1st Edition

Eco Tech Investing in Regenerative Futures

By Trond Undheim Copyright 2024
    216 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The book is a seminal contribution from a leading futurist who, over the past three decades, has explored each of the most disruptive forces shaping our world today, including emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, venture investments, and industrial manufacturing. Eco Tech brings all this thinking together, fusing insight from thought leaders with the author’s own considerable experience, to explore scenarios for 2050 and discuss eco-effectiveness as an established practice for governments, corporations, startups, and individuals.

    Trond Arne Undheim begins by providing a brief history of sustainability and provides simple definitions for key terms including eco-efficiency, life cycle analysis, industrial ecology, cleantech, net zero, climate change, biodiversity, and carbon capture, which will enable the reader to engage confidently in eco-discussions. Undheim also explores the ambitions of regeneration and offers a new conceptual framework to facilitate future discussion around sustainable innovation. He applies this framework to green, ambitious startups and examines the way these ventures will lead the way towards an eco-effective society, drawing on stories from exciting founders who are already changing the world. Finally, the book takes a deep dive into emerging eco-innovations, including batteries, bioplastics, distributed energy, space tech, and futuristic megaprojects. The book contains clear directions on how to progress through adversity and avoid returning to the status quo.

    The book will be an essential guide for executives, sustainability professionals, and energy tech investors who are deeply concerned with the future and are prepared to both significantly invest in it and make behavioral changes to foster regenerative development. It will also be a great resource for students and scholars of sustainable investing and innovation.

    PART 1 The future

    1 Scenarios 2050

    2 A regenerative investment framework

    PART 2 The past

    3 Insufficient non-financial commitments

    4 The state of play in eco-investments

    5 From deep ecology via industrial ecology to the regeneration fallacy

    6 Failures of dominant actors

    PART 3 Scaling challenges

    7 Re-centralizing the self as an environmental agent

    8 Energy is not the issue

    9 Which game changers really matter?

    10 Is gigascale the ideal?

    11 Eco-flavors: Corporate social responsibility, eco-efficiency, and carbon accounting

    12 Carbon capture illusions

    PART 4 Solutions

    13 Eco-effective commandments

    14 Good future directions

    15 Conclusion: The eco-efficient past, our eco-effective present, and regenerative futures


    Trond Arne Undheim is a futurist, scholar, podcaster, and venture partner, and an expert on the evolution of technology and society. He is a research scholar in Global Systemic Risk, Innovation, and Policy at the Stanford Existential Risk Initiative (SERI) at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University. He is also a venture partner at Antler, and a cofounder of technology foresight consulting firm Yegii. Formerly with Tulip Interfaces, Hitachi Ventures, MIT, WPP, Oracle, and the EU, he is the co-author (with Natan Linder) of Augmented Lean (2022), and is the author of Health Tech (2021), Future Tech (2021), Pandemic Aftermath (2020), Disruption Games (2020), and Leadership From Below (2008). He hosts the Futurized podcast and is a Forbes columnist in manufacturing. Trond’s work has featured in a variety of business, industrial, and mainstream media, including The Boston Globe, NPR’s Cognoscenti, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, IndustryWeek, and MIT News. He holds a Ph.D. on the future of work and artificial intelligence and is based between Wellesley, MA, and Palo Alto, CA.

    "A powerful statement from a systems thinker who, navigating future challenges, finds investment potential in the equilibrium between our ecology, economy and communities."

    Alan Moore, author, craftsman, innovator, Founder, Design School for Beautiful Business

    "The eco-tech revolution, which now needs to be driven forward at a scale and a speed that few even begin to comprehend, is absolutely necessary to the survival of humankind into the next century. But it is absolutely not sufficient. With his deep knowledge and decades of first-hand experience, Trond Arne Undheim helps his readers navigate their way through this fascinating and increasingly controversial territory."

    Jonathon Espie Porritt, 2nd Baronet, CBE, environmentalist, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future

    "This important book strikes a necessary balance between economics and regeneration on the path towards a flourishing future."

    John R. Ehrenfeld, author of The Right Way To Flourish, and former Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment

    "This remarkable book looks beyond policies and technology to the wider range of changes in individual conduct, and in the organization of society that may be needed to meet the existential challenge of climate change and of the destruction of nature and imagines a range of outcomes."

    James G. Wilson, Lord Moran, Chairman and Managing Partner, Source2

    "Investing in an ecologically sustainable future can be immensely rewarding for the investor and for the planet. In a complex and rapidly evolving sector, EcoTech contributes to investor understanding of this vitally important topic."

    Bruce Usher, Professor, Columbia Business School, author of Investing in the Era of Climate Change