Sustainable Development

Want to hear about the ideas solving the world's biggest challenges? Follow UpLink on Twitter

We continue to lose about 15 billion trees every year. Can we find a solution? Image: Unsplash

Ross Chainey
Content Lead, UpLink, World Economic Forum
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Sustainable Development

  • UpLink is a global crowdsourcing platform that surfaces solutions to the world's toughest challenges, launched by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with founding partners Salesforce, Deloitte and LinkedIn
  • Four challenges have been launched so far, on the ocean, COVID-19, 1 trillion trees and social justice as the world rebuilds from the pandemic.
  • You can now follow UpLink on Twitter (click on the image below).

An underwater sculpture that is helping to restore coral reefs in Thailand, "cocoons" for young trees that help forests grow in the harshest of climates, and an all-female Afghan robotics team that has built a low-cost ventilator to help fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

These are just some of the bright ideas and inspiring innovations that UpLink - a digital platform created by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with founding partners Salesforce, Deloitte and LinkedIn - has spotlighted since it was launched six months ago to help find solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.

Unveiled at Davos 2020, UpLink is crowd-sourcing platform, open to anyone, which aims to speed up the delivery of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The site allows users to identify challenges linked to the SDGs and submit ideas on how to tackle them.


Once the ideas are submitted to the platform, UpLink connects the next generation of social innovators to networks of contacts that have the resources, expertise and experience to help bring about the change our world so desperately needs.

The story so far

In June this year, UpLink launched its 'Ocean Solutions Sprint', a call for entrepreneurs to submit their innovations related to SDG-14, Life Below Water.

The competition attracted ocean innovators from around the world on a range of ocean-related topics, from plastic pollution and recycling, to illegal fishing and coral reef restoration.

The winners included:

Cubex Global - an online marketplace that buys and sells empty shipping container space while reducing emissions from the shipping industry.


Oceanium - an innovative biotech start-up that is developing products like biopackaging from sustainably-farmed seaweed.

RecyGlo - a waste management and data analytics platform that is tackling plastic pollution at its source in Southeast Asia, and is processing 500 tonnes of waste a month.


These three companies join a cohort of nine other innovations and surprising solutions that are helping to save our ocean. You can find out about the members of the Ocean Cohort here, including a boat made out of recycled flip-flops and a start-up that is using satelites to fight illegal fishing and piracy.


In June, UpLink then sent out a call for ideas to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled the global economy and, at time of writing, is confirmed to have infected over 22 million people and killed almost 800,000.

The COVID Challenges have crowdsourced innovations from around the world that will help countries to prevent, respond and recover from the pandemic, as well as identify and address social inequalities highlighted by the coronavirus outbreak.


We have received over 300 submissions to the challenge, and will announce a winning cohort in the coming weeks.

UpLink also launched the Trillion Trees Challenge in July, in collaboration with, the initiative launched by the World Economic Forum that aims to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees around the world. The winning cohort of this challenge will be announced at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit in September.

Until then, we've featured a number of innovative projects and innovations that are already helping to protect forests around the world, as well as focusing on some of the major roadblocks that must be overcome if this goal is to be achieved.


Follow us on Twitter

This is just the beginning - we'll be launching more challenges and sprints related to the other SDGs throughout the year and beyond.

In the meantime, you can follow UpLink on its new Twitter channel. We'll share the latest videos and blogs on the innovations and ideas that are helping to make our world a better place.

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