By Elena Avesani, Oracle Global Sustainability Manager
For a sustainability practitioner there is nothing more uplifting than gathering passionate students and young professionals in a room to brainstorm and discuss innovative and pragmatic solutions to the climate crisis. On September 6th and 7th, I had the pleasure to coach a cohort of six teams from Hawaii, Indonesia, Hungary, Ireland, India, and Sweden in bringing their entrepreneurial ideas to life at the two-day final event of the Carbon Footprint Challenge (CFC). The CFC is a UNITECH international initiative enabled by Buhler, Covestro, Evonik, and hosted by the OracleCloud team at Oracle's Smart Innovation Center in Zurich.
"It was an honor to take part in this year’s CFC " echoes my fellow coach David Bailey, Process and Technology Innovation expert at Evonik, a leading specialty chemicals company. "The quality of the ideas and the teams that took part were extraordinary. It was so heartening to witness such a high level of passion and a real desire to help protect our delicate world ecosystem from all the participants."
The competition challenged participants to present ideas on how to decrease the carbon footprint of manufacturing and industrial processes and products throughout their entire value chain. The six finalists, chosen among 350 proposals and 3,350 registrations from 56 countries, had the opportunity to develop their business plan, pitch, and presentation skills during a two-day workshop led by innovation guru Jesper Müller-Krogstrup, Nosco partner and co-founder.
The projects included:
A jury of leaders from the sponsoring companies awarded BaCoat, the food-coating product brainchild of the Indonesian team, the final prize of 10,000 CHF ($10,130). The deciding factors from the jury that resulted in this team’s win were their prototype, the problem they addressed (food waste is responsible for eight percent of global emissions), the impressive improvement in their presentation skills over the two-day training, and their effective team dynamics.
Oracle's engagement with CFC stems from our long-standing commitment to building a resilient future for our planet and changing lives around the world. Oracle believes that technology is a crucial enabler to a more sustainable future, a vision shared by all the companies sponsoring this initiative.
"We want to foster innovation and sustainability by supporting students and young professionals in their personal and professional development," explains Jens Peter Joschek, a member of the jury and Head of Innovation Excellence at Covestro, a leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials. "All teams provided a wide variety of perspectives needed to solve the global climate change issue and brought inspiration from their local environment, from farming in Europe to water scarcity in India. This links perfectly with the open innovation culture of all the companies supporting the Challenge."
"To me investing time with young innovators and equipping, enabling, and empowering them through more discipline and rigor expedites their ability to come up with viable solutions," says juror and Vice President of Innovation and Design at Oracle Brian Curren. "Our wisdom and their passion are the key ingredients to a sustainable future and combining them is the best chance to obtaining results."
The food waste theme resonated with the mission of Buhler, a leading food equipment manufacturer. "Looking into solutions to feed and move 10 billion people by 2050 while respecting the limits of the planet" stated Thierry Duvanel, Director of Collaborative Innovation. "A sustainable future will be only possible if translated and embedded within businesses."
The jury also included David Ward, Secretary-General at UNITECH, Lauren Teague, Student Representative at UNITECH, and Wilhelm Otten, Head of Business Line Process Technology and Engineering at Evonik.
Kudos to Romy Lienhard and the entire Oracle team in Switzerland for spearheading Oracle's engagement with the Carbon Footprint Challenge and providing a fantastic experience to all participants. I am looking forward to following the finalists on their future journey.
To find out more, go to https://carbonfootprintchallenge.org/.