Scientists and global leaders are busy seeking solutions to climate change, but a growing number of experts in the field think that another group will have to play a critical role: entrepreneurs. And now is the time for entrepreneurs to enter the fray. Climate change is perhaps the most considerable environment challenge of our time. It poses a great challenge to sustainable progress globally.
Kenya is already feeling the effects Climate change. The widespread poverty, recurrent droughts, floods, inequitable land distribution, overdependence on rain-fed agriculture, and few coping mechanisms all combine to increase people’s vulnerability to climate change. For instance, disadvantaged people have little security against intense climatic actions. They have few resource reserves, poor housing and depend on natural resources for their living. Floods and droughts have caused damage to property and loss of life, reduced business opportunities and increased the cost of transacting business as recently witnessed in most parts of the country. The areas likely to feel the greatest impacts comprise the economy, water, ecosystems, food security, coastal zones, health and the distribution of populations and settlements. Africa is considered vulnerable to climate change- effects largely due to lack of financial, institutional and technological capacity.
For the past eighteen months I have developed a passionate attitude towards climate change, I understand that the surge in carbon dioxide levels due to human activity since the Industrial Revolution is now causing an overall warming of the planet that is having impacts around the globe. According to an article from The Guardian magazine news on 20th November 2013, Just 90 companies caused two—thirds of man-made global warming emissions. In Africa, our economical strength will rely heavily on the fast growth of our companies and business. But it is our unfortunate reality, majority of companies and business in our cities tends to look for the cheapest means of production, most of these means are environmental unfriendly practices. I find it as a matter of utmost urgency to base my entrepreneurial idea with a goal to tackle this issue while our industries are yet to emerge as leading global competitors.
A free mobile application that use a scanner to scan any product in any stores, instantly read consumer reviews, see scores, and view awards from top websites. Additionally, the app will also be able to compare two scanned products, or browse products from extensive database and compare features, specs and top reviews; Find the best prices by comparing local and in-store prices with online retailers.
How will a mobile application tackle the emission of carbon dioxide by companies and business (during their production stages) into the atmosphere?
As much as our conventional answers to this question have been proven to work, i.e. reduce deforestation, use renewable energy and so forth. My answer would be: The growth use of technology, specifically smart phones and social media in Africa has been rising consistently for the past decade. It is fair to say, in this era, most of our problems would be solved with the use of technology, climate change included.
With the deliberate objective of zero carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere in mind, the idea behind this mobile application will be to identify consumer products as ‘BIO friendly’, and with minimal harm to the natural environment and living organisms. The app will serve as a form of digital marketing for top reviewed leading companies, consumer products reviewed as BIO friendly will be highly rated, this strategy convinces me that pressure will be put on the production industry stakeholders to figure out ways to have top reviews. In solving the carbon dioxide emission challenge, they will be looking for innovative solutions.
The determination of ‘BIO friendliness’ (Zero emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere) of a product will be through combination of credible free resources such as The Carbon Majors Database and companies’ activity data.
Transparency is at the heart of the approach, which relies on company reported activity data and follows a simple, reproducible methodology for estimating emissions. The estimation method follows the IPCC ‘Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories’
The general form of calculation is expressed by the equation above. This equation states that activity data (e.g. barrels of oil) is multiplied by a factor which defines the emissions specific to that activity (e.g. tonnes of CO2 e per barrel of oil). In this case, P is production, EF is the emission factor, and subscript p is the product. Nearly all activity data is collected from sources available in the public domain, most of which are found in company annual reports and securities filings.
This information will already be pre-stored in the app database, it will be available to the consumer upon scanning of the barcodes.
As a continent, we have many great environment-friendly policies in almost every country, but we still face severe climate effects, if correctly implemented, policies have proven to be effective to change behavior, and can provide opportunities for clean tech businesses to gain a competitive advantage. The stagnant effect is because of politics, politics often tends interfere with implementation processes. That Is why in my entrepreneurial idea I approach the climate challenge with the digital marketing angle.
As a citizen of Kenya, I bear in mind that a large population of people living outside big cities do not depend on food stores and supermarkets for products, and rather obtain food from their farms or furniture from local sole businesses, the all-inclusivity intention of the app and website will feature informational materials on good farming practices and tips, exposure/marketing of the small businesses that strives to produce BIO-friendly products too.
For hard tech, physical-science-based startups, the biggest issue right now is that no investors are interested in funding companies and projects at the earliest stage. The timescale is too long and too risky for most investors. But that means it can be nearly impossible for innovators to get started. Sometimes the problem with new ideas is that they’re new. If an idea is sufficiently powerful that it matters, it will sound impossible. It often comes down to one well-done proof of concept.
For effective impacts, Industry and consumers can help in many ways. I want to influence the emergence of decentralization of electricity generation. Solar & wind-powered self-sustaining homes to use only what they need and sell power back to the grid becoming not only consumers but distributed generators, contributing to the countries renewable energy generation efforts and most importantly make Africa the world’s leader in lowest amount of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.