Finding commercial value by addressing the SDGs
– How can the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impact the bottom line and become strategically attractive?
– Can we turn green transition into actionable, commercial opportunities?
These and other questions have been circulating with corporate directors and in board rooms for a long time with mixed results.
Finding new opportunities through innovation partnerships
Zeroing in on the maritime sector where sustainability, green transition and the SDGs are key focus areas, we set out to find SDG growth avenues through a dedicated SDG accelerator.
A survey among Danish Maritime’s members, shows, that more and more maritime companies are working with the SDGs. However, many are still unsure of how they can integrate them strategically.
“Getting the SDGs strategically anchored in the companies will strengthen competitiveness, which is incredibly important right now.”Jenny Braat, CEO of Danish Maritime
Locally anchored in Denmark, one of the world’s great maritime hubs, Rainmaking partnered with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Danish Maritime to facilitate a seven-month accelerator. Nine key corporate partners joined forces, including MAN Energy Solutions, Fayard, Insatech, PJ Diesel, Rohde Nielsen, Scanel and Viking.
On Sustainable Development Goals
Five SDGs received the most attention in the survey from Danish Maritime: SDG 7) Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 12) Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13) Climate actions and SDG 14) Life below water. (sdg-accelerator.org)
Rainmaking already has experience working within these SDGs and you can find more insights on some of our work with SDGs below.
- Mapping the world’s SDG startups
- SDG 7: “How companies can achieve their net zero targets”
- SDDG 11: “Why collaboratively building sustainable cities is the future”
- SDG 12: “Why your business needs a circularity action plan”
Create sustainable innovation ideas through the power of startups
Partnerships are the cornerstone of innovation in Rainmaking and this accelerator saw the best of partnerships with participation from governing bodies, startup technologies and corporate scale.
“I think a lot of companies look at the SDGs as maybe a burden, or something to comply with, (but) what we are trying to say there is commercial value in addressing the SDGs.”Alex Farcet, Partner & Co-founder, Rainmaking
The main focus of the accelerator was decarbonising shipping, and the solutions are cut across the maritime value chain and especially the ‘green SDGs’ have been in focus and 5 different SDGs have been addressed as a result of the accelerator.
One example is that of MAN Energy Solutions. In their work with the accelerator, they brought SDG 12: Climate Action and SDG 17: Partnerships for the goal in play.
MAN Energy Solutions, a global provider of 2-stroke engines for vessels, are looking to play their part in creating climate-neutral shipping by implementing a strategy that will transition them into carbon-neutral and carbon-free fuels.
In order to do so, a key focus area that was addressed in the accelerator was finding ways to retrofit engines from diesel to liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, through future-proofed designs. Such innovations enable MAN Energy solutions to meet new demand in the market, and capitilize on what was once seen as a problem to address.
In addition, the accelerator provided tangible avenues to improve the data platform for monitoring emissions, which is another crucial aspect of decarbonisation.
“Having a program like the SDG Accelerator is good for partnerships. You cannot achieve decarbonisation as a single company. You need partnerships to drive a change like that.”Anders Kryger, Principal Strategist, MAN Energy Solutions
The accelerator and the collaboration it fostered is a true testament to what can be accomplished when organisations, corporations and startups unite to address some of the world’s biggest challenges and even convert them into business opportunities.
However, the accelerator – like its partnerships – cannot solve the challenges alone. It is up to each partner to implement the solutions uncovered and continue to work together to convert these opportunities into new business models.
See more outcomes of the SDG accelerator here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how accelerators can create value for your company, click here.