By Rachel Barr
Israeli innovation is seemingly everywhere. Hardly a week goes by without a new company from the Startup Nation ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Peruse a list of successful tech companies and you’re bound to find a few Israeli firms among them.
But there is one list that Israeli companies have yet to join: the Race to Zero Campaign.
Organized by the United Nations, the Race to Zero brings together public and private entities from around the globe who have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. By this date, companies must release no more carbon to the atmosphere than the carbon we can remove through either natural or technological means.
Many believe companies must move even more quickly than this if they are to halt the consequences of catastrophic climate change.
As long as atmospheric concentration of CO2 keeps rising, so will temperatures. Emitting net-zero carbon is necessary to achieve a sustainable future.
Thousands of businesses, along with hundreds of cities and educational institutions, have already committed to participating. Race to Zero has become the largest global coalition to unite for the singular purpose of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Together, these players account for almost 25 percent of global CO2 emissions and more than 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The shared goal of these businesses, cities, investors and others who have committed to the Race to Zero is to build a decarbonized economy. With the UN’s climate summit taking place in Glasgow right now, companies have an invaluable opportunity to advance this vision and build on momentum.
The heat is on
The scientists behind the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are highly confident that human activities have contributed to this warming trend.
As demonstrated in this interactive climate projection tool from the World Bank, the severity of the warming we experience throughout the rest of the century will be tied to the amount of greenhouse gases we emit.
The effects of climate change will be dangerous and expensive. The World Bank estimates that the cost of the predicted changes, if no action is taken to prevent or adapt to the impacts, will amount to 5 percent of Israel’s annual GDP.
UBQ Materials: Lone Israeli racer?
To date, only one entity from the Startup Nation is listed in the Race to Zero coalition – UBQ Materials.
UBQ is an Israeli cleantech company that has developed a patented solution to convert unsorted household waste, including all organics, into a climate-positive thermoplastic.
By diverting food scraps, greasy pizza boxes and dirty diapers from landfills, UBQ prevents the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is gaining more and more infamy for its role in climate change.
For every ton of UBQ material produced, 1.3 tons of landfill waste are diverted, and 11.7 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are prevented from polluting the atmosphere.
This makes UBQ material the most climate-positive thermoplastic on the market, able to substitute oil-based plastics, wood or concrete in thousands of applications.
Addressing the climate emergency is central to UBQ’s work. In 2020, the company took this commitment to the next level by pledging to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 across its entire supply chain.
One country, one planet, one goal
The Race to Zero is not a competitive event. UBQ envisions building a robust community of Israeli businesses working toward the same goal, inspiring and learning from one another.
Supporters say there is not a better time for Israeli companies to get on board, with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog launching Israeli’s Climate Change Forum and recruiting policymakers to ensure that climate action is at the top of Israel’s agenda.
For more information, go to Race to Zero.
Produced in association with Israel21C.