Introduction to the Climate Venture Map

The year is 2030. People in Carbondale, Illinois have embraced The Climate Economy, where businesses and lifestyles are good for the climate, the economy, and humanity. Everyone who can work has a job paying living wages and offering healthcare benefits. Community gardens and local farms make the city a destination for foodies and trainees for local food production. A massive recycling, composting and repurposing maker space combined with a biogas digester make the city a zero-waste leader. Solar panels provide the city with 100% clean, renewable energy. The community is a model for economic development and the people have the highest rate of life satisfaction and lowest rate of poverty in the country.

This is a beautiful vision for our small town of Carbondale, is it not? With the Climate Venture Map, this is always where we start: our vision of the future. From there we commence on a journey that brings us to our Target Actions, or behaviors that result in direct improvements in people’s lives, our nurturing environment, and our method of productivity. After we determine the target action we want people to take, we have to understand the cause of the problem action and readjust motivation, ability and trigger to get to the target action, and identify our early adopters. Then we look at what we need or need to do to get it done. Then we do it! That’s how we cause the change we want to see. We use the climate venture map as our guide or compass. The CVM is based in part on The Natural Step’s Funnel Metaphor.

Traditional business schools teach about economics and supply and demand, producing at the lowest cost and selling at the highest price possible, and as much as possible. In order to switch from an economy that destroys the environment, considers death from things like pollution acceptable, and results in big financial rewards for only a few, to one where everyone thrives authentically, we’re changing the goal posts. What we’re doing here is different: our goal is to cause positive change and we develop our activities around that. The Climate Venture Map will help people, businesses and organizations set up new “climate ventures,” which can be anything from a community group effort, to attempts to change practices in an existing business, to a completely new business. 

The climate ventures result in and reward what we want, which is Target Actions, or individual human behaviors that result in learning about or actually carrying out emissions reductions, increasing community resilience or increasing human connections. We’d like to be able to make our target actions verifiable, so that we can quantify and reward people for specific actions that reduce emissions and can be credited to the person. We won’t always need points or rewards to get people to take target actions, but for now we want to make it fun, easy and understandable. Instead of doom and gloom and giving up, we’re moving towards a fabulous future. On the Climate Economy Action Network, https://All4.Earth, people can earn points for taking target actions on the site, such as completing a course, participating in an online group, sharing content and getting others to join. You can also learn about other target actions you can take offline and how to get involved in local climate ventures.

To visualize and plan out business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity, we have developed the following unique visual representation:

Climate Venture Map 2021

The Climate Venture Map (CVM)

When you look at the CVM:

  1. Start with the green “Vision” and “Target Action” and how it is good for the climate, economy and humanity. Then pop over to the “Problem Action,” and why it’s bad for the climate, economy and humanity. The goal of our behavior change is to open up that funnel on the right, where instead of using everything up and causing pollution, we’re using less and able to sustain life on Earth. 
  2. Getting through the tunnel is like “crossing the chasm” from our problem action to our target action. But for this exercise we work backwards: start with target action we want to take,  of envision our ideal group who would take the action, provide motivation, ability and trigger, then define our “chasm group,” or the early adopters we will first be able to convince to stop doing the problem action and  move towards the target action.
  3. Then we determine our priorities, inflows and outflows and make sure we have the help and resources we need to cause the change.
  4. Execute. Carry out the plan. Share it!

In The Climate Economy, we share our climate ventures so that others in communities with similar goals and characteristics can get ideas of how to make changes in their own communities. We want to spread our climate ventures far and wide. They’re going to provide productivity and jobs in each community where they’re adopted. We’re not hoarding our ideas to create monopolies or competitive advantage. We’re sharing so everyone, everywhere can thrive authentically by participating in climate ventures and taking target actions.

Using the Climate Venture Map

A great way to run through the climate venture map is with a mind map. A downloadable template (a “.mind” file) for building a Climate Venture Map using MindMeister is available at this link. You can set up a free account on for up to three mind maps. When you log into your new account, upload the Climate Venture Map Template. Start with the Vision, hit tab and enter your vision. Then go to Target Action, hit tab and enter your target action, etc., through all the steps. Every time you hit tab on a node you add a new subitem for that node. You can move nodes; make sure you select “free” format instead of right-aligned or other choices.

Another way to set up a climate venture is to use the template on Youth Climate Economy Ventures. If you want to set up an account on MakeProjects, you can use the YCEV template and replace the text there with your own text and images. Voila, climate venture! Be sure to add your target actions on!

Step 1: The Change We Need and The Current Situation. Start with the green “Vision” and “Target Action” and how it is good for the climate, economy and humanity. Then pop over to the “Problem Action,” and why it’s bad for the climate, economy and humanity. The goal of our behavior change is to open up that funnel, where instead of using everything up and causing pollution, we’re using less and able to sustain life on Earth. 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Explain your idea and how your target action reopens the funnel. Include answers to the following questions:

  1. What inspired you to start this climate venture?
  2. What is your vision of the future in relation to this climate venture?
  3. What do you feel is the target action people should be taking? Why is it good for the climate, economy and humanity (opening the funnel)? Can we quantify it and reward it?
  4. What is the problem action that people need to stop taking? Why is is bad for the climate, economy and humanity (closing the funnel)? How much better is our target action compared to the problem action?

Key to remember for this step: Every change for the better is good, no matter how big or how small. If you need to make this the “first step” towards your vision, that’s good progress that you and others can build upon later.

Step 2: Your Strategy for Causing the Change. To get through the tunnel from the problem action to the target action, we have to define our ideal group, behavior motivation, abilities and triggers, and our chasm group. 

From our vision of the future, look back to our current situation. Determine what steps we need to take to close the gap between the current non-optimal behavior and our target actions. It feels like you’re going backwards but it needs to be done this way so we’re not accepting the limits and drawbacks of our current situation, but rather we’re re-creating the system and the situation we need. We can be as general or specific as we need to be. As a guide, we start with our Target Action at the top and work our way down to the Problem Action.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

Answer the questions. Replace text in italics with your text.  

Target Action: 
Ideal Group:How is the perfect group defined that we want to see taking our target action? This could be “everyone.”
Motivation:Is there a reward or something that will keep people moving towards the completion of the behavior? This could be points on, an award certificate or a lower electricity bill.
Ability:How do we enable people to easily complete the behavior? We have to keep it as simple as possible. 
Trigger: What will “prompt” people to take action? This could be to fulfill some kind of need or desire or a reminder.
Chasm Group:What is the first, most likely group of people we will be able to influence to adopt this behavior? Define this group and how we reach them. 
Problem Action: 

Depending on your target action(s), you may have one or several of these analyses. It is your idea, so you can keep it simple or make it as complex as you want. Get your team working if you need to. This may change as you go along also. Don’t sweat it, just adapt.

Key to remember for this step: Every action that people take is caused by the things that came before it. So our goal is to create the conditions so people will take our target action.

Step 3: Determine Priorities, Inflows and Outflows. Now that we know the change we want to see and the behavior we need to change, we have to plan out how to actually make it happen. We’re completing the circle of the climate venture map. We have a different kind of goal than a traditional business’s product or service, but we still need to plan it out. There’s value in us creating this target action, and in people taking it, and this is only going to increase as we start to pass new laws on things like prices on carbon emissions. We need to prioritize our own activities and make sure we have the help and resources we need to cause the change.

“The growth story of the 21st century can unlock unprecedented opportunities of a strong, sustainable, inclusive economy. The benefits of climate action are greater than ever before, while the costs of inaction continue to mount. It is time for a decisive shift to a new climate economy.” – New Climate Economy 2018 Report

Go through your list in #2 table and highlight priorities. Make a table and list priorities, as well as inflows (what we need or consume) and outflows (what we provide or produce). A positive flow should be maintained, in that the overall value of outflows should be great that inflows in order to sustain the venture. Once we complete our table we can easily define our Mission. This should also advise the marketing, sales and financial plans.

Priorities:Inflows (what we consume):Outflows (what we produce):

Key to remember for this step: Whatever we do or create to cause the change we want to see has to be good for the climate, economy AND humanity simultaneously. And, we’re not alone, we can ask for help if we need it.

Step 4: Execute. The map has done it’s work, now we want to see what’s going to become or what has become of our efforts, depending on how far we’ve gotten. 

Our job, now, yours and mine, is to create a powerful movement for a new economy based on the core human values of human dignity, the common good, and stewardship. These values are resonant with the ancient wisdom we have forgotten. – L. Hunter Lovins

Here is what we recommend as the next steps on the Youth Climate Economy Ventures template:

  1. Video: Tell the world or just your chasm group about your project in 1-2 minutes. This is your opportunity to talk to your audience face-to-face. Introduce yourself and explain your inspiration, what your target action is, why it’s important and how you’re going to get people to take it and how they can take it. Include as much information as you can to inspire and guide people to your target action. Prepare a simple script and time yourself before recording. Speak clearly and slowly. Use visual aids or pictures if possible. Upload your video to YouTube. Please set the privacy to either “Unlisted” (people with the link can view) or “Public” (everyone can view). If you set it to “Private”, people won’t be able to watch your video. Use the link button in the image area above to add the link to your video.
  2. Do you have any other information, works of art, stories, diagrams, images, business plans, or links that people will need to know about in order to take your target action? Add them here.
  3. Post your climate venture and target actions on the Exchange so people are aware of them and can take them.

Key to remember for this step: This is where we’re taking everything we learned in our climate venture map and making it real. Be yourself, let your passion and interests shine through.

Review TCE’s white paper “Using the Climate Venture Map to Encourage and Reward Target Actions” for more about the Climate Venture Map, its components, and how it’s used.