Streetwise with Climate Intelligence

4 min read In progress Likely

Getting versed in climate change will get you 5 steps ahead of other founders. This won’t be 15 insights on climate change. Instead, here are some thoughts that can help you disco dance with stakeholders, legislation and financial incentives. Just like Travolta dances with Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

An acquaintance, Haje Kamps from TechCrunch, was recently analysing thousands of pitch decks he had received from founders. He discovered that less than 1% of founders mention sustainability in their funding docs.

Is that a crisis? For the climate, yes. But, there’s something else. It seems like many new founders are missing out on the best opportunities to gain hands-on market and contextual awareness — not just an impression of news headlines. At least, I wish I had been introduced to getting my hands dirty with raw market research earlier.

Given the urgency of the EU’s climate change agenda, the legislation and financial incentives it’s pushing are no longer mere technicalities. They will empower governing entities to reward or penalise your operations more directly than ever with various CO2 tax mechanisms and the EU ETS (emissions trading scheme) which is a cap and trade system for emissions.

Death by climate tax

Why is market awareness important? For example, the real estate industry will get triple taxed for not fulfilling multiple climate legislations by 2030 in the EU, both for residential new construction and rental properties. It is each company’s individual responsibility to comply. Why is this critical knowledge? Imagine you own a real estate company. Without this simple legislative insight your magnificent ship could suddenly sink because you failed to read a piece of paper.

Doesn’t that sound like a bloody horror movie? Now, picture your startup as a horror movie.

  1. Climate change is the plot

  2. Your choices shape survival

  3. Building contextual awareness is critical to survive long term

  4. Avoiding it will have fatal consequences

Patiently taking his time to find the proper tool to save the day, Bruce Willis displays outstanding contextual awareness in this high stress situation.

All right, I’m not going to write a horror movie. But, contextual awareness is the thing that lets you capitalise on opportunities effectively. It opens your eyes to valuable business synergies in the market that are otherwise hidden.

That’s why legislation and financial incentives aren’t mere technicalities. They represent the laws shaping opportunities and the likelihood of your success. Ignorance is not an option.

Leveraging contextual awareness

I haven’t told you the best part. You can build high leverage market awareness without any fancy education. The knowledge is freely available. But, it requires a little more effort than watching youtube. You must go to the source. Beyond mere news headlines. I am simply suggesting that you spend a little time reading some climate reports and legislation. Don’t read to absorb the contents, but to paint a picture of:

  1. Entity awareness: who is who, and who is dancing with who

  2. Reasoning structure: categories of information and data you must address

Fundamentally, that’s it. Number one will give you an awareness of the entities you must engage with, and the rules that govern these interactions. Number two will give you the vocabulary and reasoning structure that enables you to articulate solid arguments and value propositions.

Think about it: if less than 1% of founders mention sustainability in their funding pitches, they are missing this valuable context. This is your opportunity to get ahead.

Reading to paint a picture

Delving into climate change reports can feel overwhelming, but they’re a gold mine of insight when you understand the above. Luckily, a holistic understanding of climate change is what will give you the most bang for the buck:

  • Emissions data: understand the driving numbers.

  • Climate adaptation: practical application of strategies.

  • Fossil fuel production: energy industry dynamics.

  • Climate finance: how climate goals are facilitated.

  • Health impacts: fundamental driver of our fear.

Pro reading tip: Be patient and take your time studying the table of contents. It will help you navigate information quicker, allow you to focus on what is relevant to you, and give you a map of the context you must reason within.

Remember: Success isn’t just about getting ahead. It’s about cultivating the drive and self-discipline to navigate challenges consciously.

Be intentional in your actions and decisions to pave the way for long-term success. Be a conscious player by giving yourself an open view of the playing field. Be contextually aware.


For your convenience, I’ve compiled an overview of useful resources to get started on your journey.