World Economic Forum Initiatives to Support Impact Start-ups and Scale Nature-focused Innovations in China

Published
26 Jun 2024
2024
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World Economic Forum, public.affairs@weforum.org

  • UpLink and 1t.org join forces to boost innovation ecosystems and promote the growth of nature-positive start-ups in China.
  • The first cohort of impact-driven start-ups from the world’s second-largest economy will receive targeted support to scale up their ventures.
  • Impact entrepreneurs can play a key role in realizing China’s nature and climate targets, including forest conservation goals and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
  • For more information on the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024, visit wef.ch/amnc24 and share on social media using the hashtag #amnc24, or #2024夏季达沃# on Weibo and WeChat

Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 26 June 2024 – UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform, and 1t.org, a Forum initiative to boost global conservation and reforestation efforts, have partnered to source and accelerate nature-positive start-ups in China with business models that combine profitability and environmental stewardship.

The new collaboration will support the world’s second-largest economy in delivering on its long-term climate and nature goals. As one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, China has pledged to plant, conserve and restore 70 billion trees by 2030, while also announcing its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Ecopreneurs – early-stage entrepreneurs working on solutions to the world’s sustainability challenges – can play a key role in realizing this ambition while maintaining robust economic growth. The new Forum-led collaboration will focus on providing pioneering innovators with the resources they need to tackle the climate crisis and accelerate the transition to a nature-positive future.

“Innovation provides a unique opportunity for sustainable growth,” said John Dutton, Head of UpLink, World Economic Forum. “Transforming novel ideas into successful early-stage ventures which deliver high-quality growth while safeguarding our natural environment, will require a collaborative ecosystem of actors. This is where UpLink, 1t.org and partner organizations can really help make a positive contribution to China’s nature and climate targets, and hopefully inspire other countries to follow in their footsteps.”

The first cohort of China-based impact-driven start-ups – known as Top Innovators – to join the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem was announced today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024. UpLink, whose recent Biodiversity Challenge, launched in partnership with Mercuria, issued a global call for innovative solutions that could halt or reverse biodiversity decline, will provide these ecopreneurs with targeted support to scale up their solutions through global visibility, networking opportunities and access to a growing community of early-stage impact investors.

The new UpLink Top Innovators include:

  • SEED Nature, which is working on the conservation and sustainable use of endangered plants in the Himalayan mountains. By blending traditional knowledge with innovative practices, the organization aims to protect biodiversity and support local communities.
  • Rewild Yunnan, a social enterprise that champions innovative agroforestry methods for large-scale reforestation. This start-up’s approach combats deforestation while also promoting ecological resilience and economic benefits through scalable, community-driven initiatives.
  • RoboticsCats specializes in wildfire detection powered by artificial intelligence. Already deployed in over 10 countries, the start-up collaborates with governments and organizations to mitigate wildfire risks through automated 24/7 monitoring, enhancing detection accuracy and response times.
  • Green Anhui is an environmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development and environmental protection. It uses infrared cameras, greenfly source DNA and patrol monitoring system apps to track and safely manage the population and distribution of wild animals in protected areas. Its patrol system can be widely replicated in nature reserves around the world in parallel with activities that support communities.

"Entrepreneurs who put the protection of biodiversity and nature at the heart of their business model are key to realizing a regenerative, nature-positive economy,” said Nicole Schwab, Co-Head, Nature Positive Pillar, World Economic Forum. “The collaboration between Uplink and 1t.org, in partnership with Mercuria, with support of Good to Nature to source our first China-based ecopreneurs is a vital step in mainstreaming this inspirational new way of doing business."

"We are excited to support this initiative, which aligns with Mercuria's global commitment to fostering sustainable growth and innovation. By empowering early-stage ecopreneurs, we are investing in their potential and contributing to needed and ambitious environmental goals,” said Enric Arderiu, Global Head of Environmental Products at Mercuria. “This collaboration underscores our belief that change is achieved through innovative solutions and strategic partnerships."

About the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024

The 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions takes place on 25-27 June in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, under the theme, “Next Frontiers for Growth”. The meeting gathers over 1,600 high-level leaders from business, government, civil society and international organizations to generate collective insights and deployable solutions that can spur and maintain positive economic momentum globally.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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