Working Together to Unlock the Other 50%

Jeanette Jackson, CEO of Foresight
Jeanette Jackson, CEO of Foresight

One of my favourite statistics was recently the subject of international media attention, when US Climate Envoy John Kerry told the BBC that 50% of the reductions needed to achieve net-zero emissions will come from technologies we don’t have yet. While Kerry was criticized for being overly optimistic, I prefer to focus on the challenge within that statement: we need to energize cleantech innovation — and we don’t have a lot of time to do it. This is not a time to toss our hands up and claim hope is lost: it’s time to lean in to unlock the other 50%.

We understand that to get all of the way to net-zero, it’s going to require new innovation, and that’s why we are here, supporting the acceleration and adoption of clean technologies across Canada.

“Business as usual” is not going to address urgent climate challenges. Solutions need to be implemented rapidly and at scale. We need real innovation, and we need it now!

I believe one of the best tools we have to energize innovation is collaboration. Through partnerships like our involvement with Climate Ventures, we each bring our strengths to address this crucial challenge: CSI is an expert in social innovation, and Foresight is an expert in cleantech.

Together, we are focused on building a more inclusive climate and cleantech innovation ecosystem in Canada. We need to harness the ingenuity of innovators from all regions of Canada and offer a welcome to underrepresented, rural, and remote communities. Climate Ventures provides foundational education to those new to entrepreneurship. And for those further along in their journey, we help them scale, discover new markets, and attract capital.

One of the best ways to accelerate commercialization of cleantech solutions is matching industry needs to solutions. Foresight is a strong proponent of Innovation Challenges. In the traditional pitch format, companies sell their products or services to potential customers. But what if the customer is looking for something that doesn’t exist yet? And they can’t wait for long development cycles? That’s where the reverse pitch is an elegant and effective solution.

I am encouraged by the growing support for cleantech solutions that is emerging as Canadians focus on meeting emissions targets. There is a palpable sense of urgency. Let’s collaborate, innovate, and uncover the other 50% required to meet this massive climate challenge together.

Foresight is Canada’s cleantech ecosystem accelerator and proud partner in Climate Ventures with the Centre for Social Innovation.