[This month, Medika Life’s Editor-in-Chief heads to Israel to visit the leaders at the forefront of climate change innovation. Long known as a pioneer in technology and health, Israel has led on everything from computer chips and the navigational marvel of Waze to using heat as a resource and creating life-extending and life-saving devices and medicines. Now, the country is applying its experience and knowledge to address climate change, and what follows is an overview of Israel’s “climate of environmental innovation.” Later this month, we’ll highlight some game-changing companies at the leading edge of this wave in climate innovation.]
Israel – The Climate of Innovation Heads to COP28
While some are still considering whether to head to Dubai for COP28, Israel is committed to having significant presence at the “Davos of Climate Change.” Known for its health, defense, technology and entrepreneurship achievements, the country is emerging rapidly as a global environmental innovation leader. Israel plans to bring a 1,000-person delegation representing some 100 companies to Dubai.
According to Start-Up Nation Central – the non-profit that connects Israel’s tech and science community to the world, almost 1,000 Israeli enterprises are pursuing a range of decarbonization, climate adaptation, and environmental protection technologies with the potential to mitigate the impacts of climate change and address its root causes.
“With our global outreach to multinational companies and investors, we are advancing the Israeli energy sector and its technologies as an important and viable solution to the world energy challenge and a solutions hub for reducing global carbon emissions,” said the non-profit’s Head of Climate Tech Sector Yael Weisz Zilberman. “Mapping sub-sectors and the companies in each provides broad accessibility to Israeli technological solutions and enables the entire sector to expand its activities.”
Many consider COP28 as Israel’s “declaration to lead” event. For the second consecutive COP event, the Israeli pavilion in Dubai will appear under the “Climate of Innovation” umbrella. The connection of Israel to innovation is expected; the country known for making the desert bloom takes on ecological challenges with can-do confidence married with an inventive spirit to develop groundbreaking solutions that can significantly impact climate change and support sustainability. But that doesn’t happen without dedicated, collaborative effort.
Collaboration is Key to Creating Technology that Addresses Climate Change
Through a combination of government support, academic research and a strong, healthy community of entrepreneurial businesses, Israel is a fertile proving ground for environmental innovation, so much so that the country’s innovation community has created a collaborative blueprint for other nations to follow.
The Israeli government has implemented policies and initiatives to support and promote innovation with major companies at home and abroad, and with other nations to prioritize climate change and sustainability for investment and development. It has resulted in Israel becoming a laboratory for research and development in renewable energy; water purification, desalination and management; and sustainable agriculture. It’s also an approach that delivers returns on investment by building a collaborative culture of innovation.
For example, a collaborative Environmental Sustainability Innovation Lab (ESIL) dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability is among the nation’s many exciting projects. Another is the creation of the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), a cooperative effort between the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Israeli Ministry of Economy launched in 2019. Start-ups participating in these incubators receive advice and funding to build infrastructure and have a better pathway toward financing for their “proof of concept.”
The incubator is a model for accelerated progress, and its reputation has had global benefits. Morocco, the fourth Arab country to normalize ties with Israel, is now pursuing cooperation with Israel in environment, natural resources and climate change. If long-time enemies can recognize that without a sustainable planet, all are lost, it provides hope that we can make progress against rising global temperatures.
Investing in the Planet’s Future
Crucial in advancing environmental innovation is Israel’s thriving startup ecosystem. The country is home to a growing community of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists passionate about accelerating technological solutions to pressing environmental problems. Startups are tackling diverse issues, ranging from waste management and recycling to energy efficiency and urban sustainability. Purpose-centered investors with proven ROI track records are focusing on the progress and potential of Israeli-based environmental innovations.
Investors are also crucial to that collaborative effort. Among the premier, global, purpose-focused investors watching the sector in Israel is ARK Invest, which believes innovation can solve the most persistent problems and help transform the way the world works. They are doing more than watching the start-up nation; they are going all-in, looking for both return on investment and meaningful social impact.
ARK Invest recognized that Israel is a world leader in developing innovative products and services. Its Chief Investment Officer Cathie Wood shared with Medika Life that “Israel’s companies are advancing scientific research and enhancing many sectors of the global economy. Ranked highly in the world for technological advancements and entrepreneurship and responsible for many innovations, ARK thinks Israel has earned its status as an innovation powerhouse.”
The Climate Innovation Model
Through government support of collaboration that brings together a matchless entrepreneurial ecosystem; technologists with a proven track record of practical advancements; a community of thriving startups; and visionaries in Israel and other countries, Israel has become a must-watch leader in addressing climate change and promoting sustainability. Other nations – particularly emerging nations – face similar challenges and conditions, and they can accelerate the global transition to a greener, more sustainable future by fostering collaboration to create an infrastructure that guides, supports and brings purpose-centered investors to the table of possibilities.
A world facing climate change that threatens human health and long-term existence needs proven models that point the way to achieving a sustainable future. Israel, poised to join the inner circle of climate leaders, is a success story and a model for others to follow.
[The next report will come from Israel and highlight some companies at the forefront of environmental and sustainability innovation.]