Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

Heatwave Wake-up Call

Strategic Hot Planet Opportunities for Ecopreneurs, Climate Tech Businesses and NPOs

Kala Philo
Impactoverse
Published in
7 min readJul 11, 2023

--

“The American lifestyle is non-negotiable.”

US President George H. Bush uttered those (in)famous words at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the first global gathering on climate change.

Fast forward 25 years. On the scene were more extreme weather events, rapidly melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and reams of additional climate research proving humanity’s role in global warming. One could hope for a more visionary leadership response. Instead, in 2017 the world saw President Donald Trump announce the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

The inconvenient truth is the Earth didn’t get the right-wing wishful-thinking memo. In June 2023, El Nino came early, ushering in a summer that sparked searing heat waves and shattered high-temperature records worldwide.

So what can we do? Although the planet’s meta-metrics are not good, every problem has an equally scaled flip-side opportunity.

This post will offer:

  • A snapshot overview of where we are now.
  • Opportunities in the short term for climate impact ecopreneurs, companies, and NPOs.
  • Example strategies and brainstorming prompts.

The next two to five years are critical for the planet and represent a window of opportunity for innovative businesses, brands, and NPOs.

People and companies working on climate change are finally getting their moment in the mainstream spotlight. Let’s take a closer look.

Where We Are Now

While there is plenty of alarming news, more people and enterprises than ever before are working to turn the plastic-laced tide. Climate technology is accelerating at the same time that consumer awareness is growing.

But first, let’s get the bad news out of the way. While the list is not pleasant or complete, it’s worth scanning to look outside our silos and identify opportunities.

  • Global high-temperature records: In June, heat waves shattered “hottest day” records worldwide.
  • Talk about fireworks: On July 4, 2023 (US Independence Day), scientists recorded the highest average temperature since they started keeping track in 1979. The average worldwide temperature reached 17.18°C (62.9°F), breaking the record of 17.01°C (62.6°F) set just a day earlier.
  • El Nino’s early arrival: El Nino arrived early, causing a series of heat waves from a heat dome that baked Mexico and Texas for weeks. CNN reported that at least 112 Mexicans had died from heat-related causes since March.
  • More hot people in close quarters: On the other side of the planet, countries like India and Pakistan, with high global concentrations of poor people living in dense urban areas, are also experiencing more frequent and severe heat waves, a trend scientists say will only continue.
  • Five-year pressure cooker — The World Meteorological Organization (WMO).issued a statement in May predicting a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the warmest on record.
  • Not-so-permafrost and sweaty penguins: Arctic warming is disproportionately high.

That’s just some of the bad news coming on the heels of a global pandemic. Ouch. While we can’t control El Nino, pandemics or politics, we can develop strategic responses to current challenges.

Opportunities

Problem and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. If your mindset leads you to dwell on opportunities, first of all, thank you! Let’s connect! We are seeing opportunities that leverage trends in the following areas:

  • Climate is a significant lever issue — healing the planet will automatically fix, or at least make it easier to fix, a host of related problems.
  • Tech-enabled solutions: There is no one fix, yet any combination of fixes must be relatively quick fixes. Technology enables the scale and automation necessary to catch up on climate change, especially if we begin to trigger tipping points.
  • Collaboration tools and automation — the global pandemic accelerated collaborative workstyles and tools, making collaborations more efficient and streamlined. For the trust void reasons mentioned above, collaborations with causes are the opportunity of the moment for both brands and causes.
  • Consumers #1: In Business They Trust — Global communications firm Edelman has tracked trust survey data for decades. The core findings from their 2022 Trust Barometer show that between government, media, and business, people trust business the most.
  • Consumers #2: demand for action — Consumers are more aware than ever of global challenges and want to know where brands stand in the melee. Brands can fill the trust void and benefit from higher CLV from a consumer base clamoring for leadership and action.

Now let’s look at some example strategies and ideas to jumpstart brainstorming opportunities.

Strategy A — Plastic gets personal; people take notice.

Summary:

Plastic and microplastic awareness is trending as microplastic pollution enters the human body, especially in children and babies.

Backstory:

Plastic on land and in the sea has increased exponentially over the last 20 years.

Microplastics are now exploring the final frontier of the human body, infiltrating our food, water, and other beverages. Over 90% of global salt brands contain microplastics.

Recent studies show microplastics cross the placenta and are now present in breast milk. Babies and toddlers test higher for microplastics than adults.

In other words, for many consumers in developed economies, plastic pollution used to be a problem “over there.”

Now, microplastics mean that plastic pollution is now highly personal. People get emotional about their health, even more so about their children’s health.

Brainstorm prompt:

What is selling like hotcakes right now that uses plastic in the supply chain?

Millions of successful consumer products and services are waiting to be transformed into more sustainable versions. E-commerce and AI-powered marketing now provide the tools for startups to compete with large mainstream brands and companies.

For example, would hotcake lovers want a subscription to maple syrup with a guaranteed plastic-free production process, delivered as dry cubes? Just add (filtered) hot water and pour.

You get the idea.

Timing opportunity:

UNESCO nations are making impressive progress on a major plastics treaty that could become binding in 2025. This isn’t just a minor regional accord; some see it as the most critical green deal since the 2015 international climate agreement.

This means plastics will be in the news as a trending topic, allowing businesses and organizations to capitalize on organic search boosts in related search terms.

Strategy B — Exploit What’s Working Now to Usher in Change

Summary:

Opportunities exist in the sustainability transition of successful tech-enabled products and services currently exploiting fossil fuels. What successful business models will need to change to survive?

Backstory:

We all have a vision of a healthier planet and people. While vision is indispensable for charting a better future, implementation is what moves the needle.

We wake up every day with the way things are today. The space of opportunity is between the now and the vision.

We don’t have to boil the ocean (sorry) or reinvent the wheel. Reaching too far forward slows short-term impact and incremental progress.

Opportunity:

As of February 2022, thirty-five of the largest US cities have adopted local climate action plans. Across the globe, cities have sustainability plans in place with time-boxed goals.

Mainstream climate change awareness is rising; voters are feeling the heat and taking note. Reaching climate action plan goals puts pressure on governments and businesses that are currently profitable based on fossil-fuel energy sources.

Example:

Ride-share companies are changing the transportation landscape in the world’s major cities. The upside is better options for passengers and more jobs for locals. The downside has been adding millions of gas-powered cars to the global traffic flow.

The transformation of ride-share vehicles to hybrid and EVs is just beginning. Every ride-share company has fleet ownership models. You do the math.

Strategy 3: Global Warming Hits Home in the US and Developed Countries

Summary

Global warming increasingly impacts individuals in developed countries, raising their awareness and desire to “do something.” The opportunity is to incorporate climate action into corporate DNA or collab with causes.

Backstory

While climate change has been in the headlines for many years, systems like subsidies, efficient garbage collection, and mature energy infrastructures have largely sheltered citizens in developed markets like the US, UK, and Europe.

In recent years we’ve seen the cracks in wealthier nations’ ability to deflect the worst of climate change. Weather-related power outages are soaring in the populous US states of California and Texas. At the same time, Texas is seeing a huge influx of new residents.

Source CNN

In June 2023, smoke from Canadian wildfires engulfed New York City, inspiring humorous memes and sparking renewed interest in what was happening over there, across an arbitrary human-designated border.

Source: Twitter @ZachSilberberg

Opportunity

Incorporate climate action into corporate DNA or collab with causes.

Next Steps to Scale Your Impact

While all the headlines are adding to consumer stress around climate change, there is opportunity in the bad news. Mainstream consumers in developed countries are looking for solutions with new urgency.

They will also be pressuring the government to step in and do more, which could result in more government incentives for climate-related companies’ products and services.

Strengthen your network and keep your eyes open. Questions? We are here for you.

Impactoverse is a tech-focused impact ecosystem bridging existing and emerging technologies, markets, and audiences. Learn more at Impactoverse.com

--

--

Kala Philo
Impactoverse

Hi! I’m a tech marketing writer, strategist and co-founder. I also write about personal growth via immersive travel. More info at kalaphilo.com