Impact Innovation in Ireland, and SDG Alpha
As some of you might be aware, over the past few months I’ve been digging deeper into the area of innovation for impact, to better understand the opportunities and challenges for organisations and communities regarding their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) activities, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) particularly. Increasingly, I’m really interested in innovation projects that create what I’m starting to refer to as “SDG Alpha” — that is, innovation that transforms the ability of an individual, company, or an entire industry to achieve an SDG target. More on this at a later stage, but it’s a continuation of the research I began when profiling Irish startups who are aligned with the SDGs.
There’s an absolute torrent of information being created and shared every day that relates to sustainability, and it can be a challenge to identify what’s the most meaningful and useful — there’s most definitely a lot of impact washing taking place. I wanted to share a couple of interesting articles, events, resources, and opportunities that I’ve stumbled across over the last few days — especially those most relevant to the Irish ecosystem. If you find them helpful (or otherwise), please let me know in the comments — and if there’s something in particular you think I should have included, just shout!
In no particular order:
- The Cabinet agreed the Climate Action Bill, with legal commitments to some of the world’s steepest decarbonisation targets. Plenty of politics still to happen, but I think the Irish Government has inadvertently created a test-bed for innovation, as businesses and consumers grapple with the inevitable constraints that will follow. Nothing fosters innovation like a little necessity… https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/climate-bill-signals-intent-but-gaps-remain-on-how-to-halve-emissions-by-2030-1.4518356
- The mighty team at What The Hack are running a hackathon challenge, seeking innovative solutions to develop online campaigns that spread awareness of issues in the fashion industry and push companies towards transparency; free event, see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fashion-revolution-week-hashtag-revolt-hackathon-tickets-144979897777
- To my earlier point, there’s an ongoing debate about the real value of Impact Investing; whether it’s all hype, or if there’s actual substance to it. VentureWave Capital have assembled a seriously impressive panel to discuss just that — details and registration at https://venturewave.com/register/ (I mean, who doesn’t want to learn more about The Edge’s opinion on sustainability?)
- The EU recently launched two interesting programmes looking at specific challenges in the climate crisis; one focused on reducing and offsetting carbon emissions, while creating new business opportunities (https://community-smei.easme-web.eu/articles/open-call-eic-greenhouse-gas-programme-ready-launch-your-carbon-journey), and another exploring solutions that mitigate water scarcity (https://eitmanufacturing.eu/water-scarcity-call-for-bok-experts-open/). Fair warning, EU websites are things of great ugliness.
- Finally, a few bits of career-related news: first, huge congrats to Andrew McGreal, who was promoted to Investment Director at BVP, an Irish fund who’ve been a long-time supporter of sustainability via innovation in Ireland: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6780884417037508609/; second, EI are looking for a senior executive to manage their newly created Climate Action Department; and last, but not least, there’s a really interesting looking role open at ChangeX, who are looking for a new Innovation Lead — see https://www.changex.org/blog/innovation-lead/
That’s it for this first update. Share, and enjoy!