Best Use of Thought Leadership

Globally, we can already feel our planet warming. Earth is projected to warm >2.0°C by 2100, even if existing climate promises are met. Based on current modelling, this level of warming is estimated to be lethal (total loss of all coral reefs; sea levels will rise by 20cm – displacing millions). Bending the emissions curve will need cohesive, collective action but, even more crucially, it will require nascent innovations to be scaled. Capital is available, as the UK is an emerging climate tech VC hub, but the funding is skewed, with a small number of high-profile sectors – especially mobility – attracting disproportionate funding to emissions created, leaving other impactful climate solutions starved of financing. To kick-start proactivity, PwC authored the Net Zero Future50 report, identifying 50 innovative start-ups, across sectors, with promising carbon-reduction solutions. The report also spotlights the UK’s ‘carbon funding gap’ – helping to highlight businesses with a high emissions-reduction potential that could potentially help accelerate decarbonisation in underfunded sectors. PwC initially scanned the market to identify and map the key innovators that might define the landscape of climate tech for the next decade. Using a variety of resources – including the PwC network and various technology partners – PwC created a database of 3,000+ climate tech start-ups with the potential to deliver breakthrough solutions in key problem areas.

To assess the potential of each start-up, PwC developed a framework for evaluating its commercial and environmental impacts, solution maturity (stage of development), and scalability to a large market at speed. The composite ranking of these factors led PwC to prioritise 250 solutions for closer examination. The final Future50 was selected through a cross-sector review, to identify the most promising solutions in each sector, based a sequence of questions, such as the sector’s GHG contribution and barriers to decarbonisation.

PwC communicated its work through its core channels, including internal communication, external mailings, conference sponsorship and speaking engagements. The campaign made extensive use of paid and organic social media channels (primarily Twitter and LinkedIn), including posts from each of the 50 start-ups.

The year-long multi-channel campaign engaged PwC firm-wide, and had a wide social media reach, including 13,000+ unique website views. While the insights could influence the wider ecosystem, PwC differentiated its campaigns to engage three specific audiences: investors, corporates and start-ups. This led to over 120 tracked client leads and multiple wins across the firm.

The Future50 has activated a whole new ecosystem of decarbonisation opportunities, and positioned PwC at its heart. It was the firm’s most successful piece of ESG thought leadership in 2022, and helped build external and internal awareness of both the problem and the practical solutions.

PwC’s innovative approach has created a product-focused commercial response to the challenge of decarbonising organisations, and highlighted specific solutions for problem areas. This practical focus has led to the report’s methodology being been replicated by 28 other PwC territories, and used to support other sectors, such as Life Sciences.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.