A total of 140 teams of citizen finalists applied for the Climathon Awards, which marks the five-year anniversary of Climathon, a one-year programme that offers a platform for organisers, partners, citizens and hundreds of cities to gain international recognition and showcase how cities can transform towards a net-zero carbon economy as well as mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The Climathon Awards organised on 21 January has rewarded citizen teams in two categories: “Most transformative idea of 2020”, which recognises the 2020 idea with the potential to create long-lasting societal and behavioural change, and the “Most improved idea since 2015”, which celebrates the team that has improved the most since taking part in a previous Climathon.
More than 13,000 people voted online for their favourite solution. The jury, a panel made up of Climathon organisers, Impact Hub Global, Microsoft, Facebook and the WWF, then selected the winners from the top six teams who won the public vote.
Green Invest, the winners of the category “Most transformative idea of 2020”, is bringing together local green projects in needs of investment with individuals who want to invest their money sustainably and with good returns. On their online platform, users can search for sustainable investment opportunities in their local area and invest as little as 10 EUR. The platform also enables users to form local networks, thereby promoting green projects in their vicinity and pushing policymakers to put more resources into climate protection. The team (David Müller, Klemens Witte, Nicolas Maiwald, Karolina Stuhec-Meglic, Norbert Krain, Ulrich Botzenhardt, Irina Kohlrautz, Robin Schmücker) comes from Stuttgart, Germany. They will now receive tailored mentoring by experts from Facebook’s Sustainability Team to further develop their idea.
“This is incredible! My team and I are so thrilled to have won this amazing, global challenge, especially when I think back at how all of this started: I simply wanted to spend an interesting weekend at the Climathon, not at all expecting that such a journey would come of it. A huge thank you to the organisers of Climathon Germany and Climathon Awards as well as congratulations to the other teams for their awesome ideas. This is just the beginning though. The real work starts now, as we all want to bring a first prototype of our platform to life as soon as possible,” says David Müller.
To celebrate the five-year anniversary of Climathon, EIT Climate-KIC also awarded the “Most improved idea since 2015”. The winning citizen project Start Park, comes from Florence, Italy, and participated in Climathon in 2017. The team (Marco Berni, Rita Duina, Lorenzo Bittini, Ely Pacchierotti, Alessia Menin and Anacleto Rizzo) want to foster the creation of more resilient communities. They use nature-based solutions to enhance outdated design and architecture of city green spaces while diffusing awareness about climate change. A first Start Park prototype is already underway in the city of Prato, Italy, involving both the local community and the municipality, with plans to scale to the city of Lucca. The team will work with Microsoft’s Worldwide Sustainability Community to continue their progress.
“Winning the Climathon Awards gives us the possibility to boost and spread our vision of sustainable urban futures throughout the world. We are trying to scale up and diffuse the Start Park approach, optimising its processes and business model, in order to make it sustainable and accessible for every country. The Climathon Award gives us the possibility to continue with an important referral, a network that supports us and recognizes the value of relational design and green solutions,” says Marco Berni.
A total of 4,500 participants in 60 countries joined one of the 24-hour ideathons organised in their city during Climathon in November 2020.
“The 2020 edition of Climathon has offered a unique opportunity for citizens to contribute sustainability solutions to the post COVID-19 recovery so that we build back green,” says Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer of EIT Climate-KIC. “Despite all the challenges that the pandemic continues to bring globally, Climathon participants are rising to that challenge with innovative solutions and are demonstrating that collaboration, openness and co-creation can contribute to achieve a sustainable future. Sustainable investment and nature-based solutions are two essential elements of climate action and this year’s winners, Green Invest and Start Park, are true examples of how citizen action can spur global change.”
Throughout its five years of existence, the Climathon programme has created an opportunity for more than 22,000 citizens around the globe to present innovative solutions to the climate crisis. The 2021 edition of the Climathon programme will take place from October 25 to 31, offering citizens from all over the world a pathway to positive action in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow.