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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.

AUCKLAND – 21 July 2021: A cross-government partnership is on a mission to turn New Zealand into a centre of global CleanTech excellence, solving pressing environmental problems.

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, set 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.

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.

About our partners:

Callaghan Innovation:

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. It activates innovation and helps businesses grow faster for a better Aotearoa. The government agency partners with ambitious businesses of all sizes, delivering a range of innovation and research and development (R&D) services to suit each stage of their growth. Its staff – including more than 200 of Aotearoa’s leading scientists and engineers – empower innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding.

New Zealand Growth Capital Partners:

New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (formerly New Zealand Venture Investment Fund) is a Government entity stimulating investment into early-stage Kiwi companies with high-growth potential. Our Aspire fund invests directly into early-stage Kiwi tech start-ups at the Seed and Angel investment stage. Our Elevate fund is a $300m fund of funds, investing directly into venture capital firms, and is aimed at filling the Series A and B capital gap for high-growth New Zealand tech companies. We also have a market development mandate working with a wide range of Government bodies and private investors to help develop the early-stage New Zealand investment market and ultimately help early-stage New Zealand companies grow.

Auckland Unlimited:

Auckland Unlimited is Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s economic and cultural agency, formed by a merger of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) on 1 December 2020. The council-controlled organisation works to enrich the cultural and economic life of Tāmaki Makaurau, including driving investment and innovation, and supporting Auckland businesses to thrive.  

Science for Technological Innovation:

The Science for Technological Innovation Challenge (SfTI) is one of 11 National Science Challenges overseen by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and hosted Callaghan Innovation. The NSCs are a core part of the NZ government’s investment in science, with just over $680 million of funding over 10 years. SfTI’s mission is to grow a hi-tech Aotearoa New Zealand economy via the physical sciences and engineering. We design innovative processes that bring together our top scientists to work collaboratively with Māori and industry to address important missions, whilst investing in research that spans many different applications and industry sectors.


UniServices is a not-for-profit company of the University of Auckland that champions research and ideas with the power to change the world. From seeking out and bringing together partners in academic institutions, industry and government to build new knowledge and solutions through research; to whakatupu (nurturing) and commercialising the ideas and intellectual property that arise from the University of Auckland’s great minds, we act as the kaihono (those who join and link people to people, and people to projects) firmly entrenched in the ecosystem that bridges the world of academia with business, government and our communities.