Sustainable Innovation Expo at UN Environment Assembly

This year's Sustainable Innovation Expo in Kenya, a platform for engaging the private sector, has a specific focus of “Eco-Innovation and Sustainable Finance”

The Sustainable Innovation Expo kicked off yesterday at the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya, where it plans to showcase over 42 technologies and innovative solutions from around the world in a 6-day event. More than 4,000 delegates from 170 countries during the official opening of the assembly in Nairobi.

The Sustainable Innovation Expo is the UN Environment Assembly’s solution-based platform for engaging innovators using exhibitions to reveal the latest technologies in the sustainability sector.

The event will see extensive panel discussions, and provide networking opportunities to more than 30 exhibitors. The Expo’s objective is to find solutions for today’s problems by embracing a “forward-thinking culture that fosters ingenuity.”

The event is to be held – from 10–15 March – focuses on Eco-Innovation and Sustainable Finance.

“Some of the most important solutions to the climate crisis – and to biodiversity loss, and to so many other challenges – will come from innovation,” says Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment. “Innovation must work for all, not for the few – but creating innovation is also not the preserve of the few.

“Every day we are seeing more promising examples of positive action – from emissions-free tuk tuks, to cutting-edge alternatives to single-use plastic, to new climate-smart ways of managing our forests and farmlands.”

The innovative sustainable business represents a trillion-dollar opportunity that can bring value to people and the environment. Some of the organizations pioneering new technologies at the event include Airbus, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Switch Africa Green.

Other innovative techniques showcased at the expo include ‘Timbeter’ a digital (mobile app) timber measurement solution that uses a smartphone for accurate log detection.

“With this app on your smartphone, you only need to point the phone camera to say a lorry full of timber, and it will accurately give you the total number of logs on the truck, and circumference measurement of each of the logs,” Anna-Greta Tsahkna the Co-founder of the Estonian-based Timbeter.

So far, the technology has been embraced in Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Chile where companies are using it to share measurements with contractors and clients. They use it to count logs, the log diameter and density in less than 3 minutes. It is an important tool in eradicating illegal logging.

Other exhibitors include a Canadian company that uses shipping containers to create affordable and sustainable housing; an Indian solution that provides solar-powered cooling for fruits, vegetables and other perishable commodities fresh; and a group of Kenyan students who have designed an Aquaponic system that recirculates water and ensures maximum production of fish in smaller spaces.

Brazilian experts from a company called Votorantim were showcasing a technique where they extract DNA from different forest species to analyze their chemical makeup.

“This makes it easy for users to know which type of trees, plants, grass or anything within the biodiversity they should target based on what they want to extract for medicines, cosmetics, perfumes among others,” said Frineia Rezente, the Executive Manager of Votorantim, said.

The intention of the Forum is to connect innovators with investors and partners and allow ideas to be scaled through investment and/or mentoring.

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