Creating impact: how an innovative approach helped speed up the adoption of climate solutions

Creating impact: how an innovative approach helped speed up the adoption of climate solutions

The first phase of Mission from MaRS provided targeted support for 10 Climate Champions. Here are some of the key insights learned.

The opportunity to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees by 2100 is closing rapidly. The COP27 conference in Egypt in November yielded little in the way of meaningful progress, while global emissions from fossil fuels reached a record high in 2022. To reverse warming, we need to invest in massive and far-reaching energy-transition solutions in every facet of the economy: agriculture, buildings, industry and natural resources.

This transition presents an incredible investment opportunity. A recent report from BloombergNEF estimates it could total almost $200 trillion by 2050, or nearly $7 trillion a year. But to achieve mass adoption of climate solutions in all these sectors requires more than just funding.

“Climate innovation without adoption is a dead end — no matter how much money you throw at the climate problems,” explains Tyler Hamilton, who leads the MfM program. “Adoption will not happen at the scale required unless we do a better job of engaging and collaborating with the broader ecosystem, particularly large industry and government organizations that represent the lion’s share of global emissions, and which have net-zero targets they need to achieve.”

Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge brought an innovative approach to cleantech acceleration. It identified several scalable climate technologies at various stages of development and commercialization, and then focused on the constellation of conditions required to scale their technologies. MaRS selected 10 companies whose potentially transformational technologies are aimed at sectors that generate large quantities of carbon: forestry, transportation, real estate, and electrical utilities.

These technologies are disruptive to incumbents, from private sector firms to government agencies. As such, they can only begin to gain traction by overcoming both systemic and commercial barriers. The MfM program sought to support the 10 ventures’ growth plans by assembling coalitions — groups of individuals drawn from academic, industry, government, the investment community and non-profit organizations — that could provide critical feedback, serve as a sounding board as well as identify key clients, funders and policy-makers to address barriers to adoption. The goal was to provide the ventures with a high degree of support as they moved from technological innovation to full commercialization.

The program resulted in several key outcomes:

  • Establishing a first-of-its-kind municipal procurement strategy aimed at purchasing cleantech services and products from the 10 participating ventures.
  • Enabling the creation of a corporate climate accelerator in partnership with KPMG Canada.
  • Supporting three ventures through acquisition and/or strategic partner processes that will scale their technologies.
  • Raising $42 million in investment capital and generating $27 million in new revenues.
  • Providing all 10 ventures with insights on pursuing new markets, honing marketing messages and advancing policy reforms geared at enabling cleantech adoption.


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