UNIDO: Helping Smaller Enterprises Make A Big Difference
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s Global CleanTech Innovation Programme (GCIP), collaborating with startups, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), is helping smaller CleanTech developments make it big.
A specialist agency of the UN, UNIDO, promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability. With over 170 states members of the organisation, UNIDO focusses on promoting and accelerating inclusive and sustainable developments in these member states, with one of four strategic priorities centred around “safeguarding the environment.”
To accelerate growth in emerging market countries, it is important to prioritise low-carbon economic growth. With technological advances, available capital, demand for clean development and climate change, the need for cleantech is more critical than ever in such development.
Advocating for resource-efficient and low-carbon industrial production, clean energy access for productive use and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, UNIDO’s approach is critical for a cleaner future.
One particular programme they are currently cultivating is the Global CleanTech Innovation Programme, which “seeks to foster a clean technology innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in our partner countries”
UNIDO notes that “we recognize the power of transformative technologies in accelerating the transition to an economically and environmentally sustainable future. Our vision is to identity and support technologies that have this catalytic potential.”
The programme details ambitions in GHG emissions savings, growth of the CleanTech industry and job creation between 2017 and 2020. According to UNIDO, the programme “promotes an innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying and nurturing clean-tech innovators and entrepreneurs; by building capacity within national institutions and partner organizations for the sustainable implementation of the clean-tech ecosystem and accelerator approach.”
With an emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship and the global SME innovation value chain, the cleantech ecosystems and accelerator approach aid development and commercialisation of innovative ideas.
How successful has the programme been?
In 2018 the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) conducted a review of the programme, at which point six national level GCIP implementation projects were complete in Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.
Additionally, the GCIP Accelerator Competition supported 795 SMEs across 8 countries by the end of 2017, which has only grown from there.
It is important to consider the successes of startups and SMEs as a result of GCIP. In 2018 GCIP Global Week celebrated the successes of the cleantech startup innovations, describing the accelerator as the “cornerstone of GEF support for small and medium enterprises.” From here some of the most successful startups of the programme can be identified.
Saathi Eco Innovations
Based in India, Saathi developed an innovative technology utilising waste banana tree fibre to produce 100 percent biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads, taking only 6 months to degrade. The eco-benefits of this technology include no water wastage, through the production process using no water. It projected that the product reduces 1,011 MT of CO2 emissions and 1,323 MT of plastic waste annually. Considering the average woman is expected to produce 60kg of plastic waste in her lifetime, Saathi is providing a clean resolution to unsustainable sanitary products. On top of environmental benefits, Saathi products are low-cost and aid hygiene and health awareness campaigns, contributing to women’s empowerment in India.
This startup from Thailand manufactures activated carbon products from cassava stump, which otherwise would be burned. Through making use of this raw material, carbon emissions are reduced by 42,000 MT. The product not only contains environmental benefits, but economic also as the valueless waste material is converted into high value activated carbon for industrial, agriculture, household and health applications. Subsequently, the product provides multiple benefits by contributing to the local economy creating an extra source of income and employment opportunities throughout the activated carbon value chain.
The Pakistani startup, ModulusTech, has developed affordable, efficient and easy flat-pack housing options. With the ability to be assembled by three people in three hours, the low-cost of just $3,000 per unit, coupled with reduced emissions costs provides a clean solution to housing. Producing fifty times less greenhouse gas emissions compared to concrete buildings, this alternative housing not only has an environmental solution but additionally has the potential to address climate migration issues. With an estimated 1,088,232kg of carbon emissions saved by October 2019, ModulusTech is paving the way towards sustainable housing options.
See also, NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats, Aspartika Biotek, and Biolive.
CleanTech News commemorates UNIDO’s twofold commitment to clean growth in developing countries and to accelerating the growth and successes of smaller enterprises and startups.