A guest blog by Felicity Jones from LiveDiligence, Bristol-based SaaS startup (currently hiring!).

Back in November, I took a rather unusual holiday. The destination: Glasgow. The accommodation: a caravan park on the edge of town. The accessories: umbrella, protest signs.

Not a well known winter-sun trip, I grant you. Yet it had the momentous weight of history all over it.

It was COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and on national home turf too: I felt I had to be there, to learn, volunteer, show support.

The IPCC, a leading international body, says that climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe, with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes. Greta is more punchy: “this is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.”

Action is essential. We need to invest $125trn to avoid the worst physical impacts of climate change, according to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero.

Hidden barriers

But there’s a big problem lurking in the background, one which tech is ripe to transform. It’s hidden, behind-the-scenes, not consumer-facing. That problem is our Net Zero investment process.

Let’s take an example Net Zero project: a solar farm. For this solar farm to be built, it must first be financed. Financiers require a robust review of risks (’due diligence’) before they’ll commit capital.

The problem is that this due diligence process is flawed:

  1. Risk reviews are often slow and costly: Information is fragmented across documents, spreadsheets, data rooms, emails, messengers and third-party solutions – creating friction, inhibiting collaboration.
  2. Wider data benefits are missed. Handover to asset management is messy; data is siloed and hard to access.
  3. Risk management can be patchy: Key risks are missed or surface late in the process – including ESG (environmental, social, governance).

The result: a process that should take three weeks often takes three months.

Enter tech

But we can act to address this.

The legal world is already rolling out online automated contract generation and review, deal management, dataroom+ solutions, eSigning and Conditions Precedent (CP) checklists.

More widely, the solution lies in bringing everything into one place online, helping users to structure their data, and promoting live, agile workflows – all with banking grade security. We can use automated dashboards to ensure absolute clarity on risk status at all times – and unlock downstream benefits for asset management too.

Tech makes this possible through high performance, low latency web technologies: at LiveDiligence, we use React.js for dynamic page rendering and Redux for efficient state management with large datasets. Websockets technology enables our entire app to update changes real-time for all users.

I like to think of this as bringing Marie Kondo to the investment world: creating order, so that investors can immediately see what they need, in a pleasingly neat working environment. And yes, sparking a little joy too.

By getting this right, we unlock quick, clear, collaborative transactions. We accelerate investment of robust Net Zero infrastructure – wind farms, solar farms, battery storage, EV-charging, hydrogen, rail and more. Faster financing drives faster buildout, and ultimately faster carbon savings.

Act now for Net Zero

So let’s get money into Net Zero infrastructure and companies more quickly, more responsibly. We face a climate emergency. We’ve not got a moment to waste.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.