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Which technologies and companies are leading the race to our sustainable future?

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The United Nations Sustainability Goals (UN SDGs) provide a roadmap for innovation and technology development that can support sustainable development worldwide. By addressing environmental, social, and economic challenges through innovative solutions, we can work towards a more sustainable and equitable future. Although there are 17 UN SDGs, this page is focused on providing exclusive insight on the following:

  • Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure – This goal aims to promote sustainable industrialisation and innovation, including the development of new technologies and infrastructure that are sustainable and resilient.
  •  Goal 13 Climate Action – This goal aims to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including through the development of new technologies and processes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy.

Patents play a critical role in driving innovation and supporting sustainable development.  Patents provide an indicator as to which companies are leading the way for innovative sustainable products and processes that benefit both people and the planet.

Sustainable Plastics

Mintel Sustainability Barometer 2022

Mintel Sustainability Barometer


The Cipher platform was instrumental in providing data to support consumer trends giant Mintel in producing their Sustainability Barometer for 2022.

A quote from the report’s author:

“Cipher’s patent analysis plays a crucial role in revealing who’s innovating and where and how that corresponds to both the solutions valued by consumers and the framework of Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN”.

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Sustainability and detergents: environmentally friendly innovation

We reviewed the patent owners in the Sustainable Detergents space, identifying:

  • the new technologies designed to produce innovative formulations
  • the more sustainable products aimed at reducing the industry’s environmental impact

Sustainability and detergents report

Eco washing lotions on a table

The Circular Economy: Sustainable Packaging

Improving the trajectory towards achieving circular economy targets requires a step-change in approach to sustainable packaging adoption across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs).

To track this progress, we analysed patent data to see the innovation landscape across a subset of plastic packaging alternatives.

Sustainable packaging report

Coloured plastic bottles

How can patent data be made actionable for the CTO office?

The CTO must choose which technologies will best enhance an organisation’s revenues. Substantial resources are invested in technology scouting and forecasting to both direct the selection of technologies and to assist the associated “buy v build” decisions. Trends in patented technology can support scouting and provide invaluable competitive intelligence to support this activity.

How can we identify new technology trends from patent data?

It is tempting to believe that because all patents (by legal definition) must be new, then all patent data reveals technology trends. While this is somewhat true, it’s not actionable. There are two dimensions to this. First, when an organisation moves into a new technology area. Patenting trends help forecast these strategic changes in direction. Secondly, when there is a notable trend in an established technology area. Cipher has developed new Machine Learning approaches to spotting what’s new from more of the same.


Top Innovators and Owners in sustainable plastic technologies

To mark World Environment Day 2023, Cipher’s internal sustainability classifiers were used to explore the key players contributing to sustainable plastic innovation in the 21st century

Our summary includes the racer reports below plus an analysis of patent activity in this area from 2000 to 2023.

21st Century Evolution of Sustainable Plastic Technology Trends

Sustainable Plastics – Inventions and innovators report


Sustainable plastics report

Our report includes:

  • The top invention owners in alternative sustainable plastic technologies worldwide
  • A weighted list of the leading sustainable plastic innovators – based on recent patenting activity by scale and overall exposure

Insights & Thought Leadership

Sustainability through a patent lens

Which patent innovations are helping to combat climate change? From packaging to batteries to electric vehicles, we look through a patent lens at sustainable technologies of the future.
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Innovation-led Sustainability

Episode 1 in Season 3 features Gregorio Ossola, Head of Corporate Solutions at one.five. Greg shared with us the importance of a data-led approach to sustainability.
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Biodegradable Alternatives to Plastics

Some 8 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced over the past 50 years. How is technology positively influencing the next 50 years and providing a more sustainable solution?
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Investing in the Future of Technology

Episode 10, Season 1 of Cipher Vision Podcast series is about Investing in the Future of Technology. The season finale features two of Cipher’s directors, Scott Bell and Stephen Halliday.
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Inventions & Innovators powering the Energy Transition

A detailed view of the leading innovators to watch based on recently-published inventions and applying weightings to technologies which enable the energy transition.
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Cipher has helped us answer strategic business questions specifically by presenting the data to us in a way aligns with our own view of the world.

Jared Engstrom, Head of Patent Development, Red Hat

Cipher Vision Podcast

Cipher’s monthly podcast, Cipher Vision is now into its third season.  Each episode has co-hosts Nigel Swycher (CEO) and Francesca Levoir (Head of Marketing) and a notable guest discuss an IP or patents-related topic.

Guests have covered a range of subjects, from valuation and sustainability through to diversity and machine learning.

Cipher Vision episodes are under 25 minutes and are ideal to listen to during a short break or journey.

Cipher Vision podcast index

Putting Passion in IP

Episode 8 in Season 3 features Anjanette Lecher, Director, Intellectual Asset Management at Corning Incorporated. She shared with us her love of intellectual property, discussing how to take a customer centric approach when analysing and presenting data, adopting the correct tools to support efficiency and visualisations. She also highlighted the importance of a diverse team and the need to make IP accessible.
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SDGs through a patent lens

Episode 7 in Season 3 features Marco Richter, Global Head of Customer Success at LexisNexis Intellectual Property. He highlights the important role that patents play in helping us to become more sustainable, discussing the benefit of measuring innovation in relation to the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).
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Flat, Fast and Focused

Episode 6 in Season 3 features Lorie Goins who shares with us how to approach innovation, by adopting a questioning, inclusive and analytical mindset, drawing on tools to form evidence-based decisions that enhance your business and IP strategy.
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Promoting SEPs Transparency

Episode 5 in the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Tim Pohlmann, CEO, LexisNexis IPlytics. He joins us to discuss the world of SEPs, from areas of conflict to new opportunities.
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Protecting Innovation with Director Vidal

Episode 4 in Season 3 features Director Kathi Vidal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who shares her thoughts on how we can improve the innovation ecosystem.
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The Patent Market

Episode 3 in Season 3 features Kent Richardson, CEO, Richardson Oliver insights joined us to share the inside scoop on the patent market, from who is buying and selling and the price, to what the future holds.
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With Cipher you can…

Portfolio Optimisation connecting cogs

Optimise your portfolio

Ensure you have the right portfolio to meet your strategic patenting objectives.

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Competitive Intelligence

Gather competitor intelligence

Understand who’s doing what by automating patent to technology mapping.

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Cross Licensing

Model cross licensing

Combine patent and revenue data to determine rational licensing outcomes.

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Manage your budget

Justify patent budgets and communicate the impact of your investment.

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Conduct due diligence

Automate manual reviews for efficient execution of M&A and licensing transactions.

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Tackle inbound patent assertion

Be prepared with evidence to create a fast and effective threat assessment.

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Benchmark your portfolio

Assess your portfolio in comparison to other owners through your technology lens.

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Monetise your portfolio

Identify opportunities to create value through licensing or sale of patent assets.

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Predict technology trends

Track new technologies and discover the unknown owners of future innovation.

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Create Risk Mitigation Strategies

Understand the materiality of your threats to define your risk mitigation strategy.

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Improve your patent strategy now

Speak to the Cipher team today.

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