Emerging Technologies

Looking to COP28: How Israeli climate tech can help meet UN SDGs

Israel's thriving climate tech ecosystem is thanks in part to its expertise in dealing with issues such as water scarcity.

Israel's thriving climate tech ecosystem is thanks in part to its expertise in dealing with issues such as water scarcity. Image: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Yael Weisz Zilberman
ClimateTech Sector Lead, Start-Up Nation Central
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  • With preparations for COP28 in Dubai well underway, urgent action is needed to address the global challenges posed by climate change.
  • Israel is a key player in climate tech, with a thriving ecosystem dedicated to building innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
  • Climate change knows no boundaries and collaboration will be crucial in developing and scaling innovative solutions to tackle the crisis.

As the world gears up for COP28, the United Nations climate change conference set to take place in Dubai in November 2023, urgent action is needed to address the challenges posed by climate change.

Over the past decade, Israel has emerged as a major player in the climate tech space, with a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, investors and support organizations dedicated to building innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.

Israel's climate tech sector grew by 60% between 2016 and 2022, reaching more than 850 companies at the last count, according to Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit that promotes the Israeli ecosystem and works to advance the climate tech sector. These companies have raised more than $3 billion in funding, with investments coming from both local and international sources.

At the heart of Israel's climate tech ecosystem are a few key strengths that set it apart from other regions. These include:

  • Strong organizational support: A wide range of stakeholders and organizations advocate for the development of the country's climate tech sector, providing funding and other resources to help support start-ups and encourage innovation in the field.
  • World-class research institutions: Israel is home to some of the world's leading research institutions, providing a strong foundation for the development of new climate technologies.
  • A culture of innovation: Israel has long been known for its entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks and experiment with new ideas, helping fuel the growth of the country's climate tech ecosystem.

Israeli climate tech can help meet SDGs

To halt and reverse climate change, many countries are currently implementing initiatives aligned with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – 17 interconnected objectives aimed at creating a more equitable and sustainable world.


How is the World Economic Forum fighting the climate crisis?

Achieving these SDGs will require a global effort, with countries and organizations working together, and, in this context, Israel's growing climate tech ecosystem has a crucial role to play.

Numerous Israeli companies working on various aspects of sustainability and environmental technology are pioneering scalable solutions in vital areas. According to data collected by Start-Up Nation Finder, a platform that connects global stakeholders to the Israeli tech ecosystem, focus areas include:

  • Energy transition: One of the key SDGs is to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Israeli start-ups are at the forefront of developing new technologies in this area, for example using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize the performance of solar panels and other renewable energy systems.
  • Food and land use: Another important SDG is to ensure sustainable agriculture and food production. Israeli start-ups are developing innovative solutions to help farmers increase yields and reduce waste, while also minimizing the use of harmful chemicals.
  • Transportation and logistics: Transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, making it a key area for action in the fight against climate change. New technologies from Israel propel electric vehicle adoption and optimize transportation systems and fleets.
  • Water solutions: Israel is one of the driest countries in the world, and water scarcity has been a pressing issue for decades. The country’s innovative water management practices have helped it become a water-affluent country.
  • Carbon tech: Innovation in this area is focused on developing novel, efficient ways to capture carbon, utilize it for new products, or store it, as well as monitor carbon emissions.
  • Clean industry tech: It is more critical than ever to build resilient infrastructure and promote sustainable industrialization. Solutions are being developed in Israel to promote the circular economy and to implement manufacturing processes that are more energy efficient and less wasteful.

Collaboration vital for a brighter future

When it comes to global challenges, regional collaboration is crucial. Creating deep ties at all levels paves the way for knowledge sharing, ecosystem building, human capital solutions and sourcing tech solutions to shared challenges.

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As we look towards COP28 in Dubai, we need to accelerate our efforts to achieve the SDGs. By continuing to support and invest in climate tech, we can leverage their innovative solutions to address some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges. However, this will require a concerted effort from governments, investors and businesses around the world.

Governments can play a key role in supporting the growth of the climate tech ecosystem by creating supportive policies and funding initiatives to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of sustainability.

By investing in climate tech start-ups, investors can not only help to address global climate challenges but also potentially generate significant financial returns. According to a UN report, climate tech solutions have the potential to generate up to $26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.

Finally, businesses can also play a key role in driving the growth of the climate tech ecosystem by partnering with start-ups and investing in their technologies.

Collective effort needed ahead of COP28

Achieving the SDGs will require a collective effort from governments, investors, and businesses around the world. The journey to COP28 will be challenging, but we have the tools and technologies to make significant progress.

Israel's climate tech sector has the potential to play a significant role: the country's ecosystem of innovative start-ups and experienced investors is well-positioned to drive the development and adoption of new technologies to address climate challenges.

Climate change knows no geographic or political boundaries: to effectively combat this pressing issue, we need to work collaboratively to develop and scale the innovation we need to effectively achieve net zero.

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

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