Here are some of the most exciting green Technology Pioneers of 2021

Finding new technology solutions is essential to helping the environment. Image: Joshua Earle

Sean Fleming
Senior Writer, Formative Content
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Ocean?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Ocean is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


  • Here is our pick of some of the most innovative and exciting green-tech pioneers.
  • From lab-grown fish to food coatings you can eat.
  • From zero-emissions flying to satellite data to verify reforestation.

The 2021 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers list has been announced, featuring a diverse and inclusive line-up.

There are 26 countries represented this year, with El Salvador, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe among those appearing in the ranking for the first time. Of the 100 companies listed, more than a third are women-led businesses.

Have you read?

While the innovators and entrepreneurs that make up the Technology Pioneers list are focussed on a wide selection of technology, there is a strong representation from those pursuing positive environmental changes.

High-end recycled plastic

In India, Banyan Nation has launched a recycling system to tackle the problems caused by plastic pollution. Its process for recycling involves a high degree of cleaning and refining, which results in a high-grade recycled plastic suitable for use in many applications. The firm is creating jobs for locals, and says it recovers all the water used in its recycling processes.

Zero-emissions flight

Taking its name from the American brothers who pioneered powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, the Wright 1 is an electric aircraft designed to fly at distances approaching 1300 km. The company behind the plane, Wright, say their design will bring “zero-emissions flight down to the same cost as running a fossil-fueled fleet”. They forecast it will be commercially active by 2030.

Lab-grown fish

Overfishing damages fish populations and can cause long-term harm to delicately balanced environments like coral reefs. A start-up from Hong Kong, Avant Meats, is offering lab-grown fillets of fish as an alternative. Fish stem cells are fed on nutrients and grow edible fillets in less time than it takes for a fish to grow to an edible size. Unlike farmed fish, the lab-grown alternative is free of pollutants or disease.

a chart showing the threats to overfishing in coral reefs
Lab-grown fish wouldn’t harm a coral reef but would you eat it? Image: US National Ocean Service

Food coating you can eat

Plastic pollution is a well-documented problem. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that plastic also plays a vital role in keeping medical equipment sterile and helping food last longer. Boston-based Mori is developing a plastic-wrap alternative for the food supply chain, based on naturally derived silk protein. Unlike plastic, Mori’s silk-based wrap is added as an invisible coating during the washing process foods go through prior to being shipped to stores. Not only is it all-natural, it is edible too.

AI helps verify offsetting

Pachama is a Silicon Valley technology company using AI and satellite data to take carbon offsetting to a new level. Its platform allows organizations that are working toward net-zero or carbon neutrality to confidently support a variety of carbon sequestration projects. From reforestation to habitat conservation projects, Pachama is able to validate projects’ effectiveness by automatically analyzing satellite images.


Who are the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers?

The Technology Pioneers are invited by the World Economic Forum to participate in and contribute to a number of its activities and events. Past Technology Pioneers include: Airbnb, Kickstarter, Scribd, Spotify, Twitter and Wikimedia.

“The 2021 cohort of Tech Pioneers include many future headline makers at the forefront of their industries,” said Susan Nesbitt, Head of the Global Innovators Community, World Economic Forum. “These companies show great potential to not only shake up their industries but offer real solutions to global problems. They’ll bring great value to the World Economic Forum’s mission of improving the state of the world with their participation in the Technology Pioneers community.”

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
OceanEmerging TechnologiesClimate Crisis
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Why protecting the ocean floor matters for climate change

William Austin

April 17, 2024


About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum