Posted by: carboncreditsusa | November 13, 2008

“Climate Change Challenge” Launched To Encourage Low-Carbon Technology Innovation

“We have to innovate our way out of the climate crisis, and that means unleashing a wave of creativity not seen since the Industrial Revolution. By showcasing some of the world’s most exciting innovations, we want to show there are solutions to climate change, and money to be made from finding those solutions…”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ed784eec-b0d8-11dd-8915-0000779fd18c.html 

“…The innovation need not be technological, although such entries are certainly eligible. Creativity could equally come in marketing, financing, analysis or in an entire business model…”

 

 

At a time of global financial crisis and economic downturn, the temptation to focus on the most urgent short-term problems is strong. The FT Climate Change Challenge, backed by Hewlett-Packard, the information technology company, and Forum for the Future, the sustainable development group, aims to highlight businesses and other organisations with ground-breaking approaches to what is arguably the greatest long-term danger we face.

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, says: “The FT is delighted to support this initiative. We believe it should encourage innovation in tackling the problem of climate change, which is widely recognised as one of the most important public policy challenges of our time.”

FT Climate Change ChallengeThe objective of the competition is to harness the collective brainpower of FT readers to identify ideas that have the potential to be scaled up to a significant size, both to build a successful business and to have a material impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the next 11 weeks, FT readers will be invited to submit suggestions of companies with imaginative ideas for addressing the threat of climate change.

From those suggestions, a short-list of five will be chosen by a judging panel including Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, Sir Richard Branson, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Mark Hurd, chairman and chief executive of HP.

The short-listed ideas will then be presented in the FT newspaper and online in March 2009, and readers will have a chance to vote for their favourite. The winner in the vote will receive a $75,000 prize, sponsored by HP, to help develop their product and bring it to market.

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, says: “We have to innovate our way out of the climate crisis, and that means unleashing a wave of creativity not seen since the Industrial Revolution. By showcasing some of the world’s most exciting innovations, we want to show there are solutions to climate change, and money to be made from finding those solutions.”

We are looking for ideas that have progressed further than the drawing board, but are not yet fully commercial; proposals that are sufficiently worked-up to demonstrate their potential, but not yet established businesses.

We are also ruling out large corporations. BP, the energy giant, may have a compelling plan for carbon capture and storage, or General Electric, the US conglomerate, may have succeeded in building a new kind of wind turbine, but all have the resources they need to develop their innovations to the full potential.

Our winner will be an idea that deserves to go big, but will only be able to do so with an extra push from the recognition and cash it will gain from winning the FT Climate Change Challenge.

The innovation need not be technological, although such entries are certainly eligible. Creativity could equally come in marketing, financing, analysis or in an entire business model.

worthy proposals are out thereAmong the ideas that readers uncover – along with contributions from the FT and Forum for the Future experts – we would hope to find proposals that could match up to flourishing initiatives such as Streetcar and Zipcar, SolarCity and Grameen Shakti.

Streetcar and Zipcar are car-sharing clubs that rent pay-as-you-go small cars, typically for short trips. Members pick up and drop off cars parked at designated bays. They have experienced rapid growth: US-based Zipcar had 225,000 members worldwide by last summer, and London-based Streetcar, which started with eight cars in 2004, is trebling in size every year and aims to have 250,000 members by 2012.

Because car clubs give members the freedom of having a vehicle when they need one, they encourage people to give up owning a car; as a result they drive less and their motoring emissions are cut.

SolarCity is an example of innovation in marketing and finance. The California-based provider of solar energy systems has surmounted the problem of consumers’ resistance to making the initial commitment to invest in solar panels by leasing the equipment to home owners.

The result is that consumers can install solar power without a large upfront payment and split the benefit of future savings, including government subsidies, with the company. SolarCity even guarantees the savings that consumers can make.

Grameen Shakti is another innovator in marketing and finance, as well as in economic and social development. Founded by the Nobel prize-winner Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank, the micro-credit pioneer, Grameen Shakti provides solar panels, improved cooking stoves and biogas plants in Bangladesh. It supplies poor communities at affordable prices, and also trains local people as engineers to fit and maintain its products.

These businesses are sufficiently well-established not to require any help from this competition. But we know that there are many more companies with great ideas out there; indeed, we have already come across a few.

With your help, we want to get them noticed and give them a chance to show what they can do.

More details about the competition, including how to enter, related articles and terms and conditions, can be found at www.ft.com/climatechallenge


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