Four ways startups can help corporates achieve their sustainability goals

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Blog Post | 0 comments

Given tightening legislation around sustainability reporting and disclosure,  growing investor pressure and stronger buying preferences from consumers, there is an increased need for the world’s leading companies to accelerate the development of sustainable innovations.

To fast-track their journey to net-zero, many large scale corporations are turning to startups who offer a proven, scalable solution which allows them to achieve their sustainability ambitions faster, cheaper and with less risk.

Here are four ways that startups can help corporates achieve their sustainability ambitions, and deliver so much more:

  • Startups offer tomorrow’s solutions, today

Traditional approaches to innovation would begin with identifying the problem, briefing R&D, and internal teams would then smash their heads together, they might engage with Universities, and then after several years a prototype would emerge.  In today’s world, we simply don’t have that much time…and we don’t need that much time. 

The reality is that startups have already created solutions to our problems, and they’re ready to be scaled. Connecting to startups can leapfrog 3-4 years of development and deliver proven solutions that generate immediate impact. 

However, it’s not just the solutions which startups offer, it’s also the approach and mindset.

  • Partnering with startups enables a more agile approach. 

Many lessons have been learned from observing the ‘agility’ of fast-growing startups where speed, flexibility, and innovation are key. The challenge is, how do you bring agility to a large-scale corporate?

Entrepreneurship is contagious. The closer clients get to startups, the more entrepreneurial everyone becomes. 

That said, collaboration, a key enabler of agility, isn’t something that happens by accident. It requires a conduit who can identify the right partners, as well as facilitate the building of relationships that are a ‘win-win’ for all parties involved

  • The organisations of the future will be ‘networked organisations’ 

We are already seeing leading organisations become consortiums growing through partnerships.

Just before LEGO was rated the most valuable brand in the world by Brand Finance in 2017, in his valedictory interview with the Financial Times, LEGO’s outgoing CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said,  “we were humble enough to realise we can’t do everything”. 

Today you have corporate structures which are a hierarchy of people, forged over many years of organic or acquired growth.  LEGO’s corporate structure is more of a network made up of partnerships through licensing agreements and Joint Ventures, not through ownership structures. 

We believe this network-structured organisation is indicative of the future of business.

  • Having a learning culture enables companies to stay ahead 

Startups can provide insights into what’s happening in the ecosystem. 

Understandably, many companies are on a journey to understand exactly what “net zero” means for them and how approaches such as decarbonisation can help them achieve their objectives.

Startups can help corporates to understand the value and impact of potential ways to improve the ways they operate to be better for people, the planet and their business – such ashow to deliver on a corporate’s defined goal of reducing waste. 

Ultimately, innovation leaders are measured on one thing: results. And ultimately that’s what our planet desperately needs. Startups have the solution, it’s time to collaborate. 


Trusted by 50 of the Fortune 100, Co:cubed works with corporates to understand their sustainability challenges, and then curates solutions from a global network of over 12 million startups. Talk to us today about how we can help you deliver on your net-zero ambitions.

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