February 28, 2024

Clean technology (cleantech) encompasses a wide range of technologies and processes that support decarbonization and drive long-term sustainable growth. In the last few years, cleantech has expanded beyond renewable energy and zero-emission transportation, with a wide range of sectors — from agriculture to construction — leveraging innovative cleantech solutions to drive efficiencies, reduce emissions and transition towards a low-carbon economy. 

Cleantech is one of the most powerful and effective ways you can achieve your climate targets and prosper in a low-carbon economy. Implementing new ways of doing things may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.  

To help you on this journey, we’ve broken down what we call the Cleantech Implementation Strategy into four essential and interconnected steps. Read on for tips on how you can embrace innovation, become more efficient, and set yourself up for success in the clean economy.  


Step 1: Develop Your Cleantech Roadmap 

This document becomes the map and compass, guiding an organization through each phase of implementation — from prep to execution. Developing a cleantech roadmap is an important first step, as it outlines the sequence of activities, timeframes, and milestones that are critical to successfully integrating clean technologies into your operations. This document will guide your organization through each phase and ensure that no step is missed. As you gather more intel and data and learn from your implementation journey, don’t be afraid to revisit your plan and adapt as needed. Revisiting and adapting your roadmap and action plan allows organizations to remain agile and make changes in response to technological advancements, shifts in market dynamics, and/or changes in your regulatory environment. Being able to adapt is crucial in the fast-evolving cleantech landscape, where new solutions and opportunities emerge regularly. 


Step 2: Select the Technology and Deployment Structure  

Each organization’s technology needs are unique, and identifying the right technology and deployment approach is pivotal. 

This is the exciting part! Each organization’s needs are different. Some may require significant development and testing before deployment, while others may seek a plug-and-play or off-the-shelf solution.   

To help guide the selection, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Do you seek to lower your carbon footprint? Improve air quality? Reduce costs and resource consumption? All the above? Reflect on the operation of the technology itself and how that fits into your current organizational ecosystem — what processes might need to change to ensure a smooth transition?  

Initiating pilot projects, engaging in iterative testing, and conducting scalability assessments are crucial steps in this phase. These activities allow organizations to validate the effectiveness of the technology in their specific context, identify potential issues early on, and make necessary adjustments before a full-scale rollout. This is particularly important for ensuring that the technology selected can be smoothly integrated into existing operations without disrupting workflow or productivity.             


Step 3: Identify Funding and Financing Opportunities 

The initial investment required to implement cleantech solutions can be substantial, making the task of financial planning and management a cornerstone of any successful cleantech implementation project. It’s not just about having the funds in place, it’s about strategically aligning and earmarking those funds with the project’s goals and timelines so that every dollar spent moves the implementation closer to success. 

Organizations should cast a wide net to identify and secure diverse funding and financing opportunities. Besides securing the internal budget for the project, this journey often leads to tapping into an array of external sources, including federal and provincial grants specifically designed to support clean technology and sustainability projects. These grants can provide a significant financial boost, reducing the burden on the organization’s resources. Beyond direct governmental grants, tax incentives and credits offer another pathway to financial security, allowing organizations to recoup some of the costs associated with their cleantech investments. 

Moreover, the role of private sector partnerships and collaborations, or private-public partnerships, cannot be overstated. Not only are they beneficial for securing grant funds, but they can also help organizations access critical expertise and know-how, as well as asset sharing. 


Step 4: Secure Internal Buy-In 

Ensuring that there is internal buy-in for cleantech solutions will be the glue that holds all the other steps together. Without the support of your internal team, even the most meticulously planned strategy paired with the latest and greatest technology can face significant hurdles and risk remaining as an idea that never took off.  

Below is our checklist for securing internal buy-in and setting up your organization for success. 

Note that not every bullet point needs to be checked from the beginning; instead, these questions can be used to identify capacity gaps and gauge your organization’s readiness to move forward. 

  • Culture: Has your organization developed and nurtured a culture that prioritizes sustainability? 
  • Strategy alignment: Do your organization’s cleantech goals align seamlessly with the organization’s broader business objectives? 
  • Corporate governance: Has your organization integrated sustainability into its corporate governance frameworks? 
  • Budget allocation: Are funds strategically allocated and earmarked for your cleantech implementation project? 
  • Change management: Is your organization prepared for the transition and, in some cases, for a new way of doing business with a robust change management plan? 
  • Skill sets: Has your organization invested in the necessary training to equip your team with the skills required for piloting, demonstrating or implementing new cleantech? 
  • Executive champions: Have executive champions been identified and empowered to lead the charge in implementing new cleantech? 
  • Governance/incentives: Are there clear governance structures and incentives to promote and reward new and innovative solutions?  
  • Procurement: Does your organization’s procurement process reflect and support its sustainability objectives, and what is its flexibility for risk?  
  • Technology evaluation: Does your organization have the appropriate in-house evaluation expertise or need outside collaboration to identify the most suitable technology for your needs? 


These considerations underscore the importance of a holistic approach to cleantech implementation. They ensure that an organization’s journey towards cleantech implementation is underpinned by a strong foundation of internal support, strategic clarity, and operational readiness, setting the stage for impactful and successful outcomes. 


Work with Delphi to chart your course 

If your organization is considering the next steps on your sustainability journey and would like some support, Delphi’s Innovation and Cleantech team can be your guide. In addition to Delphi’s full suite of climate and sustainability services, we also have specialized expertise in innovation & cleantech. We’re uniquely set up to help accelerate your organization’s decarbonization journey and our team brings a wealth of knowledge, tools, and strategies to ensure that your implementation plan is not just a concept but a reachable destination.  


Joseph Mosca is a Senior Analyst and Kristine O’Rielly is Director of Innovation and Cleantech at Delphi. Interested in more information on how your organization can reach its corporate sustainability, net-zero, and ESG goals by leveraging cleantech and innovation? Contact Joseph at jmosca@delphi.ca or Kristine at korielly@delphi.ca.