On October 24-30, 2016, 22 cities from 16 countries hosted events during the 2016 Global Week of Green Business and the Climate Movement (#ECO4CLIM16), seeking to connect, promote and empower ecopreneurs providing cooperative, sound, and sustainable business solutions to challenges deriving from climate change, both in the realm of mitigation (reducing carbon emissions) and adaptation & resilience of communities to its effects.
Impact has tripled with respect to the 2015 edition (7 cities in 4 countries), thanks to a vibrant, diverse, and collaborative community of climate organizers sharing a common vision: a “glocal” community of climate practice. These changemakers, at the heart of solid ecosystems of partners, and working at the intersection between civil society and business, have led successful ECO4CLIM16 events, encompassing multi-stakeholder climate innovation labs to identify climate-related problems and outline green business opportunities to tackle them locally; and the 2016 Climate Champion Awards to bring into the spotlight sustainable projects and SMEs at the forefront of climate and social innovation.
While the full ECO4CLIM16 Global Impact Report is being drafted (to be released soon), we can already have a first glimpse at some preliminary results, including our 2016 climate champions. Next week, we are traveling to Marrakech for the COP22 Climate Summit, where, just as we did last year in Paris at the historic COP21 (offical EU workshop “Opportunities and challenges for SMEs in realising the COP21 vision”), we will bring the voice and solutions of our climate champions (with the COP22 Special Award winner joining us for the occasion, see below) to world decision makers and the Climate Movement as a whole. This time, besides organizing our own event on November 18, at 2:00 pm GMT (“The Ecopreneurs for the Climate, from Paris to Marrakech with sustainable business solutions to climate change”), in collaboration with Aribat Moubadara/Rabat Initiative and “Entrelles des Femmes Entrepreneures”; we are also hosting a panel led by the UN Foundation as part of its Earth to Marrakech initiative, which we are honored to be official partners of.
ECO4CLIM’s event at the COP22 in collaboration with Aribat Moubadara/Rabat Initiative and “Entrelles des Femmes Entrepreneures”
ECO4CLIM16 in a nutshell
Algiers (Algeria), Athens (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Birzeit (Palestine), Cape Town (South Africa), Lisbon (Portugal), Lomé (Togo), Madrid (Spain), Mahdia (Tunisia), Marrakech (Morocco), Oviedo (Spain), Paris (France), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Reading (England), Seville (Spain), Tokyo (Japan), Valencia (Spain), Vigo (Spain), Winterveld (South Africa), and Yerevan (Armenia).
- Global partners (6): Impact Hub, SwitchMed, GreenEcoNet, Ecopreneur.eu, Green Shift Africa, and NESI Forum.
- Sustainable business networks(6): ECOVE (Spain), UnternehmensGrün (Germany), REMESS (Morocco), Entreprendre Vert (France), CONECT (Tunisia), Green Africa Directory (all Africa).
- Media partners (8): GreenTimes, Ambientum, Ecoticias, Corresponsables, El Referente, Asociacion Vida Sana, El Mundo Ecológico, and Noticias Positivas.
ECO4CLIM’s global partners
Climate organizers and local partners:
27 organizations and professionals led local ECO4CLIM16 chapters in their respective cities and communities, building and strengthening an ecosystem of 97 partners from all sectors of the economy and society (NGOs, public agencies and institutions, financial institutions, individual experts …), which in turn spread the word across and involved their own networks.
Nohelis Ruiz and PlanChic
OECC, F.Biodiversidad, Impact Hub Madrid, SUST4IN, F.Renovables, Triodos Bank, Finnova
Armedia Information, Analytical Agency, CivilNet online newspaper, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenian Assembly of America, Exotic Wine Travel
CONECT, CITET (Centre International desTechnologies de l’Environnement de Tunis), Abdellatif Grayaa (environmental activist)
Das Baumhaus Berlin, Spreegut, Deutsche Umweltstiftung (EcoCrowd), heads up! magazine, ImpactHub Berlin, Green Me Berlin, Original Unverpackt, betahaus, eMio, Berlin Valley, innergy.berlin, SmartB Energy Management, French Yoga Collective, naturtrip, Flussbad Berlin, Lesotre, Netzwerk Fahrradfreundliches Neukölln
Parcel.les, Lucera, Sostenibilidad a medida, 20150 Investments
WESSA, Propella Incubator, SEAL Water Tech, Fiz My Bizz, Chumile Consulting, NAPDI, Makapela Project Management, LifeCo Unltd SA, Red Bull Amaphiko, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan
Oviedo Emprende, COGERSA, Ayuntamiento de Oviedo, Acastur, Enviroo, Triodos
Fundacion Biodiversidad, Finnova, Triodos Bank, Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, Sevilla Capital Inteligente, Asociacion de Emprendedores Andaluces, AJE Sevilla, Ecovidasolar, Ciclogreen, The Live Cover
Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, Entreprendre Vert
Société d’Encouragement à l’Industrie Nationale, Institut Énergie & Territoires, Agence maetva
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Impact Hub Barcelona, Clúster de la Biomassa de Catalunya, Som Energia, SEBA, Ecoserveis, Trekandride, Hotel La Mola, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Ajuntament de Barcelona
Climate Reality Project, Achieving For Success Organisation (AFSO), Peer Leader International, Department of Labour
Geeks in Cambodia, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Young Eco Ambassadors – Wildlife Conservation Society, Ambassador’s Youth Council
Impact Hub Vigo
Association PROEDEV (Promotion de l’Excellence et du Développement) et APEDD (Actions pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable)
Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority, Institute of Environmental and Water Studies, Palestine Polytechnic University
Impact Hub Tokyo
Association Des Femmes en Economie Verte (AFEV)
Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie d’Alger, Bergheul Mourad (eco-entrepreneurship coach)
Impact Hub Lisbon
Municipality of Loutraki, Social Economy Institute
ECO4CLIM, Entrelles des Femmes Entrepreneures, Aribat Moubadara/Rabat Initiative
Entreprendre Vert, Earth to Marrakech
In total 650 people, 34 on average per city, attended the global week. And that amount will increase as the last remaining events take place in Lisbon, Loutraki and Marrakech (COP22) in the coming days and weeks.
Audience in Phnom Penh
4. Climate innovation labs
As a small-scale preview of our global network of permanent climate innovation labs currently under development, ECO4CLIM16 hosted open co-creation sessions, in different formats (workshops, round-tables, debates…), where key stakeholders from local green economy ecosystems worked together to identify concrete challenges posed by climate change in their communities; and then outlined opportunities for sustainable, innovative, and cooperative business solutions, seeking to inspire the aspiring ecopreneurs that participated. Herein-below, some of the ideas that emerged (more to come in the final report), grouped by common topics:
Local challenges derived from climate change
Green business opportunities
Lack of information and awareness around the energy sector in general: electricity auctions, subsidies to fossil fuels, etc.
A knowledge-centered company.
Traffic congestion, unsustainable/ineffective mobility and transport in urban environments and town centers in particular.
A hub for the exchange of packages to avoid traffic of trucks and goods transport in cities.
Unsustainable production/consumption patterns and urban centralization. The majority of the population is now concentrated in cities, which make an extensive use of resources and energy, consuming much more than they produce, and thus having large ecological footprints from long-distance transport for example.
Depopulation of rural areas
Urban orchards to function as green lungs for cities, and revive the system of an “ecologically productive” city. They are seeds of more positive impact activities, promote social awareness and urban planning from the grassroots.
Massive tourism affecting local cultures, and small businesses, degrading the environment and causing vast of CO2 emissions
Ecotourism as a means to attract specific tourist targets and address social and environmental concerns
Few clean energy options in some places.
Centralized production of energy, particularly from fossil fuel sources.
In retro-feedback, decentralized and collective, clean energy production schemes pose a challenge to large energy utility companies, as they imply loss of power and control.
New energy systems for both production and consumption that decentralize and collectivize clean, renewable energy; with production happening at the user level, thus empowering of citizens and communities, and providing access to energy to rural and poor urban people otherwise left out.
Increasing the use biomass in the energy mix of rural areas especially.
No clean water systems, misuse of water. No clean fresh water in canals. Inefficient water irrigation systems.
Construction of wetlands to filter water, and rain tanks.Promotion of organic farming.
Lack or inappropriate waste management.
Initiatives that boost recycling and improve waste management.
A culture of high plastic consumption.
Educational campaigns to promote behavioral change around plastic use.
Air and noise pollution due to high use of motor vehicles. Motorbikes are considered ‘cooler’ than bicycles. Big cars represent a status symbol for the rich, implying small cars are nos very used.
Car-pooling/moto-pooling. Encouraging the use of bikes, which have a very positive impact on the environment, air quality and noise. Companies can contribute by incentivizing cycling among its workers.
Providing tools to calculate, step by step and in a simple manner, the carbon footprint on daily basis
No emotional interest in sustainability/climate change due to lack of education or awareness, leading to bad environmental decisions. Also, in some communities (Phnom Penh) the majority of people are poor or even “BoP” (bottom of the pyramid)
Raising awareness about sustainability through fun and accessible activities like Yoga for instance.
Other more large-scale challenges that appeared, without (yet) some matching green business opportunities:
- Use of old technologies
- Mining and extractive & destructive practices
- Mass deforestation, and forest fires
- Ocean acidification and displacement of native fish species
- Insufficient investment and funding for SMEs and entrepreneurs
- Low self-confidence and belief in one’s capacities to come up solutions to problems encountered.
- Lack of trust in sustainable brands: how do we know it is organic…?
- Need for training and coaching to develop business ideas
- Lack of unions
- Lack of communication about and visibility of sustainable alternatives, especially coming from SMEs
- Low governmental support
- Inadequate legislation and/or law enforcement
On the opportunities side, an open-minded approach to eco-entrepreneurship can yield great rewards. Same basic principles apply:
- Joining and propelling social movements, by enabling climate action from civil society
- Partnerships with other sustainable organisations
- Breaking stereotypes
- Engaging in shared, collaborative and circular economy practices
- Exploring new technologies
Climate innovation labs in Madrid
Recommendations for action at the strategic policy making and stakeholder level:
In order for those eco-entrepreneurial opportunities to blossom into high-impact sustainable businesses, all principal stakeholders need to contribute to supporting them. To this end, a vast array of strategic recommendations, concrete as well as broad, were shortlisted, and addressed at policy makers but also at other major actors of the local green economy:
- Fostering environmental education and a better education in general. Specifically, behavioral change campaigns around the various issues identified such as plastic consumption, water use, cycling, etc.
- Improving national strategies towards a clear and shared vision: sustainability and a low carbon and equitable economy.
- Encourage, from national policies, the transition to a decentralized, clean and 100% renewable energy system, and therefore reduce dependence on foreign, “dirty” energy sources such as coal, gas, oil …
- Catalyzing synergy creation among stakeholders.
- Constant improvement of legislation and broader outreach about it.
- Stronger engagement from local governments.
- Intensifying cooperation with international organizations.
- Taxation on plastic bags
- Enhance and promote public transportation, making it more accessible, while also bettering sustainable transport infrastructure, like making cycling safer. Make urban sustainable mobility more attractive for the masses through new communication strategies and action plans.
- Increasing taxes to discourage the use of individual motor vehicles.
- Creating more green spaces in urban environments.
Ambitious city-level pledges:
Taking a step further, some organizers were able to get to the stage of envisioning a sustainable future for their own communities, and materialized it into an ambitious city-level pledge, for decision makers to take good note of:
- Goal: fully decarbonizing the city by 2050
- Strategy: building climate Innovation labs in neighborhoods, as well as a local climate think tank “COB1” parallel to COP22
- 2020 goal: empower the local government to create an inclusive accessible city (social inclusion and access to water, sanitation or electricity in high-risk areas) and shared development in accordance with the New Urban Agenda, the UN Habitat III framework. Implement new strategies to meet the sustainable development goals.
- Concrete initiatives: 1) Comprehensive Cycle Network 2) Monthly Car-Free Work-Day, instigated by the Council 3) 25% Energy Self-Sufficiency from Berkshire renewables (PV roofs rather than panels) and Energy Storage 4) 25% Food Vegan Self- Sufficiency 5) Complete pesticides, Monsanto and shale gas extraction ban 6) 25% of new homes Passive House or better 7) Dedicate one city area to a Net Zero district, a green city showcase area. 8) Hydro-electric Dam up and running 9) All street lights maximum 3000K CCT + switched off/dimmed after midnight (BLACK NETWORK) 10) Waste collection system based on same county rules 11) Planning for disaster response.
- 2030 goal: connect regional and local city grids and networks to fulfill Agenda 2030 Global Goals. Fully developed partnership governance.
- 2050 goal: Reading City – Clean soil, clean water and clean air to slow global warming.
Climate innovators imagining a green Berlin
In Phnom Penh
5. 2016 Climate Champion Awards
Near 100 ecopreneurs participated in the different activities programmed; specifically in the Climate Champion Awards where they pitched their projects, in 2 categories (some cities had a single, unified one): ecopreneurs -idea stage-, and SMEs -operational small organizations-. Winners were determined by a jury, and in some cases also the audience had a vote. Out of those, 26 were granted prizes and became the 2016 Climate Champions:
- Ibero-Rest (ecopreneur): project design for the ecological restoration of degraded natural areas.
- Tech4plus (SME): development and application of wastewater treatment technologies, in particular, thermal hydrolysis through a TH4+ process.
- Green Age NGO (ecopreneur): sustainable development strategies, environmental education and environmental projects with open source outcome.
- ARK Armenia (SME): development of infrastructure for sustainable ecotourism services in Southern Armenia, including hiking, camping, organic farming, fitness & volunteerism.
- Sameh Hafsa (ecopreneur): solar-powered water desalination
- Green Essential (SME): extraction of essential oils from medicinal herbs such as rosemary, mint, geranium, etc.; while supporting women in rural regions of Tunisia
- OEEX (1st, single): peer-to-peer marketplace to connect regional energy producers, energy suppliers and customers in a smart energy community to share and trade their energy for better efficiency and use of local renewable energies.
- Breeze (2nd, single): air quality data, insights and recommendations to increase workforce health and productivity and to create a baseline for smart cities to measure the effect of ongoing citizen well-being projects.
- Sharecy (3rd, single): food savings through an efficient matching app, which allows food businesses to save resources, CO2 emissions and money.
- Fresh Square (audience prize, single): “smart garden” project that grows veggies in an organic soil, complying with the organic regulation at home.
- CeroCeo2 via its project Green Urban Data (single): collection of satellite data and use of big data to measure and improve the environmental quality of cities
- 30 Días en Bici (SME): fostering the daily use of the bicycle to enrich our lives, care for the planet Earth and make cities friendlier.
- Soty Solar (ecopreneur): online marketplace that brings together rooftop owners and energy companies, for the former to rent their rooftop to generate photo-voltaic solar energy investment-free, thus reducing their electricity bills.
- Elum Energy (single): software-as-a-service company developing the Energy OS, the first energy intelligence platform providing tailored micro-grid solutions.
- Pandorahub (1st, single): a movement driven by the concern to build an alternative productive lifestyle, which aspires to become a network of startups, digital nomads, makers, organizations and places in harmony with nature and people.
- Slow Sea (2nd, single): an “eco shipyard lab”, where green, zero-emission boats are built, combining scientific, ecological, and navigation progress.
- Climate Change Pioneers (single), StC Projects (Pty) Ltd (single), and Winterveld Recycling Art Project (single): info to come
- Richard (ecopreneur), and Glenda (SME): info to come
- GREEN HUB (ecopreneur): multi-storey building right in the heart of Phnom Penh city where sustainable life styles come into practice; people can access ideas/knowledge/resources on green & sustainability, and feel inspired & fall in love with nature.
- SGFE Cambodia (SME): provides an alternative sustainable cooking fuel (char-briquettes from biomass waste like coconut shells) to the Cambodian population, to replace the traditional charcoal.
- Juan Paredes Portela (ecopreneur): construction of fish passage devices in the first four dams of the “Miño – Sil” river basin, promoting the development and growth of native fish populations for commercial and recreational interest.
- Revertia (SME): integral waste management service to re-use and/or recycle the waste generated by companies and institutions, with special focus on reusing obsolete IT equipment to extend its lifetime. Alternatives are compared over their carbon footprint.
- REWET -REduce Water Evaporation in Trees- (single): reduction of irrigation water consumption in the palm cultivation system, through an innovative tool that allows farmers to produce better fruits (dates) as well.
- PEAR Carbon Offset Initiative – “EGAO” project (single): mini-solar home system providing opportunities to people without electricity in developing countries. Being 5-10 times brighter than solar lanterns, it permits room lighting using LED, light bulbs…
Climate ecopreneurs presenting in Yerevan
In Cape Town
Two of them received additional Global Special Awards:
- COP22 Special Award: Cyril Colin, from Paris (France), for Elum Energy, who will participate in the event we organize at COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakeck (Morocco) on November 18.
- 2017 New Economy & Social Innovation Global Forum Special Award: Karima Kerkeni, from Mahdia (Tunisia), for Green Essential, who will take part in the 2017 NESI Forum in Malaga (Spain) on April 19-22, 2017.
6. Impact in the digital world
- 20,250 pageviews from 2,096 distinct users
- 76 countries: 7 with more than 100 visits, 15 with more than 30
- 439 cities
- 55 websites referred: 9 generated more than 20 visits
ECO4CLIM’s global reach on the WWW
Conversation around the #ECO4CLIM16 hashtag between October 10 and 30, 2016:
- 8.1 Million potential impressions, 386.9 K on average per day
- 839.1 K potential usersreached
- 473 users contributed to the conversation
- 3,478 tweets, with an average of 165.6 tweets/day, and a 4.8 retweet rate
#ECO4CLIM16, a storm on Twitter
An illustrative example of our collaborative, peer-to-peer approach, rooted on common goals and smooth coordination, is the strcuture of Facebook pages for language communities (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese … and more to come!) we are creating. They are co-managed by organizers bonded by common language, to share what the ecopreneurs for the climate do in their communities, speaking on behalf of the whole movement (power to changemakers!) And then we’ve got our global page, which feeds from those other pages, serving also as a research platform to find patterns, draw conclusions, compile results, etc. We are just at the fetal state, and there is loads of fine-tuning to do, but it’s looking really promising. Let’s have a look at what happened during #ECO4CLIM16, considering the 4 most active pages until now (global, Spanish, English and French), from October 12 to November 8:
- Total reach: 58,995 users
- Post engagements: 5,783
- New page likes: 359
Entire photo album here. Each event in one shot:
Cape Town (South Africa)
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Port Elizabeth (South Africa)