In partnership with Cybercom, LEAD, a business incubator in Linköping and Norrköping, has developed a method for maximising the positive climate impact of start-ups. They are now presenting the potential of four start-up companies to cut global emissions by 16 million metric tons, equivalent to 25% of Sweden’s annual emissions.

“The data we have gained access to is sensational. Just for the four companies we asked international experts to assess, there is potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 million tons by 2030”, says LEAD CEO Catharina Sandberg.

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The potential from LEAD is significant. By comparison, Sweden produces total emissions of around 50 million tons. In other words, the companies that LEAD is already supporting have a potential equal to around 25% of Swedish emissions.

The goal of the project was for Cybercom and LEAD to jointly investigate how LEAD can maximise its positive impact on global sustainability. LEAD’s biggest opportunity to have significant impact is through the start-ups that are going through the incubation process. Accordingly, it was essential that the method that was developed could become part of the tools and processes already in daily use. In order to develop the method and ensure integration with operations, LEAD and Cybercom worked according to the digital sustainability process designed by Cybercom. The recently completed project, financed by Swedish Scaleups, has given LEAD deeper understanding, methods and tools for integrating sustainability in a new generation of start-ups.

“We have an outstanding team, but even we were a little surprised when we understood the climate potential of our work. With the sharper tools we now have and keener focus, we should be able double that figure within two years and support start-ups that can deliver more than 30 million tons a year”, says Sandberg.

“Working with digital sustainability in partnership with LEAD in this project has been very rewarding. We can see how new technology is presenting many new opportunities and deep-tech incubators like LEAD have a key role here. The tools we developed together have tremendous potential to spread, and now that the EU is aiming for 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030, we are looking forward to working with LEAD to spread the outcome of the project to at least 50 other incubators, which could deliver start-ups with the potential to slash greenhouse gas emissions by more than a gigaton (1,000 million tons)”, says Cybercom CEO Niklas Flyborg.

Incubators have a unique and important role to play in the effort towards sustainable development, especially with regard to the climate issue, because they can supply an entirely new generation of companies with the right tools to craft smart solutions from the outset. It is also important to bring other actors in the innovation ecosystem on board to enhance the opportunities of these start-ups to realise their potential.

“We have a huge challenge ahead and are looking forward to working with stakeholders within the innovation ecosystem. We received positive responses even before the project was completed, from Swedish and international incubators, investors at all levels and representatives of the EU Commission who are working with the Green Deal”, says Sandberg.