Press Release: New government alliance to lead technology climate response

open this image in new window: CleanTech - NZ's two futures

This article was published on 21 July 2021

  • A NZ CleanTech Mission partnership has been established to maximise NZ’s CleanTech economic opportunity
  • Actions include developing a five-year roadmap, supercharging local and international connections, driving initiatives to improve commercialisation, and a more focused approach on selected CleanTech clusters
  • Newly-released in-depth, independent report also released, benchmarking NZ CleanTech in a global context
  • Report findings include significant economic and environmental opportunity for NZ CleanTech, and several key hurdles to overcome for sector growth.


Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Growth Capital Partners, the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge, Auckland Unlimited and UniServices have established the NZ CleanTech Mission partnership to convert local CleanTech into thriving and profitable businesses. 

The joint mission follows the freshly-launched New Zealand Climate Tech For The World, a deep-dive report into NZ’s CleanTech opportunities, the most in-depth research to date in this area. Among the report’s key recommendations is to increase collaboration among government organisations.

“We need to support climate innovation as a step towards achieving the national and global carbon targets, as pointed out by the Climate Commission. Through creating technologies to address these targets, New Zealand can also build a high-value export sector, and new employment opportunities,” says James Muir, CleanTech Lead at Callaghan Innovation.

James Muir - Callaghan Innovation Cleantech Lead
James Muir - Callaghan Innovation cleantech lead


Solving commercialisation challenges

The partnership statement outlines a number of key actions:  Developing a five-year roadmap, supercharging local and international connections, scoping initiatives to boost commercialisation and, ultimately, a targeted approach to CleanTech clusters.

“It’s not easy for innovators to navigate  the challenging commercialisation stages of R&D and investment to translate their ideas into globally successful businesses. The New Zealand Climate Tech For The World report, for example, reveals that NZ? innovators are raising 95% less investment than other comparable small advanced economies,” Mr Muir explains. 

“The NZ CleanTech Mission will ensure that CleanTech is flagged as a critical priority, on a nationwide and coordinated level. The aim is to ensure CleanTech innovators, whether out of businesses, labs or garages, have a responsive, connected, and easy-to-navigate ecosystem of support.”

New Zealand’s CleanTech opportunities

Callaghan Innovation’s recent review of NZ’s early- and growth-phase businesses identified up to 300 CleanTech innovators working on technologies, including novel apps, plastic alternatives, new energy sources, and industrial waste processing. In Financial Year 2020, 98 CleanTech businesses funded by Callaghan Innovation generated $334m revenue, supported 1,860 jobs and invested $95m in R&D with 680 high-value R&D jobs specifically.

To help ClimateTech innovators and stakeholders navigate this crucial economic and social area, Callaghan Innovation has also developed a New Zealand ClimateTech Mission hub online, which will house the Partnership Statement, NZ ClimateTech for the World report, and additional tools and resources, such as inspiring case studies, industry insights, and an ecosystem map. 

The goal now is to take the findings and insights from these resources and support innovators to apply them to their own environmental products and processes. This will help them maximise commercial opportunities and, importantly, drive critical solutions to environmental problems. 
The New Zealand Climate Tech For The World report, for example, identifies significant commercial opportunities for local climate innovators to grow niche offerings, specifically in the agriculture and energy sectors. 

“Aotearoa has a strong agricultural foundation, so it makes sense that this is where Kiwi innovators could maximise impact in the ClimateTech space. NZ  is also a frontrunner in adopting renewable energy, which now powers 85% of our electrical grid. The focus from here is to leverage our strengths, existing resources, and growing appetite to explore new energy sources,” Muir adds.