Since entering into force on November 4, 2016, the Paris Agreement has been a huge call to action for the 196 parties that have accepted its legally binding international treaty on climate change. In this landmark agreement, there were 17 overarching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that emphasized a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.

These goals have required rapid and systemic change, and since the start of the treaty, the EU has seen different levels of achievement for different SDGs.

On the one hand, the EU has been able to meet its 2020 energy efficiency target and, based on the progress made so far, appears to be on track to meet its 2030 target through the increasing use renewable energy in the region. This shows that over the last five years the EU has been able to achieve its affordable and clean energy target (SDG 7).

credit: ec.europa.eu

On the other hand, however, according to a report by the European Commission, progress towards the goals in the areas of health and well-being (SDG 3), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and the reduction inequality (SDG 10) was only rated as moderate, showing the need for more development in society for these targets.

Around a third of Europe’s largest public companies have pledged to reach net zero by 2050, but in order to get the remaining two-thirds on board and see a more inclusive range of SDGs achieved by companies, cohesion between large and small businesses in the EU must be part of the strategy.

Car manufacturing giant Toyota Motor Europe has partnered with ISDI Accelerator, a business accelerator founded by Spain’s leading digital business school, with the aim of generating a spirit of collaboration towards some of these underserved goals in the EU.

Let’s see how these two entities bring together startups that innovate in the field of “mobility for all” and sustainability so that the EU can start achieving its SDGs at all levels.

Channeling the efforts of entrepreneurs for sustainability

According to a statistical analysis of sustainable development and the green economy in the EU,

an approach that promotes innovation at the societal level requires seeking new, more efficient solutions that will reduce negative externalities in the areas of production, distribution and consumption.

The implementation of this trio will help improve the competitiveness of companies, both in domestic and foreign markets. Moreover, it shows that the assumptions of environmental protection and sustainable development are carriers of technical progress and innovation.

In recognition of this, the Toyota Startup Accelerator, hosted by Toyota and the ISDI Accelerator, the investment lab of the ISDI Digital Business School, has selected five winning startups to participate in its upcoming Demo Day on June 24 in Madrid at ISDI headquarters.

The selected startups will present their breakthrough sustainable solutions in three major verticals – mobility for all, carbon neutrality and circular economy – to investors and the European startup press.

At the event, the five participants will progress to the second stage of the ISDI + Toyota startup accelerator by showcasing the technologies they have developed in these categories.

Specific categories include:

Mobility for all:

  1. Revolve Wheel (Germany) has created the world’s first active wheelchair that meets the standards of a universal cabin suitcase or a compact car trunk.

Carbon neutrality:

  1. HySiLabs (France) is developing an innovative solution to facilitate the transport of hydrogen, by charging and releasing hydrogen in a unique liquid carrier.
  2. PurCity (Denmark) is working to improve air quality by converting buildings into large-scale CO2 capture facilities.
  3. CargaTuCoche (Spain) offers a residential electric mobility charging infrastructure platform that allows charging stations to be shared with others.

Circular Economy:

  1. MicroWave Solutions (Switzerland) accelerates circular carbon economies by recycling plastics, rubbers and carbonaceous materials into critical and advanced materials such as graphene.
Credit: Matt Seymour, unsplash.com

Startups will pitch their sustainability and mobility projects to top investors, Toyota and ISDI executives, as well as members of the business community and the media.

Toyota has invested €100,000 in non-equity financing, opening its facilities as testbeds and bringing in experts to support proof-of-concept development with startups. ISDI has provided training, mentorship and brokerage with companies and investors to support the business development and investment needs of startups.

This flagship event gives start-ups the chance to unlock new funding opportunities and form new partnerships with businesses and the tech ecosystem if they are successful. Moreover, it gives them the opportunity to eventually contribute to shaping EU society in a more comprehensive and sustainable way for the future.

Integrating sustainability into the EU trade agenda

A study by Accenture found that companies in the EU will need accelerated action to achieve the SDGs, as only 5% of companies are on track to meet their targets. Based on the pace of the specific emissions reduction target, the data shows that between 2010 and 2019, a measly 9% are on track to reach their net zero target by 2050.

It is therefore vital that companies with more sustainable innovations in Europe receive the resources they need to help start the paradigm shift. Since its creation, ISDI Accelerator has developed dozens of incubation and acceleration programs leading to the implementation of hundreds of startups and thousands of companies in all sectors.

In combination with support from Toyota, the Toyota Startup Accelerator will help channel the entrepreneurial efforts of members of the European startup ecosystem to help achieve a wider range of SDGs faster and more accurately.

Through collaboration between public entities, businesses, educational entities, investors and founders, a greener future is possible.

Investors and media are invited to attend the event in person or online. For more information on the ISDI and Toyota Startup Accelerator partnership, please visit the following link for updates, here.

Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.