The green tech industry has been around for years but is only now starting to blossom. What’s taken so long?
To answer this question, we need to rewind. The classic ‘green tech’ sector was born way back in the 1990s. It was a broad umbrella term for any technology that was environmentally friendly or sustainable – from the production process to the supply chain. The words ‘green tech’ will probably conjure up images in your mind of clean energy production: wind farms and solar panels on the tops of houses. Smart meters and energy efficient light bulbs. Recycling plants and reusable bags. A whole industry of green technology companies and eco friendly startups developed to service our sustainability needs. Classic green tech was great. It was going to solve all our problems… Only it didn’t.
Despite our best efforts, we’re still heading for a climate catastrophe. More than half of all CO2 emissions have been produced in the last 30 years according to the IEEP, so we’re now significantly worse off than we were in the 90s. The problem with green tech was that it was missing some vital ingredients.
Why Green Tech didn’t work
First of all, it wasn’t accessible enough. Take clean energy for example, which needs a lot of upfront investment. Not everyone has the money to install solar on their roof, and not every government can make the investments needed to remodel their energy infrastructure. Collectivism and microfinance were tricky to organize which led to the exclusion of a large part of the world. Eco green companies provided options, but only the big players could have impact.
Secondly, green companies weren’t connected enough – to devices, people or each other. Whilst big businesses and governments had the tools to calculate their impact, individuals were left guessing, with no idea how all of their work added up. Green technology companies provided sustainable practices but operated in silos, unable to connect the dots.
Despite the good intentions, classic green tech simply wasn’t scalable.
Enter digital sustainability
Sustainability and digitalization are a match made in heaven. They are both trends that have dominated the last decade, but are finally linking up in a meaningful way. As a result, the classic green tech industry is evolving into a living, breathing ecosystem. These green technologies are connected. By harnessing developments like cloud computing and the internet of things, innovative green technologies are integrating into our devices and systems and connecting us to our usage.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are powering green tech consulting, helping us understand how we behave at an individual and group level to identify ways to improve our processes as a collective. Their digital nature means that new forms of green tech are also highly accessible. Thanks to the rise in mobile penetration, many green tech startups are mobile-based, allowing for people all over the word to access them. This means they can leverage economies of scale.
Green Tech Solutions
From ridesharing to energy sharing, there has been an explosion of green tech solutions that help people work together for the good of the planet. This gives a significance to every human action and finally makes GreenTech scalable. What’s more, decentralized technologies like blockchain, despite their energy footprint, are a game changer for digital sustainability as they deliver accessibility and connectivity. At Handprint, we’re leveraging this GreenTech to connect people with the positive impact they are making.
All of these developments have changed our approach to sustainability, allowing us to finally understand our collective impact and make a difference. Thanks to new digital technologies, you too can now make your mark, one click at a time.
Interested in learning more? Find out more about how you can integrate Handprint into your business here.