Sustainability/Innovation approaches for benchmarking
For this benchmarking the focus is on solution providers, but where relevant it includes those that have no sustainability work today and those with only a traditional ESG/CSR climate risk agenda.
Companies can be in many different positions in the matrix, and within a company different parts of the company can be in different positions. The benchmarkings are just to provide some general guidance.
1. No Sustainability or Human need driven Innovation
This group of companies does not have any explicit sustainability goals, or any specific role defined. Among large transnational companies this often mean they are part of the problem. Among start-ups there are many exciting solution providers in this group, especially in deep tech where they provide significant solutions but without being driven by sustainability or human needs.
2. ESG/Climate Risk Innovation (Scope 1-3)
These are the companies that only have a reduction agenda. While a few have goals and specific sales strategy based on avoided emissions, many companies have a role as solution providers even if they officially are only in the climate risk/reduction category.
3. Climate Opportunity Innovation 1.0
Climate Opportunity Innovation 1.0 include solution driven companies with a focus on product substitution with more sustainable materials that help avoid emissions, but without a strategy to support a 1.5 C strategy. Most companies in this category provide materials such as low-carbon forest products, protein, and steel. However, in an unsustainable and resource intensive society product substitution agenda is not enough for global sustainability. The challenge with product substitution approach is that it does not support a fast enough transition to ensure a 1.5C development path. In addition, it does not address the need for much more resource efficient and non-polluting solutions that can provide a future with 11 billion living flourishing lives.
Without a system and societal perspective, the low-carbon materials often end up as part of the problem, such as fossil free steel building oil platforms.
4. Climate Opportunity 2.0
Climate Opportunity Innovation 2.0 include companies that deliver enabling services and system solutions, such as a provider that supports a system with solar panels, batteries, and vehicles/utilities using the electricity captured by solar panels and stored in the batteries. Such solutions can be an important part of globally sustainable solutions, but only if business models also change, e.g. moving away from personal car ownership to access to mobility.
Climate Opportunity 2.0 also include business models consultants, digital consultants, law firms, PR-agencies, and other enabling stakeholders that focus on enabling sustainable solutions in society. Such solutions can be an important part of globally sustainable solutions, but often they are also accelerating unsustainable solutions as well.
5. Climate Solution Opportunity 3.0
Climate Opportunity Innovation 3.0 companies are usually companies that move beyond simple product substitution and enabling to add a 1.5C strategy. Instead of single solutions with materials an enabling these companies have a 1.5 C strategy where system transformation is an integrated part of the work.
6. Climate Solution Opportunity 4.0
Climate Opportunity Innovation 4.0 companies are at the forefront of global sustainability. These companies, often operating in clusters, have a full global sustainability strategy with the goal to ensure a future where 11 billion people can live flourishing lives. Instead of a narrow focus on climate change these companies/ clusters also include other sustainability concerns and move beyond the SDGs, and support concepts such as half-earth.
7. Climate Solution Opportunity 5.0
There is also a new approach emerging that is outside the matrix. This focus is on exploring on how improving flourishing lives beyond just providing for what is needed for physical survival and pleasure. New frontiers in science and art are explored. This approach also focuses on the long-term survival of civilisation by addressing existential risks.