10 Groundbreaking Solutions for a Sustainable Planet

Published: Oct. 19, 2015

By Sustainia

About Powering Agriculture

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development supports the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

Today, sustainability think tank Sustainia and partners announced a top-10 of leading sustainability innovations for 2015. The 10 projects and technologies are finalists for international honor, Sustainia Award, which identifies and celebrates groundbreaking sustainability solutions from all over the world.

Sustainia’s Award Committee, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, will now review the finalists, which come from nine different countries and cover everything from new ways of financing climate mitigation projects in cities, leasing models for baby clothes, citizen engagement projects for energy consumption and solar rechargeable hearing aids.

These top 100 sustainability solutions were selected after reviewing more than 1,500 projects and businesses on six continents.

The Sustainia Award Committee counts five jury members: Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Chair of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra K. Pachauri and Former EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The public is also part of the celebrations. Starting today, everyone can vote for their favorite innovation among the 10 nominees. The finalist with most public votes will bring home the Sustainia Community Award.

Both winners are announced at the Sustainia Award Ceremony on Dec. 6 in Paris during the COP21. With the newly ratified Sustainable Development Goals and the negotiations for a new binding climate agreement at COP21, it’s enough with the talk and all about action—the readily available solutions. These solutions, the real change makers, are already now working in the market and will be needed in a changing world of climate change—no matter the outcome of COP21. The Award Ceremony gathers innovators and performers from around the world to celebrate solutions for a sustainable tomorrow.

Here are the top 10 leading sustainability innovations for 2015:

Food Finalist: SunCulture (USA), Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation for Smallholders

More than 80 percent of Kenya experiences low and unpredictable rainfall. Farmers are therefore unable to rely on rain-fed agriculture to meet their subsistence needs. Although diesel and treadle pumps are available in the market, the effectiveness of these technologies is constrained by high fuel costs and labor inefficiencies. Instead, SunCulture’s system relies on a renewable energy source and the solar-powered drip irrigation system delivers water directly to crop roots, resulting in yield gains of up to 300 percent and water savings of up to 80 percent, according to the company. Over 250 systems have been installed in Kenya, with a payback period of one three-month growing season based on fuel, fertilizer and labor savings in addition to increased crop yields. To increase access, SunCulture also offers various payment options, including a financing scheme.

To read more about the other finalists, read the full article at EcoWatch.

Related News & Events: 
Sep. 15, 2017

SunCulture and their partner, Professor Lyrical, won the grand prize at “Pitch & Flow”, a rap battle event where social entrepreneurs and underground rappers worked together to translate the stories of their work, and how it's helping to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, into verse.

Jul. 20, 2017

SunCulture's founders, Charles Nichols and Samir Ibrahim, started SunCulture by borrowing money from friends and family. Now their irrigation are changing farmers' lives. Find out more about their business, vision and philosophy in this Q&A with How We Made It in Africa.