Winning projects against climate change

Winning projects against climate change

November 21, 2019

Winning projects against climate change

The winners of the United Nations Global Action Awards, 15 examples of innovative and reproducible initiatives that can make a difference in dealing with climate change, have been announced

In order to combat climate change effectively, it is important to sign agreements and identify action strategies, but actual projects that can make a difference are also needed. And some of these projects – 15 of the over 670 submitted to the panel of experts – have won recognition from the Global Climate Action Awards of the United Nations with an award presented as part of the global initiative Momentum for Change implemented with the support Rockefeller Foundation and cooperation of the World Economic Forum. The names of the winners were announced immediately after the United Nations Climate Summit and at the same time as the Climate Week in New York and the selected projects will be presented during the Climate Summit (Cop25) scheduled for Madrid at the beginning of December. 

The projects were divided into four categories to underline the fact that the proposed solutions do not relate only to climate change but also to other important Sustainable Development Goals. “We hope these projects will serve as a source of inspiration for other initiatives aimed at dealing with the biggest challenges faced by society” commented Gabrielle Ginér, who headed the team of experts that assigned the awards. 

Planetary Health

The four projects selected in the “Planetary Health” category relate to the food production and policies sectors, as well as new technologies and “clean” energy sources. 

Impossible Foods (Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, Macao) aims for example to create plant-based alternatives to meat, while Ghent en Garde (Belgium) gives the example of the city of Ghent, one of the first in Europe to propose its own food policy intended to transform the food system at local and urban level. We then move to China, with the Alipay Ant Forest project, which, using one of the most widely-known payment systems around the world (Alipay), has used the power of digital technologies to plant over 122 million trees. Finally we come to the Dominican Republic with Electricians Without Borders, which, following hurricane Maria in 2017, has allowed a system to be organized to supply energy (from renewable sources) to six medical centers across the island if required.

Climate Neutral Now 

Many companies are committing to achieve zero emissions to combat climate change and four of them have been recognized by the United Nations. MAX Burgers (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Poland) launched the first “climate positive” menu in 2018, stating the amount of CO2 emitted for each component. Natura, the biggest cosmetics producer in Brazil, is measuring and reducing emissions throughout its production chain, while Apple is moving towards a business entirely sustained by renewable energy (an objective achieved for the electricity currently used). Finally, the second biggest Information Technology company in India, Infosys, is one of the first companies in the sector to have committed to achieving environmental neutrality.  

Women for Results

The importance of the role of women is emphasized by four projects involving very different countries and populations in combating climate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa, an initiative has been launched to educate young women in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities, while in the United States, the Mothers Out Front movement involves over 24,000 mothers who want to protect their children and community against the harm of climate change. In southern Asia, the Indiana Mahila Housing Sewa Trust NGO is trying to help women from the poorest families to increase their resilience to climate change and, finally, the Eco Wave Power project (Israel and Gibraltar), led by a woman, aims to produce clean energy from sea waves. 

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

The sustainable business models and economic/financial policies recognized by the awards include the one operating in Zambia, which is committed to creating a regulatory environment that allows companies to supply off-grid clean energy (outside the existing electricity network) to the country. Another recipient of the award is the initiative which, through the Impact Investment Exchange platform, is releasing 150 million US dollars to help over 2 million women in Asia, improving their access to credit for example, and the International Climate Cooperation Program introduced in Quebec in 2016 to fund and support developing countries, particularly those exposed to the effects of climate change.

Find out more about Food and sustainability