New report calls for urgent action to accelerate pace of investment in Irish Climate Tech

18 January, 2023

  • 36 Irish innovative Climate Tech companies highlighted in the report show the potential for Ireland as a global leader in climate technology.  
  • Ireland can learn from Denmark’s approach to public, private and academic partnership which has helped halve CO2 emissions.

‘The Irish Climate Tech Opportunity 2023’ report published today by PwC and SustainabilityWorks, reveals a growing confidence in the Irish Climate Tech sector but warns that urgent actions are needed to support Ireland’s Climate Tech sector if it is to scale and deploy solutions that will enable Ireland and other global markets to meet net-zero targets by 2050. Climate Tech is defined as technologies that are explicitly focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions or addressing the impacts of climate change.

Pictured (l-r): Mark Christal, Divisional Manager for Food & Sustainability, Enterprise Ireland; Aideen O’Hora, Co-Founder, SustainabilityWorks; Laura Heuston, Co-Founder, SustainabilityWorks and David McGee, Leader, PwC Ireland ESG Practice.

The report highlights 36 innovative Climate Tech companies, confirming a thriving and dynamic Climate Tech sector in Ireland with a track record of success. The combination of market opportunities, supportive policy and research as well as the availability of capital has allowed an innovation ecosystem to emerge in Ireland, but the report highlights the need for further action.  

Ireland can learn from Denmark

One country that Ireland can learn from is Denmark. Denmark’s ‘State of Green’ initiative has created a strong identity and brand in Climate Tech innovation, seamlessly connecting entrepreneurs, corporates, regulators and investors. Since 1996, Denmark has more than halved its CO2 emissions which puts paid to the myth that economic growth requires a corresponding increase in energy use and associated emissions.

More global funds targeting climate tech

Global trends are positive, showing that more investment in Climate Tech that will cut greenhouse emissions is expected. PwC’s latest global State of Climate Tech report reveals encouraging signs that investors, policymakers and other stakeholders remain eager to accelerate Climate Tech development, despite the declining venture capital market. For example, the report highlights that Climate Tech investment makes up an increasing share of global venture capital funding  - with more than a quarter of every global venture capital dollar going into Climate Tech in the 12 months to Q3 2022.

Urgent actions for a supportive ecosystem

A supportive ecosystem will be key to the success of Ireland’s Climate Tech sector. Specifically, the report calls for three urgent actions to accelerate the pace of innovation in Ireland’s Climate Tech sector: 

  1. A one-stop-shop to foster greater interaction and innovation: Initiated by the Government of Ireland but supported by the private sector, Ireland needs an equivalent of the initiative of the Danish Government, “State of Green”. To bring the opportunity to the next level, this would create a one-stop-shop for the entire Irish Climate Tech ecosystem, allowing entrepreneurs, regulators and investors to come together while providing a showcase for customers.
  2. Stronger demand signals: To create greater urgency, there needs to be stronger signals to the market to act now. This includes both stronger government signals through climate and carbon policies, incentives and green procurement as well as companies developing plans to act on their decarbonisation commitments.
  3. More capital: The sector in Ireland needs unhindered capital flows of all types. This includes more public and private capital that is both long and short term in nature.

David McGee, Leader, PwC Ireland ESG Practice and co-author of the report commented: “The report concludes that while Ireland’s Climate Tech ecosystem is a hotbed of activity with lots of innovation, there is potential to do more. But this needs significant investment. As society continues to grapple with how to halve emissions by 2030, more investment is needed into the Irish Climate Tech sector – not just at the top level, but with better spread across sectors and solutions, across different start-up sizes and across different technological maturity levels. This includes nurturing development opportunities in offshore renewable energy and the decarbonisation of heat as well as transition technologies, such as carbon capture ready to scale up.”

Aideen O’Hora, Director, SustainabilityWorks and co-author of the report commented: “As a leading innovation hub, Ireland knows how to create supportive ecosystems and partnerships that can incubate and accelerate innovation. This report includes a snapshot of 36 Irish Climate Tech companies who are leading examples of a vibrant and extensive sector. But if this sector is to survive and thrive, more focused policy, initiatives and funding are needed. The urgency of the climate crisis means that more must be done and at an accelerated pace so that Ireland’s Climate Tech sector can flourish and fully leverage its potential. The urgency of climate change means it is now or never. If Ireland truly wants to be part of the Climate Tech innovation wave, the time is now.”

Commenting on the publication of the report, Mark Christal, Divisional Manager for Food and Sustainability, Enterprise Ireland, said: “This report provides an insight into the thriving climate tech ecosystem in Ireland and the strength of the dynamic Irish companies operating in this sector, which are providing innovative solutions and technologies. 

“This report also highlights the opportunities that exist for these Irish companies across a range of sectors and how they can contribute to the whole of society challenge of reducing our emissions and decarbonisation.

“Sustainability is a key pillar in Enterprise Ireland’s strategy Leading in a Changing World 2022-2024, and we are working with companies across all sectors to achieve the targets set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan, with a range of supports available to assist Irish enterprises on their decarbonisation journeys.”

David McGee concluded: “In the face of its first real test over the past decade, investment in Climate Tech innovation has shown encouraging resilience. Despite a background of a war, inflation and a sharp correction in the capital markets, our research highlights that investors are optimistic and this also presents great opportunities for Ireland’s many innovative Climate Tech start-ups. The task is to build on momentum, with more attention on early stage funding and further boosting technologies with the highest potential for reducing emissions.”

About PwC and SustainabilityWorks 

Report ‘The Climate Tech Opportunity in Ireland 2023’ Link to report:

SustainabilityWorks and PwC Ireland’s report ‘The Climate Tech Opportunity in Ireland 2023’ analyses the progress of climate tech investment in this country. It concludes that while much work is being done with great success, more accelerated action and investment is required to meet Ireland’s urgent climate change targets.  

The report profiles 36 innovative Climate Tech companies: Biowave Technologies, MyGug, XOCEAN, Green Rebel, SuperNode, ElectroRoute, EnergyCloud, Fincovi (now SkySpecs), GlasPort Bio, Hexafly, MagrowTec, The Nature Trust, Positive Carbon, Senoptica Technologies, Dowmann, FoodCloud, CoolPlanet, Paltech, AMCS, Verifact, VorTech Water Solutions, ActionZero, Ecocem, The ZeroNet, Sensi, Symphony Energy, KelTech IoE,  SMART FLOW, Terratonics, Concrete4Change, BERWOW, Gamma, RetroKit, Cityswift, EVE and Ohme.

Examples of Climate Tech innovations undertaken by Irish companies identified in the report:

Renewable energy - Opportunities for innovation include measures that support the proliferation of renewable energy across the supply chain, including load balancing (storage), supply-demand balancing mechanisms and enabling data collection technologies.

Construction methods within the Built environment - Opportunities for innovation include efficient construction methods, with an emphasis on ease to construct and reduced waste on-site (in particular, modular construction, 3D printing and imagery/computing).

Value chain management within food, agriculture and land use - Opportunities for innovation include any activity associated with reduced GHG emissions in food supply chains from production to consumption (such as eliminating spoilage).

Efficient transport systems - Opportunities for innovation include vehicle sensors, journey optimisation and planning, predictive maintenance, systems to manage traffic and other urban planning improvements.

Energy and resource efficient processes within industry, manufacturing and resource management - Opportunities for innovation include activities and actions to reduce, reuse or manage waste in manufacturing. 

About SustainabilityWorks (SW) 

SustainabilityWorks is a boutique, multi-disciplinary consulting firm that offers a unique blend of skills in corporate sustainability strategy, sustainable finance, and climate innovation. They bring together financial, business, and communications know-how to create solutions that unlock opportunity and mobilise action to accelerate Ireland’s shift to a sustainable future. The three founders, Aideen O’Hora, Karen Deignan and Laura Heuston, each have extensive experience in developing and implementing sustainability strategies and projects across different industries and different organisation types.

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Johanna Dehaene

Corporate Communications, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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