Cowen and MassRobotics Report on the Increasing Role of Robotics in Achieving Climate Goals

MassRobotics and Cowen find that while most manufacturers expect to use robots to aid sustainability efforts, fewer than half have done so to date.

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MassRobotics and Cowen surveyed manufacturers about their plans to use robotics toward sustainability efforts.
Cowan, an investment and analyst firm, and the MassRobotics cluster have surveyed manufacturers and end users to learn how robotics is part of their sustainability strategies.

Cowen Inc. and MassRobotics yesterday announced a research report on the increasing role robotics is playing in helping companies achieve climate goals. Joe Giordano, a chartered financial analyst and expert in diversified industrials, automation, and robotics at Cowen, led the “Ahead of the Curve Series” report. It incorporated a survey from MassRobotics that polled manufacturers and end users to understand where robotics is positioned within their climate toolkit.

“The robotic technologies we explore in this report are maximizing the output (GDP) per unit of carbon and minimizing the carbon needed to achieve a targeted level of activity,” Giordano said. “While the world is getting better at producing and transacting more efficiently, we are bumping up against hard caps of actual gross carbon output. This will ultimately require significant new technologies and/or changes in behavior.”

Tom Ryden, executive director of MassRobotics, added: “Robotics is a critical element of production and fulfillment and has a significant role in ensuring demand is met in a carbon-efficient manner. We see solutions being evaluated in a more holistic, ESG [environmental, social, and governance]-centric fashion and viewed as tools to help accomplish climate goals. For example, just one robotics application in e-commerce could reduce carbon output by more than 10 million metric tons.”

MassRobotics reports survey findings

According to Cowen and MassRobotics, more than 90% of respondents expect to use or develop robotics to help them achieve climate change-related objectives. However, only 44% have deployed such systems to date, suggesting much of the opportunity lies ahead.

Nearly 75% of respondents expect that current and potential customers will discuss climate change in their conversations going forward, said the report.

About half of survey participants are actively working with climate systems providers—73% of end users and 45% of manufacturers—  though the interest level is significantly higher, indicating an upward trajectory.

MassRobotics is a collaborative effort of Boston-area engineers, rocket scientists, and entrepreneurs. The organization's mission is to provide entrepreneurs and innovative robotics and automation startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test, and commercialize their systems.

A similar survey of 100 industrial managers found that a “prepare to repair” robot strategy can also aid sustainability efforts amid rising energy prices. It was conducted by the organizers of the Automatica trade fair next month in Munich.

Cowen supports robotics and sustainability

Founded in 1918, Cowen provides investment banking, research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, outsourced trading, and commission management services. The New York-based company also has an investment management division, which offers actively managed alternative investment products.

Cowen has a dedicated robotics practice that spans investment banking, capital markets, and research. The company hosts an ongoing “Seed to Scale” webinar series that discusses broad thematic issues in automation. Since July 2019, Cowen and MassRobotics have partnered to bring together their extensive market knowledge in the emerging areas of robotics and artificial intelligence.

In February, Cowen was named winner of “Best ESG Research” at the ESG Investing Awards 2022. It claimed that it was the first major Wall Street firm to place company-specific ESG Scores on the cover of its research reports.

Analysts develop ESG expertise

Cowen analysts Marc Bianchi, Thomas Boyes, Gabe Daoud, David Deckelbaum, Jason Gabelman, Brian Holland, and Jeff Osborne and their teams cover a full spectrum of ESG and sustainability stocks, including alternative energy (such as solar and wind), battery technology, biofuels and renewable fuels, electric vehicles and mobility technology, electric vehicle charging, industrial gases and equipment, lithium and rare earth materials, smart grid, and sustainable food and farming.

In 2021, Cowen expanded its Washington Research Group with the hire of John Miller, who focuses exclusively on analyzing ESG and sustainability policy, regulation, and legislation. The company’s Washington Research Group has consistently ranked as one of the leading providers of policy analysis to institutional investors by third-party polls.

Through the Ahead of the Curve Series, Cowen’s flagship research offering, the company's analysts have written numerous reports that focus on ESG and sustainability, including the Future of Mobility Primer, the Sustainable Energy & Industrial Technology Primer, and a landmark, seven-report series on energy transition.

Cowen also hosts numerous events connecting investors and innovators, including its Mobility Disruption Conference; Industrial Technology, Robotics & Sustainability Conference; and its annual Energy Conference. It also hosts an ongoing conference call series focused on energy transition, as well as a podcast on carbon capture. In addition, it is hosting a startup challenge at Automate 2022 in Detroit next month.

Joseph Giordano, Diversified Industrials, Automation and Robotics Analyst discusses how labor shortages, consumer, and logistics requirements have impacted demand for robotics and investment trends in the sector.

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MassRobotics and Cowen surveyed manufacturers about their plans to use robotics toward sustainability efforts.

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