Three major environmental challenges clim@ 2020 finalists address

clima@-2020-finalists and environmental challenges they try to solve


May 19, 2020






May 19, 2020





We are only two weeks away from the clim@ 2020 pitching event to select the winner of this year’s competition. Fifteen finalists from the whole world will pitch their innovative projects and business ideas to provide solutions for some of the most pressing environmental and climate challenges: waste disposal and pollution, global warming and emissions, and unsustainable consumption of natural resources.

Following the success of clim@ 2018, the Green for Growth Fund (GGF) launched this year’s competition with the same enthusiasm and aim to identify and support the most innovative businesses or projects from around the world that are able to provide solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems of today.

The clim@ 2020 pitching event  will take place on June 2 in the form of an online event (register here) due to COVID-19 health and security restrictions. The organizers say they received 200 “impressive” applications, shortlisted 60 and chose 15 finalists. These finalists will then pitch their businesses with pre-recorded videos to a panel of five jury members and an online audience, followed by a Q&A session.

The organizers say they received 200 “impressive” applications, shortlisted 60 and chose 15 finalists.

And while the finalists are preparing for the pitching event, we have made a brief analysis of the environmental problems they address.

No boundaries for environmental concerns

The thing that immediately draws attention is that the candidates, though coming from countries of different development levels and economies of different sizes, are actually sharing the same concerns over nature protection and pollution.

Joint environmental concerns erase boundaries between countries and nations and unite people with fresh thinking, innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit in a single mission – to develop solutions that will provide sustainable development for us and future generations.

From the perspective of the clim@ 2020 finalists, here are the most pressing environmental issues: huge and growing quantities of waste generated by various industries, agriculture and people, CO2 and other GHG emissions, and large-scale exploitation and overconsumption of natural resources.

The finalists do not just provide bright ideas, but also a multidisciplinary approach in problem solving. And yes, indeed, the majority of proposed solutions make a very meaningful nexus with other sectors, industries, and new digital technologies, emphasizing at the same time the importance and role of circular economy in providing sustainable development.

Waste disposal and prevention

Every year 2.12 billion tons of waste are dumped on the planet, says The World Counts. If all the waste were put on trucks, they would go around the world 24 times.

Waste from households, municipal waste, waste from various industries, and agriculture pollute our soil, our air, and our waters. As it is one of the most pressing environmental issues, waste disposal and prevention have inspired almost two-thirds of this year’s finalists.

Every year 2.12 billion tons of waste are dumped on the planet. If all the waste were put on trucks, they would go around the world 24 times.

Agri To Power (A2P Energy) from India is a bioenergy company that has addressed the issue of uncollected crop residues left in the field after harvesting. The residue is usually burned causing huge air pollution. A2P uses artificial intelligence (AI) to track waste biomass and then works with farmers to collect and buy the material. This is an example of mutually beneficial cooperation where farmers generate additional income and the company converts biomass into biofuels, thus helping New Delhi, one of the most polluted capital city in the world, to reduce huge air pollution.

NEXUS: agriculture, waste, AI, renewables, emissions, air pollution, circular economy

The biomass residue is being collected in the field instead of being burned and causing pollution 

BioEnergy is a German-Egyptian startup which increases the commercial value of waste by converting it into fuel and making from it a sustainable energy source, refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for waste-to-energy plants. Compared to fossil fuels, RDF is more affordable, abundant, and environmentally friendly.

NEXUS: waste, energy, waste-to-energy, emissions, air pollution, circular economy

Biodiesel Misr (BDM) is a young Egyptian startup producing biodiesel from used cooking oil, thus contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, climate change mitigation efforts and the circular economy in Africa. The company has a plant producing high-quality biodiesel 100% from used cooking oil collected locally as a feedstock.

NEXUS: waste, renewable energy, climate change, circular economy, emissions

ColdHubs Ltd. is a social enterprise from Nigeria that designs, installs, commissions and operates 100% solar-powered walk-in cold rooms in outdoor markets and farm clusters. The ColdHubs, as the cold rooms are branded, are used by smallholder farmers, retailers and wholesalers to store and preserve fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishable foods 24/7, extending their shelf life from two to 21 days. This way ColdHubs is not just preserving food, but preventing it from turning into organic waste and causing emissions.

NEXUS: waste, food, emissions, renewables

COLIBA is a social enterprise from Côte d’Ivoire specializing in the collection and recycling of plastic waste using a web, mobile and SMS platform, which puts households and companies producing plastic waste in touch with affiliated collectors. In exchange for the plastic collected, households receive points convertible into internet data, a beauty product, and soon into basic food products. The plastic waste is recycled.

NEXUS: waste, recycling, climate change, digital technologies

Komporize is a Turkey-based startup which is using tea fibers to produce alternative biocomposite raw materials suitable for several industries such as automobile and small appliances ones. It manufactures biocomposite raw materials by mixing waste tea fibers with binders in different ratios using a variety of methods. The final product has a thermoset or thermoplastic structure with up to 90% organic components.

NEXUS: waste, resources efficiency, recycling, circular economy

LiveLoveRecycle from Lebanon is the world’s first crowdsourced recycling platform based on a mobile application that links together all the stakeholders of the recycling process to help tackle the global waste management issue.

Twenty thousand people from Beirut have joined the platform and with 200 requests per day, LiveLoveRecycle platform prevents more than 500 tons of waste from ending up in sea or landfills and polluting water and soil. Thanks to the mobile application, the recycling process is very simple – clients learn how to sort their waste by scanning the products, request at the time of their convenience a pickup for their recyclables and get feedback on the quality of their sorting. In the end, they are rewarded with redeemable eco-points for their efforts towards saving our planet. The app also optimizes the best trajectories for the drivers by evaluating requests from clients and sending the appropriate vehicle (motorcycle: two bags; truck: 15 bags), thus decreasing the logistics cost and reducing the pollution.

NEXUS: waste, recycling, digital technologies, circular economy


Lombrisol is a Moroccan- based biotechnology company that was founded based on scientific research. Lombrisol focuses on organic waste recycling using composting and vermicomposting technologies. Lombrisol aims to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly technology for organic waste recycling to produce biofertilizers for sustainable and organic farming.

NEXUS: waste, recycling, agriculture, emissions, circular economy

Whole Surplus from Turkey offers holistic and digital solutions to recover the best possible value out of surplus food. Placing technology at the heart of a crucial issue such as food waste, Whole Surplus delivers solutions in line with the Food Recovery Hierarchy to any type of surplus food that is eligible for human consumption, animal feeding and recycling. The aim Whole Surplus wants to achieve is to reduce its partners’ (retailers, suppliers, recycling firms and non-profits) food waste-related carbon emission by 50% and to reach the zero landfill goal.

NEXUS: waste,  emissions, circular economy

Global warming (CO2 emissions and deforestation)

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been dramatically rising on a global level as a consequence of intensifying human activities. Last year was the third in a row when CO2 emissions hit a record. Despite the Paris Agreement and commitment to cap the rise of global temperature to two degrees Celsius, ideally to 1.5, the current policies are actually leading to a 3.7-degree increase by 2100.

Deforestation is the main contributor to climate change and the second-largest human source of CO2 emissions after fossil fuel combustion. Emissions from deforestation are somewhat indirect because deforestation results in less CO2 absorbed by trees.

Global warming is such a huge problem that it questions the sustainability of life on Earth and we should all engage in reducing emissions and keeping the global temperature rise under control.  The UN Environment Programme warns that emissions must fall by 25% before 2030 to keep the increase under two degrees by 2100 or 55% before 2030 to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. Here are three solutions that definitely may help:

CARBOMINER from Ukraine is a new solution for an efficient CO2 capture directly from the open air. The capturing device uses IoT sensors which help data to be sent to cloud and available for real-time monitoring. The company plans to sell the captured CO2, which it calls eco-friendly CO2, at the price that is two times cheaper than on the market.

NEXUS: CO2 emissions, energy, air pollution, climate change, IoT

CEEFOR is a company from Serbia that has developed a solar charger providing green energy for charging electric vehicles thus contributing to reducing CO2 emissions in traffic by replacing fossil fuels. The system combines a carport covered with solar panels and a software for management, acquisition and data processing.

NEXUS: CO2 emissions, renewables, EV, air pollution, climate change

Forest Guard is an Armenian createdsmart IoT sensor monitoring system for forestry, which detects illegal logging and wildfire. It  saves electricity by 12 times – it can operate up to six years with the same batteries. Also, Forest Guard comes at half the cost and has two times bigger visibility than other monitoring systems for forests.

Forest Guard developed its own algorithm and added small solar panels based on which the system is highly energy efficient. It is placing sensors on trees; 25 sensors per every 100 hectares. The sensors give an emergency signal in case of illegal logging or wildfire. This way Forest Guard stops deforestation and climate change caused from that.

NEXUS: forest management, emissions, renewables, IoT

Unsustainable consumption of natural resources

Human consumption of Earth’s natural resources tripled on an annual basis between 1970 and 2015. Every year around 90 billion tons of resources are being extracted (biomass, fossil energy, metal and minerals) which represents, on average, 11 tons of resources for every single person. In “hungry consumer societies” people are exploiting the Earth’s resources without caring for the consequences and their availability for future generations.

According to The World Counts data, by 2100 all rainforests will be gone if people keep cutting them down at the same pace. Since 2016, an average of 28 million hectares have been cut every year – that is one football field of forest being lost every single second around the clock.

By 2100 all rainforests will be gone if people keep cutting them  down at the same pace

If we do not introduce serious measures and responsible water and sea management, the world will also run out of seafood in 2048. The examples are numerous unfortunately.

Here are three solutions that have good potential to support the transition to responsible and sustainable resources:

Beyond Leather Materials IVS is a Danish company based in Copenhagen which is producing a vegan and eco-friendly alternative to animal leather based on a byproduct from juice and cider production. Knowing that the leather industry is one of the most hazardous process industries using massive amount of chemicals and resources to turn just one cow hide into leather, the company owners say they celebrate this innovative and  amazing business idea protecting both humans and animals, at the same time preventing waste, preventing pollution and contributing to true sustainable development.

NEXUS: food production, waste, pollution, processing industry, circular economy

Leathrer-from-apples residues

Artificial leather made from juice and cider juice

Ecodudu is a Kenyan waste-to-value company which recycles organic waste into natural fertilizer, while using black soldier fly (BSF) larvae to produce high-protein animal and fish feed. Ecodudu has introduced a unique outgrower model that empowers smallholder farmers to recycle their own waste, produce organic fertilizer and generate additional income. Ecodudu also provides market access as well as affordable and qualitative fertilizers to smallholder farmers.

NEXUS: waste, resources efficiency, emissions, pollution

Manyfolds is a Munich-based technology startup developing an intelligent platform for digital shipping packaging creation and on-demand packaging production. The firm was founded in 2018 by Frank Thomsen and Sebastian Gutmann.

There is approximately 50% air in each shipping packaging. As a result, there is too much environmentally harmful filling material, unnecessary delivery traffic in our cities, and a high number of shipping goods damaged due to inadequate protection. The impact on the environment is huge.

Manyfolds addresses those challenges by offering an affordable and eco-friendly solution that creates size-optimized shipping packaging within an easy-to-use application. The goods are thereby fully protected during shipment from the inside and outside, with no need for additional filling material. With this technology, excessive “air” (volume) in the packages is reduced by approximately 40%. The size optimization enables the reduction of delivery traffic in the cities and overall less packaging waste arises since no filling materials have to be used.

NEXUS: waste, resources efficiency, emissions, pollution


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