Celebrating World Environment Day: A Call to Action for a Sustainable Future

Today, June 5th, we join the global community in celebrating World Environment Day, an annual event that encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Established by the United Nations in 1974, this day has grown to become a crucial platform for driving environmental advocacy and highlighting the urgent need for sustainable practices.

This World Environment Day, it is imperative for various stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, and communities, to acknowledge and take action on the urgent need to accelerate land restoration, improve drought resilience, and combat desertification. These efforts are crucial for environmental sustainability and for fostering environmental professionals and startups.

In this context, the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) plays a pivotal role. Led by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), GCIP promotes cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship to address the most pressing climate and environmental challenges. In Nigeria, GCIP is implemented by Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) and the Government of Nigeria, represented by the Federal Ministry of Innovation , Technology and Technology  (FMIST) and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

Cleantech enterprises are at the forefront of the transition toward sustainable low-carbon economies, creating new jobs and empowering women and youth. Despite their limitless potential for innovation, these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often face significant commercialization and scale-up barriers, encountering the technical and financial โ€œvalley of death.โ€

GCIP bridges this โ€œvalley of deathโ€ by providing competition-based business acceleration support for innovative cleantech startups and SMEs. The programme links enterprises to private sector investors and fosters an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. By joining the GCIP accelerator programme, startups become part of an emerging cleantech community in Nigeria.

This opportunity allows innovators to make a significant impact through their solutions while gaining access to a wide network of industry experts and leaders. GCIP’s guiding principle is to provide equal opportunities for women and men to lead, participate in, and benefit from its interventions. The program ensures that its acceleration, mentoring, and upscaling services are accessible to everyone, promoting inclusivity in the cleantech sector.

Spotlight on Innovations and Success 

The program identifies and supports innovators and entrepreneurs who are actively combating the impact of climate change. Ventures supported includes Scrapays, a cleantech startup using technology to revolutionize the recovery and management of recyclable waste by enabling individuals and businesses to sell their scrap and recyclable materials at premium prices through a versatile self-service platform (USSD, web, and mobile app) that includes 1,900 agents. Scrapays’ recovery of 680 tons of waste from the environment prevents over 2,800 metric tons of landfill carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 3,000 cars off the road. Similarly, GIVO, a network of tech-enabled recycling centers with a manufacturing arm, transforms recyclables into consumer and industrial products. To date, Givo has processed over 6 tons of recyclables and produced more than 20,000 units of goods, including shredded plastic flakes, eco-panels, and face shields. Another notable innovation among other exciting solutions in the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme,  in the fight against the impact of carbon emissions on our environment is ThinkBikes, which provides last-mile transportation using electric cargo bikes. These bikes are available for ride-sharing and lease to individuals and businesses in urban and rural communities at affordable prices.

As we commemorate World Environment Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to protecting the planet. The challenges are immense, but so are the opportunities for positive change. One such opportunity is the UNIDO-GCIP Accelerator which will be opening its application in a few days for cleantech start-ups and SMEs/SMEs in the following domains: Energy efficiency, Renewable energy, Waste beneficiation, Green buildings, Transportation, Advanced materials/Chemicals.

By adopting sustainable practices, advocating for stronger environmental policies, and supporting innovative solutions, we can turn the tide on pollution and pave the way for a healthier, more sustainable world.