reflecting on the jamboree. Here’s day two.
As the Prime Minister and President Biden meet to discuss climate action at the United Nations in New York today, environment has also been at the top of the agenda on Day Two of London Tech Week.
After a second day of festivities in the capital, today was a day to delve into the climate crisis and most importantly, the solutions the tech sector has to the most pressing issue of our times.
The day was underpinned by the ClimateTech Summit. We heard from Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and Energy as well as a host of founders, researchers and disruptors who are poised to be on the frontline of our climate crisis.
A particularly poignant analysis came from Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder of OLIO, the app that is tackling food waste – “I believe that there will be no greater returns than saving humanity.”
It seems straightforward, but I couldn’t agree more.
We are seeing start-ups, big corporations, NGOs and governments united in their efforts to truly turn the tide on the forecast for our planet. As we all know, this is a global venture – and a vibrant digital sector can be at the forefront of identifying potential solutions.
Technology is a great enabler that allows us to make a net zero carbon footprint a reality. Inspiring talent from the global tech ecosystem can deliver genuine impact. Undertaking the mammoth task of addressing the climate crisis will require us to embrace new technologies, rethink the way we use data, measure and track results and build a sector culture rooted in sustainability.
For me, the significance of having these events during London Tech Week demonstrates that London startups and scaleups have a critical role to play in terms of providing relevant solutions. Support for these businesses must be underpinned by impact financing. It is great to see that the level of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investment in the UK keeps growing, but much more green funding will be required.
Today we have heard about autonomous vehicles transforming the way we move around, the technology behind cleaning up our oceans and addressing food waste. It is abundantly clear that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here but be prepared to rollout on a significant scale.
At Global Tech Advocates we have been spotlighting the startups that are already making a real difference. Looking through an international lens, we find that although each tech hub has its unique net zero and climate tech issues, we do share common ground, from tech hubs in Bogotá, the SF Bay Area, and Toronto to Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore.
The good news is that a fair amount of the technology we will need already largely exists. But we do need to get better at applying these existing technologies in ways that will make a difference and help startups secure the funding they need to scale.
As we gear up for COP26, we will continue to make the case for tech as a guiding light to achieving net zero. Garry Bernstein, lead of Tech Scotland Advocates, also gave us a preview of how Glasgow will be welcoming everyone – we’re delighted to be able to showcase our grassroots community there.
From hosting the G7 Summit to the fast-approaching COP26 in late October, the UK is establishing itself as an important global leader in the race to net zero. It is great to see this mission highlighted during London Tech Week, but we there is clearly much more work to do – collaborating with other tech hubs and regions should make our collective task a more straightforward one.