Startup Climate Action – COVID-19 Recovery Through a Sustainability Lens
June 5, 2020 | Miranda Burton
Put the ‘Better’ in Build Back
There’s undoubtedly one common thought at the forefront of the national consciousness, “when will we get back to normal?”.
But this begs the question, what is ‘normal’? And is this ‘normal’ going to be enough for Canada to survive and hopefully thrive in a post-COVID-19 economy? If we have to build back so much of what has been undone or re-defined in 2020, do we also have an opportunity to do this better?
A built back better approach demands that recovery will ensure communities are more resilient and less vulnerable to future threats, including the looming climate crisis. To do this, the current financial stimulus that is being injected into Canada’s economy must include consideration of climate action, as Stewart Elgie of Smart Prosperity Institute suggests, now is a “once-in-a-generation investment”.A net zero emissions economy has the potential to safeguard future generations from experiencing the same impacts. A sustainable recovery to COVID-19 has been suggested by many, including The Investor Agenda who recognize the importance of sustainability and equity in recovery scenarios.
Startup the Green Recovery
Back in April the Government of Canada announced $250-million to a fund that helps small and medium-sized businesses, including innovative startups.
Canadian startups have been pivoting to provide support to the cause, and have been critical in COVID-19 relief efforts from PPE to hand sanitizer, and the list goes on and on. This is a great example of how the tech industry is vital in the fight in the most difficult of battles ahead – including climate change.
And they see the importance of building back better, innovators have stated the importance of climate action and commitment to find climate solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have addressed the importance of collective action to make fundamental changes . Despite the fact capital investments have been down, sustainable startups are actually getting noticed with increased private investments. In fact, there will be a generation of category defining climate changing companies that come out of this period in history.
Before the current pandemic, the Accelerator Centre’s existing JumpStart program was designed to “help entrepreneurs, researchers and companies bring solutions and products to the public at an accelerated rate” but now a new cohort, COVID-19 Support & Recovery Cohort, focuses on pandemic recovery and a more resilient tomorrow. Eight startups are included and they are involved in everything from sustainable fashion to equity housing solutions. These startups are a part of the change for a better tomorrow in which sustainable goals take center stage and answer the question of what our new normal should be, and will hopefully be.