Green Value Creation: The Top Sustainability Innovators of 2022

Technological breakthroughs in sustainability are impacting how organizations across the globe approach their environmental, social, and governance objectives. Discover the technological and consumer trends that are driving this change—and check out our top sustainability innovators in 2022.

Most companies know sustainability is important to the well-being of both the planet and their business. Organizations that don’t understand this could easily give consumers the impression they don’t care about climate change—in turn, these companies will miss out on the value-creating opportunities their eco-savvy competitors are gaining. For example, McKinsey reports that, across multiple industries, more than 70 percent of consumers are willing to pay an extra five percent for green products that perform as well as non-green alternatives. Additionally, investing in ESG programs is on the rise, with global sustainable investments now topping $30 trillion.1

The benefits of a successful environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program go well beyond revenue generation. McKinsey research2 has also revealed that implementing ESG can:

  • Curb rising operating costs that can impact profitability by up to 60 percent
  • Boost employee productivity and satisfaction, which can increase annual stock returns by nearly four percent
  • Reduce regulatory impact on profitability by 25 to 60 percent, depending on industry (see chart below)


Source: Five ways that ESG creates value, McKinsey

Innovation is vital to ensuring your company’s sustainability initiative delivers these results. Our research indicates the following technological trends are especially promising for corporations looking for ways to optimize their investments and build ventures in the green space:

  • Smart energy management
  • Air pollution monitoring
  • Smart waste management
  • Sustainable farming

Building sustainable ventures

Our partners at the ILO Institute shared actionable insights on how to successfully develop sustainable innovations. The long-term payoffs of sustainability programs may not be immediately apparent to your company, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that applies across all industries. However, ILO President Peter Temes shares innovation management fundamentals that can help your company shape and progress toward its sustainability goals, including:

  • Be brutally honest about what you're trying to achieve, and craft clear measures that make sense across the organization.
  • Engage your supply chain and other partners. They know things about how you operate that you don't, and most likely are eager to invest in keeping you in their ecosystem.
  • Many small experiments help reveal the best ways to improve how you operate.

U+ Top Sustainability Innovators 2022

The need and demand for planet-saving, business-growing ESG and sustainability programs have given rise to a vast array of ambitious innovations. We’d like to present a few that we believe are showing great promise.

The Live Green Co, USA


Sustainable food tech

The Live Green Co is an American sustainable food tech company. Their AI-powered recommendation platform, Charaka, combines biotechnology and machine learning with traditional plant nutrition science “to prescribe plant-only replacements for the animal, synthetic and ultra-processed additives in food products.” In helping the world transition to healthy, sustainable food, The Live Green Co aims to drastically reduce global greenhouse gases emitted by meat production.

Cervest, UK

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Climate Intelligence platform

Based in London, England, Cervest’s Climate Intelligence platform provides organizations with a comprehensive view of how climate threats like droughts, floods, and extreme temperatures can impact their assets. Harnessing AI, and leveraging public and private data sources, Cervest is helping enterprises and governments see “the risks [they] face and the actions [they] must take” to not only protect their assets, but also participate in the global effort to reach net zero.

Klima, DE

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Climate app

German startup Klima has developed an application that measures a user’s carbon footprint then suggests “science-backed projects that remove or prevent the same amount of emissions elsewhere” that you can support. The Klima app also tracks the impact of user offsets in real time, and provides tips on how to make additional climate-positive changes.

Aclima, USA

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Air quality tracking platform

San Francisco-based Aclima’s software solution helps corporations and governments track their greenhouse emissions and air quality. The platform’s advanced visualization tools and automated analytics provide insights that enable organizations to accelerate and optimize efforts to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, and better protect public health. Currently over 100 local governments are using Aclima to track and analyze their local air quality.

GreyParrot, UK

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AI-powered waste recognition system

GreyParrot’s AI Waste Recognition System employs “computer-vision-powered robotics systems to identify, sort, and recover waste at scale.” The London-based company’s solution automates waste composition analysis, and reveals data that was previously inaccessible to waste managers, packaging producers, and regulators. GreyParrot delivers an operational efficiency boost that significantly reduces costs and manual labor, while increasing the value of an organization’s recyclable and recoverable waste.

Metrikus, UK

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Construction and building carbon footprint analysis software

Founded in 2019, London-based Metrikus offers a software solution that gives building owners and tenants insights into their buildings’ carbon footprint. Users can connect their IoT systems and sensors to the Metrikus platform for a holistic overview of space usage. With the aim of making spaces more cost-effective and energy-efficient, the company has also developed a wide range of IoT solutions, including indoor air quality monitoring, energy monitoring, and ESG solutions.

U+ can help you digitize your portfolio companies

The U+ Method can lead the development, implementation, and improvement of innovations in pursuit of any business goal, including sustainability. To date, we have used this method to bring more than 90 products to market, creating over $1 billion in value for Fortune 1000 companies. Our success stories in the sustainable energy space include building a smart home app connected to smart energy meters and a virtual solar battery concept for mass-market consumers for Czech energy supplier E.ON.


  1. Witold Henisz, Tim Koller, and Robin Nuttall, Five ways that ESG creates value, McKinsey, November 2019

  2. Ibid.

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