Blog 08 Apr 2024 

Impactful investment: Investing in sustainable technology for a better future

What is impactful sustainable investment? And how does investing in disruptive technologies deliver impact for a better future? Tom Hillier tell us more.

Tom Hillier

Tom Hillier

Investment Associate

The concept of impactful investment is simple: investment into a company which aims to address social or environmental challenges.

So how does CPI Enterprises align with this concept?

CPI is an impact-focused innovation company with a clear vision: to build a healthier society and a cleaner environment. CPI Enterprises, the venture capital and investor engagement arm of CPI, officially launched in 2019 with a purpose of investing in companies that share our vision for a cleaner future and are developing innovative technologies or solutions to help tackle the greatest global challenges. 

As a social enterprise, part-funded by Innovate UK, CPI has spent 20 years accelerating impactful innovation through technical support to companies. In more recent years, our strategic focus has been in the fields of AgriFoodTech, Energy, HealthTech, materials and pharmaceuticals. 

Developing tech for good is in our DNA. Our people at CPI share the same passion for creating meaningful and lasting positive societal, environmental, and economic impact through innovation. 

Delivering impact

We’ve always been passionate about developing tech for good, but it was in 2014 that we began to embed impact into our mission and culture. By 2023, we had developed an Impact Framework that we could use to measure, analyse, and report the impact of our innovation support. 

The impact framework segments the impact of our work into industry support, strategic leadership, and workforce development. The kinds of impacts we’re measuring at CPI include products and processes launched to market, the number of industrial landscapes transformed, changes to policy and funding, increased R&D expenditure, and the increased availability of skilled workforces across the sectors we work in. 

Investing impact

CPI catalyses the adoption of advanced technologies and manufacturing solutions to create lasting global impact. CPI Enterprises seeks to extend that impact beyond technical support and into the realms of investment and investor engagement, helping early-stage deep tech companies to bring their ideas to market for the benefit of people, places and our planet. Thus, we are actively investing in emerging technologies focused on climate tech, clean tech, health tech, food & agritech, and materials science. 

Impact investing gained traction in 2004, although was then considered to be Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing. Since then, many investment firms have taken a keen interest in impact investments. With an increasing spotlight on solving the climate crisis, as well as legislation changes and growing consumer appetite, investors are now, more than ever, concerned with the ultimate outcomes of impact investments. 

In contrast, CPI Enterprises has been an impact investor from the outset. The impact that CPI Enterprises has in its portfolio businesses will, in most cases, outlast the impression that CPI has. From a portfolio management and investment perspective, CPI Enterprises will create impact for many years to come, as board members, active investors, or advisors. Our impact isn’t exclusive to the businesses that we work with. It’s on regions; bringing in foreign investment, increasing job opportunities and growing innovation ecosystems. 

Our investments speak for themselves. Alternative proteins could help to reduce the reliance on livestock which accounts for a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. This is why we invest in and support MarraBio, a platform technology to produce engineered multimeric proteins to develop products for a pipeline of applications like low-cost growth factors for cultivated meat production. 

Qkine, another of our portfolio businesses, develop animal-free protein innovation and manufacture growth factors for stem cell and organoid culture, regenerative medicine and cellular agriculture. Qkine’s unique optimised proteins are designed to address fundamental biological, translational and scalability challenges. 

Scaling up impact

CPI Enterprises’ portfolio comprises businesses who have already been identified as being suitably aligned with CPI’s capabilities and strategy: businesses with a focus on sustainable technologies, healthtech or positive impact. 

DEScycle is one such business. The global electronic waste market is a large, addressable, and fast-growing market, currently valued at $63 billion, with a projected value of $144 billion by 2028. Annually, over 50 million tonnes of e‑waste are produced with just 20% of that recycled. DEScycle have developed a disruptive metal processing technique using Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) to extract gold, nickel and other precious metals from electronic waste. This allows for the extraction and recycling of metals far more efficiently and with far less environmental impact than traditional metal processing and smelting.

CPI Enterprises’ investment enabled Descycle to leverage CPI’s formulation assets and expertise during its feasibility study, reducing capital expenditure, gaining support for growth and enabling progress to the next phase of its innovation journey.

If you’d like to find out more about how CPI Enterprises’ supports innovative deep tech innovation technologies, reach out to me below. 

Let’s innovate together

Speak to a member of our team today

Contact us
Tom Hillier

Tom Hillier

Investment Associate


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CPI ensures that great inventions gets the best opportunity to become a successfully marketed product or process. We provide industry-relevant expertise and assets, supporting proof of concept and scale up services for the development of your innovative products and processes.

CPI is your innovation partner to make your ideas a reality.