carbon footprint

Greentown Labs partners with VC firm on new emissions calculator integration

Greentown Labs has a new tool for evaluating potential members. Photo via Getty Images

If you want to be a member at either Boston-area or Houston location of Greentown Labs, you better have a small carbon footprint.

Leading global venture capital firm Clean Energy Ventures, which funds early-stage climate tech innovations, announced a partnership to offer access to the firm’s Simple Emissions Reduction Calculator (SERC) to Greentown Labs, the largest climate tech incubator in North America that is dually located in Houston and Sommerville, Massachusetts. New members will be required to report their CO2e emissions reduction potential as part of the incubator’s climate impact assessment as part of the Greentown Labs’ application process.

Greentown Labs has nurtured more than 525 companies across its two locations with a 94 percent success rate for startups. Greentown Labs supports and fosters collaboration with corporates, early-stage entrepreneurs, investors, government and other players while providing members access to labs and resources.

“As we continue our work to support the most innovative climate tech startups, we’re doubling down on how we quantify impact — both the impact Greentown Labs is having on the entrepreneurs we’re privileged to support, and the impact the startups themselves are having by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Kevin Knobloch, CEO and president of Greentown Labs, says in a news release. “Having access to this timely tool that Clean Energy Ventures has created is elevating our recruitment efforts and helping us standardize how we quantify the projected impact of our member community.”

CEV developed SERC in 2021 to assist startups with tools and algorithms to estimate their technology or business model’s emissions reduction potential. SERC is now used as an essential screening tool in over 1,000 companies asn a climate tech accelerators, incubators and investors across the globe, and was awarded an honorable mention by Fast Company World Changing Ideas in 2022.

“As climate tech investors, we are always eager to support the growth of an ecosystem of innovation and impact,” CEV Managing Partner David Miller in says in the release. “With the number of climate tech companies seeking investments today, startups that are able to estimate their innovation’s capacity to mitigate CO2e emissions truly stand out from the crowd and are more likely to secure investment. Through SERC, investors are able to gain critical insight to back the most impactful technologies with the potential to address climate change as quickly as possible over the next two decades.”

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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