Last week, I was lucky enough to meet my entire GreenBiz team for the first time at our company offsite in Oakland, California. As reported by our own GreenBuzz Newsletter, my fellow staff members were all so lovely and motivated to tackle the climate crisis. Not a whiff of defeatism or "doom and gloom" in the room. I’ve worked in climate change mitigation for years and let me tell you — that is NOT the norm.
I also had the opportunity to visit some kick-ass Bay Area-based startups while I was Cali-living. LivingCarbon, Sunfolding, and Twelve were all gracious enough to host yours truly and take me on a tour of their labs and facilities. Additionally, venture capital firm Galvanize invited me to see its San Francisco headquarters and engage in some fascinating discussions about the current and future state of climate tech investing.
But for the pleasure of my company, each entity had to clear one simple hurdle: Employ a female or female-identifying person in a decision-making role. Period. End of sentence.
As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, startup funding contributions to female-owned companies don’t even come close to the amount of startup funding given to male-run ventures. Like, the difference between the two overall numbers is embarrassing, really. So as a journalist with the power of the pen and an incredible community of readers, I decided to highlight those that never have the door automatically open for opportunities of any sort.
(And yes, here's Dolly Parton’s CLASSIC song "9 to 5." Dolly has been cataloging the barriers and bull women face in normal life since before a climate tech sector even existed. I "pour myself a cup of ambition" every day and worship at her altar.)
And if you know of a climate tech startup or VC firm you think I should visit (in the U.S. or abroad!) because it clears my one hurdle and is changing the game, please send it my way. I want to explore and highlight different and innovative products and ideas impacting the future of the likes of energy development, ecoengineering, transportation, infrastructure or anything else remotely climate tech-y!
The next few times you hear from me, I will be highlighting the companies I visited and answering questions such as:
- How was the company formed?
- What is its purpose?
- How does it hope to make an impact?
- What barriers were overcome?
- Who is leading the charge?
- Why should we care about any of it?
Can’t wait?! Me neither.
But for now, I’ll wrap up with the exciting news that THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT OF 2022 PASSED THE HOUSE AND IS OFFICIALLY SIGNED INTO LAW.
GIF via Giphy/MURICA
The IRA represents the single largest federal investment toward mitigating the climate crisis in American history, including provisions such as tax and purchasing incentives for cleaner transportation, climate-conscious infrastructure and accessibility, and nationally manufactured solar and wind energy technology.
This isn’t to say this law is perfect. In fact, GreenBiz’s own Transportation Analyst Vartan Badalian explained one aspect that warrants consideration regarding electric vehicles, saying, "The bill does two things to ensure greater supply chain security and sustainability for any automotive company wanting full eligibility: (1) requires final assembly to be in North America and (2) battery minerals be sourced from countries the U.S. has a free trade agreement with or recycled in North America. So, once this bill goes into effect, many vehicles will no longer be eligible for the full incentive, given a majority of raw minerals for batteries currently come from China. However, depending on how much automotive companies value the incentive to drive sales, it will push them to reshore assembly and mineral sourcing, which will only help the U.S. in the long run."
So while there are a lot of incentives officially on the board to buy electric vehicles, suppliers need to figure out precisely how they will source the minerals nationally, ensuring purchasing is available — while simultaneously reconfiguring their supply chains to ensure final assembly happens within North America.
And that will take time.
But my excitement will not be dampened. At least now there is a legal necessity for companies around the world to stop and take steps to ensure their processes are more efficient and compliant with American Standards because of official American climate legislation (I never realized how great it would feel to type that sentence. I’m crying. Thank goodness this is a newsletter and not live).
For the first time in too long, I am officially tempted to cue All-Around-Queen and National Treasure Dolly Parton’s "Color Me America" and actually mean it.