$1m prize for innovative solutions for clean energy, sustainability

Business can be prosperous when done in an eco-friendly way, says Temasek Foundation Ecosperity's CEO Lim Hock Chuan.
Business can be prosperous when done in an eco-friendly way, says Temasek Foundation Ecosperity's CEO Lim Hock Chuan.

Local non-profit organisation Temasek Foundation has launched its Liveability Challenge this year, issuing a global call for companies to come up with innovative solutions for clean energy and sustainability in tropical cities.

Its Ecosperity arm is offering a $1 million prize - which it claims is the biggest in Asia for such a competition - to the winning company, which will go towards project development, crowdfunding campaigns and mentoring opportunities.

The challenge is being organised by Eco-Business magazine in partnership with this year's Ecosperity Week in June when the contest's finale will be held.

A total of 28 partners from business, civil society and government sectors have announced their support for The Liveability Challenge, almost double the number from last year's inaugural competition.

"We believe that business can be prosperous when done in an ecologically friendly way," said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, chief executive of Temasek Foundation Ecosperity.

"Last year, The Liveability Challenge was a great success with over 200 applications from 35 countries, and we are looking forward to more."

Last year's winner, RWDC Industries, a Singapore-based biodegradable technology firm, was awarded $980,000 to jump-start the testing and production of its drinking straws and other biodegradable alternatives to plastic products - which contribute to a sustainable, or "circular", economy.

Organisers say this year's challenge has extra importance with humanity having only 12 years to curb its carbon emissions and keep global warming below 1.5 deg C, or risk an irreversible climate crisis, according to the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"To give the world a fighting chance at preventing runaway climate change, humanity must slash emissions by 45 per cent and it is clear that incremental improvements will not be enough," said Ms Jessica Cheam, managing editor of Eco-Business.

"But we believe in the power of human ingenuity and determination, which is why this year's challenge aims to tackle two major areas of concern in sustainability: energy and the circular economy.

"With more funding and support this year, the challenge aims to drive impact and ensure a sustainable future for urban residents in the tropical belt, who are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the decades to come."

Until April 5, the challenge's organisers will accept proposals for energy and circular economy solutions that have already completed proof of concept. The finalists will be announced on May 6.

Finalists will go for a "boot camp" on June 6, with the final to be held the following day.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline $1m prize for innovative solutions for clean energy, sustainability. Subscribe