Webinar: Discover the next ESG & Climate Champion

Summary of our webinar guiding startups, their supporters and investors on assessing the sustainability performance of startups
Georg Rasinski
4 min
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Webinar on June 4th 2024

The Borderstep Institute, SDG Investments and ImpactNexus hosted a webinar (in German) on the topic of assessing the sustainability potential of startups, with the following panelists: 

- Dr. Anna Christmann, Member of the Bundestag and Commissioner of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for Digital Economy and Startups

- Marcus Lehmann from IBB Ventures, part of Berlin's Development Bank, providing venture capital to innovative Berlin-based companies, and 

- Beñat Egaña from ClimateKIC, Europe's leading climate innovation agency and community. 

In a video message, Dr. Anna Christmann discussed the political aspects of protecting the climate with new business models.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the NKI (National Climate Initiative), the hosts have developed two free tools for evaluating the climate protection and sustainability potential of startups. With these innovative tools, startups can systematically and transparently capture their ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance and impacts, including GHG (greenhouse gas) reduction potential, and easily make this information available to their stakeholders. We demonstrated the application possibilities for startups, their supporters and investors, and the benefits they can derive. Additionally, the latest benchmarking data on ESG performance and impact potential from over 400 assessments was presented. 

Here is a summary overview of the tools:

ESG Starter

- Provides a structured evaluation of a startup's ESG maturity within 30 minutes
- Educates startups in all aspects of ESG and recommends measures to optimize ESG performance
- Generates a score and one-page report highlighting strengths and weaknesses in ESG measures

ESG Starter Tool

GHG & Impact Estimator

- Quantifies greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potential of products and services

- Helps define quantitative company impact goals and measures & tracks goal achievement

- Produces a comprehensive report for stakeholders, facilitating better communication and decision-making

GHG & Impact Estimator Tool

In addition to the benefits for startups outlined above, these tools offer investors and startup supporters the ability to systematically collect sustainability data and integrate it into their decision-making, monitoring, and reporting processes.

We analysed the ESG Assessment results of 400 startups that used the ESG Starter tool. Below slide shows the average score of the subsegments across the E, S & G topics.

GHG Emissions:
Small, young companies currently implement fewer measures, such as calculating a CO2 footprint according to Scope 1-3 or setting net-zero emission targets. The low score is a function of the early life stage of these startups. However, the ESG Starter educates young companies on potential environmental measures that they can take, even at an early stage and prepares them for incremental measures that are demanded by investors or regulatory authorities as they grow.

This area shows the highest average score overall, indicating that measures to improve the workplace for employees are frequently implemented by young companies. This demonstrates that startups prioritise improving the workplace, with "New Work" playing a significant role and manifesting in specific measures.

In the areas of business ethics and regulations & standards, small and young companies have implemented fewer measures, as they often do not fall under certain regulations. Gaining awareness of the regulatory landscape and understanding at what stage of the lifecycle those disclosure requirements become mandatory, is one of the benefits for startups of working with the ESG Starter tool.

Overall, the webinar served as a step stone for startups, their supporters and investors to grasp the importance of integrating sustainability into their business strategies, fostering a more environmentally and socially conscious approach to business.

To register to create a free account for using the tools, click here
To review the webinar recording, click here

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