Sustainability Landscape 2022

Six of Germany’s leading VCs, namely Acton, Ananda Impact Ventures, Planet A, Plug and Play, Speedinvest and UVC Partners, have joined forces with the Climate Club of the CDTM to create the Sustainability Landscape 2022. Together we had a look at seven investment categories in the area of sustainability, impact and climate. The landscape shows you the relation between invested capital and CO2 impact of the category. For example, you will learn that the construction attraced relatively little funding in comparison to its potential to reduce emissons. Energy and mobility on the other hand successfully attracted investors attention and funding.
Dive in and learn more!

Investment Categories

If you want to dive deeper into the investment hypothesis, click on on of the categories below. We created a roadmap for each of them, designed to showcase the most promising areas for investment over the next decade and highlight start-ups working on breakthrough solutions.

Food, Agriculture & Forestry

Since Food, Agriculture and Forestry are naturally conservative sectors, sustainable solutions offer huge possibilities. How we engage with our environment and what we eat will be re-defined.

Mobility & Transport

Mobility, transportation and logistics account for around 16% of global Co2 emissions. With further growth of global supply chains and e-commerce, emissions are bound to increase unless technological solutions help to mitigate this growth.


Generating energy for residential homes, industry, transportation etc. accounts for around 73% of global CO2 emissions. Decarbonisation of energy production, storage and transportation is one of the key bottlenecks for a net zero economy.

Water & Waste

By 2025, half of the population might not have sufficient access to clean water. Additionally, more waste is produced every year which pollutes our seas, landscapes and cities. Finding solutions to manage these issues will be essential.


Remediation efforts touch upon all other industries and origins of carbon emissions as the focus is on reducing, offsetting or sequestering emissions. Reforestation or regenerative agriculture projects offer the potential for carbon credits, sequestered carbon can be used as an input factor for the building industry etc. 


In terms of its impact potential, construction and real estate is a heavily underfunded sector. While the construction industry is responsible for over 20% of global emissions, it only receives 4% of all climate tech investment. Only a fraction of the investments go into start-ups that focus on hardware models.  

Manufacturing & Industry

Manufacturing and industry generate 30% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, with the top three emitting industries, namely iron & steel, non-metallic minerals (cement, glass, lime), and chemicals & plastics, accounting for 70% of the emissions. 


Based on the European Green Deal, we have mapped out seven sustainability verticals. For each vertical, the investors identified those sub-categories in which they expect innovative throughputs. We then sorted them as short-term (1-2 years), mid-term (3-5 years) and moonshot (>5 years), based on the time the solutions or products will be at their maximal scalability potential, and hence an interesting investment opportunity for VCs. A selection of Europe-based start-ups accompanies each sub-category.

However, we do not style ourselves as having a crystal ball. We believe the value of the Sustainability Landscape is to set out what might be possible over the next decade. With time ticking away to reverse global CO2 emissions and halt the climate crisis, it is crucial that action is taken in the present as well as in the years ahead. As such, both scalable short-term solutions and moonshot opportunities are of equal importance.

Our Sustainability Landscape 2022 displays each Green Deal category based on its impact potential measured in CO2 emissions, with data sourced from PWC’s 2021 climate tech report. For each sector, we have chosen the three most promising categories and selected exemplary start-ups in each category that excite us today.

This overview is not pulled out of thin air, but was informed by a deep dive in each category, showing the investment areas, timeline, and most promising start-ups in each space. Sub-categories that are empty indicate those areas we believe have potential for innovation to come and entrepreneurs of tomorrow to get active.

However, having identified many incredible teams working on sustainable solutions, we also wanted to share our start-up longlist via an Airtable database.

Please bear in mind that these conclusions are inevitably subjective. We know that there are many more great purpose-driven innovators out there who have not been mentioned. Feel free to give us a heads-up on the ones missing!

If you want to be part of the long list (and potentially be highlighted in our Sustainability Landscape 2023), please click here.

Who are we?

In short, we are Centerlings passionate about Climate Action. Because we were tired of just reading about climate change, we set out to do something against it. Together we hope to contribute to limiting the climate catastrophe and have some fun doing so!

The CDTM Climate Club has its origins in the Book Club. After reading “The Uninhabitable Earth – Life after Warming” by David Wallace-Wells back in 2018, we saw it as our responsibility to actively shape our future ourselves. The Climate Club was founded. Since then we gained in members and traction. On a semester basis, the Climate Club works on projects that are defined at the beginning of each semester.

What are we up to?

Emission Baseline

As a first step toward net-zero operations, we need a baseline to compare future emissions. We chose 2019 as our reference year and footprinted CDTM’s carbon emissions to create transparency.

Green Taskforces

Taskforces are an essential part of CDTM organizational structure. The Climate Club is working on incorporating sustainability as a core part of their DNA.


We are gathering interesting sustainability related content for centerlings and the community and spread this content via the CDTM Website and social media.

Market Map

Together with HV, Plug&Play, Acton and Ananda created a market map of sustainable startups in the DACH area.

Special thanks to

Felix Ferstl (Ananda Impact Ventures)
Tom Rentschler (Acton)
Sophia Escheu, Pal Habsburg-Lothringen (Speedinvest)
Carolin Wais, Philipp Hodl Hofheinz (Plug and Play)
Jana Petry, Lisa Liu, Nicolas Klein (UVC Partners)
Florian Schabus (Planet A)
Lisa Mangertseder, Nejira Hadzalic, Max Prokopp (CDTM💚)