Most frequent questions and answers
We promote innovative companies with sustainable technologies, processes and business models for sustainable impact. When we talk about “impact“, we mean our ambition to ensure that the business ideas of the companies we support unleash far more potential than simply delivering an already necessary ESG performance.
The business models, working methods, technologies and products of the respective startup must contribute to solving current sustainability bottlenecks in the core areas defined by the GEC food, textiles, construction, housing and mobility. We focus on whether the startup contributes to lasting positive change according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This primarily means directly improving one or more of these goals while avoiding and mitigating unintended negative change in other outcomes. It must be the DNA of the company to want to initiate positive change, to pave the way for a better impact on our environment and to do good.
When dealing with startups, ESG maturity is usually limited, so there is no direct ESG redline. The readiness to implement sustainability practices is more important for us. We ensure that there is a willingness to invest time in sustainability practices. We also carefully define the sustainability gaps in the four verticals through expert consultation and then look for innovative solutions to fill these gaps.
Our sustainability programme does not limit itself to ESG. We cover diverse topics: First and foremost is the “lmpact Purpose”. For this we use frameworks like the “Impact Management Project Framework” or the “Theory of Change” to help founders define the impact purpose of their startup and the core positive change they strive to achieve. We also use a “Product Impact Heatmap” to highlight the main potential positive and negative impact a product could have and we map a simplified maturity grid, advising on potential mitigation activities throughout the product lifecycle. In addition, we develop a “Circular Business Model” with them in several workshops. The workshops are designed to help them to understand the concept of circular economy, and especially the innovative business models that support the transition toward the circular economy.
Above all, it is the GEC’s network of experts and investment opportunities that startups can benefit from. Without viable networks, sustainability ambitions ultimately remain just ambitions. With this network, we offer startups interested in sustainability a unique added value that gives them a first-mover advantage: they can come to the negotiating table with potential investors with sustainability practices that exceed current market expectations, or position themselves to customers with sound and robust sustainability claims.