Cleantech is a growing field of business dedicated to products and services that help people make smart choices when it comes to the environment. In Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland there’s a focus on decarbonising key industries – transport, energy, construction, manufacturing and agriculture – to meet the region’s carbon reduction targets.
Innovators are working hard to develop and commercialise ‘green’ solutions. Auckland has a growing ecosystem looking to build momentum and there’s been an increase in new funds and investment avenues. Callaghan Innovation’s analysis of the cleantech sector in the 2020 financial year found there were 300 cleantech startups, of which 98 generated $330 million in revenue, supported 1860 jobs and invested $95 million in R&D.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is a key member of the NZ CleanTech Mission Partnership, which has been established with New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP), Auckland UniServices, Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI), KiwiNet, Callaghan Innovation and Ara Ake. The partnership is a collaborative network of cleantech innovators, investors and government agencies developing the industry.
Climate Connect Aotearoa is a hub for collaborative climate innovation throughout Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and beyond. The Climate Connect Innovation Map shows the ecosystem players who are working together to develop, test and grow solutions needed to ensure emissions reduction.
Backed by investment
Globally, climate tech ecosystem venture capital investment increased by 24 times in the last decade, according to Dealroom.co, with US$50 billion raised in 2022. Cleantech presents New Zealand with a significant economic opportunity, with PwC reporting the early-stage investor funding for the industry growing five times faster than the average investment in other sectors.
New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP), alongside New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s investment team, are aware of over 50 cleantech businesses that have successfully raised capital or are in capital-raising mode, with over $100 million of investments into the sector in the last 24 months.
Key funders and investors in the industry include: Climate Venture Capital Fund, Icehouse Sustainable Technology Fund, ACC Climate Change Impact Investment Fund, Impact Enterprise Fund, Te Tahua Pūtea mō te Kirihou Auaha, Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF), Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund, NZ Green Investment Finance and NZX Carbon index.
Cleaner transport is a priority for Auckland because it’s a large source of emissions. There’s growing adoption of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles throughout New Zealand, an expanding charging network, and considerable opportunity to deliver more efficient freight systems.
There’s also a focus on waste management and a circular economy. The city has New Zealand’s first circular economy lab, XLabs, and considers the potential GDP uplift of the circularity model a real positive. Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri Auckland’s Climate Action Plan embeds circular principles into the region’s land use, water management, food and construction waste, transport and logistics.
A third sectoral focus is building and construction. New materials, building techniques, monitoring and building control technologies are all in demand.
There are increasingly strong incentives for emitters to move away from fossil fuel energy sources to climate-friendly solutions. Since the start of 2023, around 200 New Zealand financial institutions and large listed companies have been required to publicly report their climate risk or exposure under the Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Act. And while not directly obligated by the legislation, smaller businesses in the supply chain can be asked for information by their customers.
Proven success in Asia-Pacific, with Auckland home to two of the top 25 most promising cleantech companies from the region, named among the APAC Cleantech 25
An increase in new funds and investment avenues for cleantech innovators
Strong drive to grow the sector across the ecosystem through the NZ CleanTech Mission Partnership
Solution-oriented founders, working with world-class research institutions
Progressive regulation adding impetus for impact-positive change
Strong economic base in Auckland from which innovators are already scaling up to enjoy global returns.
EV Maritime is on its way to electrifying Auckland’s ferry fleet. Every year, the city’s harbour ferries make around six million passenger journeys, burning 13 million litres of diesel and emitting 34,000 tonnes of CO2 – and the substantial wash they create causes coastal erosion. Replacing them with quiet, low-wash electric ferries would slash emissions, noise levels and erosion, and studies show the capital expenditure would pay for itself in just seven years.
EV Maritime’s new, sustainably built and eco-friendly battery-electric ferry is the EVM200-commuter, capable of carrying up to 200 passengers at 25 knots. The first vessels have been commissioned by Auckland Transport and will be in service in 2024.