Since the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Climate Change Act in 2009 – with ambitions to reduce emissions from 1990 levels by 42% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 – the country has developed a reputation as a global leader on the subject.
Those ambitions were enhanced in December 2020 when the country set a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases in Scotland by 2045.
But how is this lofty goal being achieved on the front lines? DIGIT looks at a selection of companies – in no particular order – that are producing the tech that’s driving Scotland’s climate change ambitions.
Founded by Christian Arno, the founder of translation tech startup Lingo24, the team at the Edinburgh-based Pawprint‘s app is described as a “behavioural change platform for the eco-conscious”.
Through the platform, consumers can monitor and reduce their carbon footprint while comparing their own personal ‘pawprints’ with friends or family. As users reduce their carbon footprint, they are offered rewards and can compete with friends or colleagues to enhance their positive environmental impact.
In December, 2020, Pawprint raised more than £1 million in investment. Hosted on Crowdcube, the fundraiser attracted investment from over 720 investors including the ultimate impact investment of £150k from Perivoli Innovations.
Pawprint is backed by prominent Scottish entrepreneurs, such as Oli Norman of Itison and Dietchef’s Kevin Dorren, and boasts investors who have previously supported global tech giants including Tesla and Amazon.
Glasgow-based QuickBlock offers flatpack building materials that require no tools, additional materials, or construction experience to assemble. Its compact design makes it easy to transport to remote or hard-to-reach locations, such as rural settlements or camps.
In addition, being made from 100% recycled polypropylene means they are lighter than traditional cement blocks and saves plastic that would otherwise go to landfill. A true innovator in the Scottish climate change tech space.
QuickBlock CEO Andrew Vincent says: “We have an innovative, sustainable, market-ready product and, despite a challenging year with Covid-19, we’ve gained traction across a number of sectors.
“This investment will allow us to respond to this growing demand, build our sales team and scale up at pace over the next year. Longer-term, we have a bold and ambitious vision to enable people all over the world to build a greener future with QuickBlock.”
Moving beyond the need to tackle climate change at home, Scottish company Topolytics is looking at the global concern when it comes to waste management.
The Edinburgh-based data analytics firm works with a range of organisations, including SAP and Defra, to help monitor and track the movement of waste in real-time – greatly enhancing transparency and efficiency.
Topolytics is one of a number of exciting startups trailblazing the use of technology in what has been traditionally an ‘unattractive’ area – waste management.
By improving transparency and efficiently ingesting and processing data – waste producers and waste recyclers can see patterns in the data not previously visible. This can drive cost and process efficiencies, enable new business models and unlock value in the material.
Michael Groves, Founder and CEO of Topolytics, says: “We’re trying to expose, or uncover, the system and make things more transparent so that you can make the whole process more efficient and, thereby, increase the level of recovery rather than just have it disappearing into a hole in the ground,”
Intelligent Growth Solutions
“We have effectively halved the crop cycle,” says David Farquhar, Chief Executive of Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS).
Bold words. But, the Invergowrie-headquartered company IGS give an actionable vision of the future of food, via Scottish climate change tech. They offer vertical growth towers, where plants are grown in trays stacked on top of one another. If that sounds rudimentary, it’s really not.
These towers offer light, temperature, relative humidity, water, nutrients, and CO2 level management. They can be 100% robotically handled, are IoT-enabled, and can be operated remotely.
The benefits are immense: faster crop yields and costs being the headliners, all while dramatically decreasing carbon footprint and broader climate impact.
All this is supported by a patented, highly controllable plug-and-play platform, designed to maximise productivity whilst minimising energy and water consumption.
IGS wants to place control of production firmly in the hands of farmers by providing them with the technology to improve processes and streamline operations.
Farquhar says: “In one of our growth towers in the vertical farm, that will produce – at the moment – just over 20 tonnes of crop each year. We have a plan to almost treble that in the near future.”
“Compared to your average field, the vertical farm is extremely efficient, especially in terms of footprint,” he adds.
The ID Co.
The Edinburgh-based fintech company provides businesses such as lenders a streamlined alternative to onboard their customers more efficiently, recently partnered with pioneering Swedish impact tech company Doconomy.
While not directly offering services that impact the discourse on Scottish climate change tech, their intent shows an alignment with the spirit of the Scottish Government’s climate change pledge of taking responsibility. In this case, through the fintech sector.
Doconomy and The ID Co.’s DirectID service will work together to bring climate functionality to a wider audience.
The partnership will verify and guide the development of tools that further enhance the environmental considerations and helping the consumers to make more informed decisions and encourage an updated, more sustainable lifestyle.
James Varga, CEO of The ID Co., said: “As we continue to grow our reach and capability, having a trusted set of partners is critical to our future success. We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Doconomy.
“We are increasingly seeing new and diverse ways that bank data can support use cases across industry and sector.
Using bank data to help us to understand business and consumer’s environmental impact is yet one more way that DirectID’s bank data expertise can support another tech company,” he added.
Mathias Wikström, CEO of Doconomy, said: “With DirectID joining us in shaping a new normal based on impact transparency, we are excited to see additional opportunities for continuous development of tools in support of climate action.
DirectID bring equal amounts of expertise and passion to the table and we are excited to team up on the most important challenge of all,” he adds.