Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we’re at a defining moment. The negative impacts of climate change – on the environment, livelihoods, human rights, supply chains, and the planet – are well documented, but that’s not the focus of this post.
Instead, we’re going to focus on the people and organizations demonstrating that we aren’t completely powerless in the face of this global threat. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out, “the climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win”.
If we are to win this race, we have to do things differently. We have to think differently, act differently, buy differently, and consume differently. And once again, social entrepreneurs are the on-the-ground heroes pioneering the business models and product innovations that prove that is possible.
Below, we’ve rounded up 10 social enterprises from our TRANSFORM Support Hub global acceleration platform and beyond who are giving us hope through innovative approaches to climate tech:
Transforming Food Supply Chains
Shortening Supply Chains: Afrifood Technologies
Inefficient supply chains account for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Afrifood technologies is a social enterprise that helps its clients add value to their agricultural commodities in order to produce smarter, and reduce post-harvest losses. It works to create a shorter, less carbon-intensive supply chain by bringing processing closer to the farm, meaning the creation of local food systems, reduced food waste, and better value for small scale farmers as well as the entire food value chain.
Mitigating Methane: Cows to Kilowatts
Livestock emissions – from manure and gastroenteric releases – account for roughly 32 percent of human-caused methane emissions. Cows to Kilowattsis a social enterprise that pioneered a new model of waste management that treats slaughterhouse emissions at the source and converts harmful greenhouse gasses into clean energy. Its innovative anaerobic fixed film bioreactor technology treats meat processing waste and generates biogas more efficiently than conventional biodigester technologies. As a result, it also reduces water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while providing a sustainable and cheap source of clean energy and bio-fertilizer.
Tackling food waste: Farm to Feed
Farm to Feed is a social enterprise that aggregates food loss and waste and gives it purpose through a circular solution: creating a market for surplus and imperfect produce. According to the WWF, About 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stop wasting food. Farm to Feed sources fresh produce from supply hubs and partners outside of Nairobi, in particular imperfect and/or surplus fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have been written off as a loss for farmers. Farm to Feed then delivers this rescued produce to its customers at below market prices, increasing the affordability of nutritious food and reducing CO2 emissions.
New Approaches to Clean Energy
Curbing electricity waste: Plentify
Plentify enables affordable, reliable and resilient utility systems. Cheap energy storage is key to fixing electricity grids and enabling more renewables. Many of the world’s homes unknowingly have a large battery installed already: the electric water heater. However most are set to inefficiently guzzle energy when the grid is most strained. Plentify connects these batteries to the internet, and applies machine learning to slash utility bills and create virtual power plants which help eliminate blackouts.
Decarbonizing transportation: Amogy
Commercial transportation accounts for 9% of today’s global CO2 emissions. Amogy is a social enterprise working on a novel carbon-free energy system using ammonia as a renewable fuel. Amogy’s innovative solution will enable the decarbonization of ground/sea/air transportations, accelerating our journey towards the Net Zero Economy.
Carbon Recapture: Graviky Labs
Graviky Labs is a MIT spinoff working in developing cleantech solutions. Through its innovative technology, Graviky Labs is able to capture carbon from the atmosphere, store it using carbon sequestration, and then process those emissions into usable products. These include industrial products such as coating, fuel, polymers, and converting air pollution into ink!
Powering Clean Cooking: SimGas
Worldwide, about 3 billion people use solid fuel for cooking. Every year, the smoke from traditional stoves causes indoor air pollution, leading to the premature deaths of approximately 4 million people annually. SimGas is a social enterprise that designs and mass produces high quality, modular, domestic biogas and bio-sanitation systems, creating healthy and safe environments for rural households while contributing to the reduction of indoor air pollution, deforestation, and carbon emissions. With a factory in Tanzania, SimGas is the largest supplier of domestic biogas systems in Africa.
Solutions in Waste Management
Upcycling Landfill Waste into Hydrogen: Jagruth Tech
Jagruth Tech is a social enterprise working to solve both waste pollution and construction pollution. Jagruth Tech invented World’s first eco-friendly and technological solution for upcycling landfill waste and converting it into negative carbon footprint products like construction inputs and Green Hydrogen, and employs blockchain technology to collect data about CO2 prevented.
Sustainable Fertilizer Solutions for Farmers: Sistema.bio
Sistema.bio is a social enterprise that provides access to innovative biodigester technology, training and financing to address the challenges of poverty, food security, and climate change. Sistema.bio manufactures and distributes high-quality, affordable biodigesters that enable farmers around the world to convert waste into energy and fertilizer. By providing flexible interest-free repayment plans and comprehensive monitoring services, Sistema.bio works with farmers to ensure they become more sustainable, independent, and productive.
Turning Aquatic Weeds into Sustainable Livelihoods: MitiMeth
MitiMeth transforms the environmental problem of invasive aquatic weeds into profit. When decomposed under anaerobic conditions, these invasive weeds emit methane – a potent greenhouse gas. MitiMeth clears waterways of these weeds and works with local artisans to transform them into handcrafted products, creating pathways to financial independence while protecting the environment.
In the face of what can feel like insurmountable challenges, social innovations like these give us hope. Want to be part of the solution? Whether you’re an individual who wants to lend their time and skills, or you’re a social entrepreneur with a climate tech innovation of your own, we invite you to join us on the TRANSFORM Support Hub.