Climate Action

Sustainable Innovation Expo 2014 brings the private sector to first UNEA

Thirteen companies showcasing innovative technologies and services at the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya as part of the summits official agenda

  • 26 June 2014
  • William Brittlebank

A select group of leading private sector organisations have been showcasing their sustainable climate change solutions as part of the first United Nations Environment Assembly at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).

The summit opened on Monday in the Kenyan capital and more than 1,200 participants including ministers, chief justices, economists and civil society leaders from around the world have gathered for the five-day meeting. Key issues on the agenda have included illegal trade in wildlife; environmental rule of law; financing the Green Economy; and the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production.

The Sustainable Innovation Expo, organised by Climate Action in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has been running alongside the summit and has given the private sector a unique platform at the most prestigious environmental meeting in the world.

Thirteen companies have been showcasing their innovative technologies and services at the exclusive exhibition within the UN compound which is also the headquarters of UNEP.

Sustainable technologies have been showcased at the exhibition by a wide range of leading providers who have been able to demonstrate their climate friendly products to ministers, leading NGO's, development banks, intergovernmental organisations and civil society.

The leading ICT company Avaya has been showcasing their streaming technology that is significantly reducing business travel globally and the associated greenhouse gas emissions through its application on conference call systems. Avaya executives also presented a workshop on Wednesday that formed part of the official UNEA agenda and they were able to go into detail with delegates to outline how their technology is offering a vital solution.

The German based organisation BlackBridge has a suite of RapidEye products that collect imagery from satellites and they are supporting environmental monitoring. They are helping numerous countries to participate in the REDD+ initiative by generating coverage of forest areas and they also presented an official workshop to UNEA delegates.

HP have also demonstrated key technological solutions to climate change and the company showcased their Living Progress initiative. It is an integrated approach to business that is paving the way for a more sustainable approach to IT infrastructure.

Siemens have participated at the summit and have brought their turnkey solutions for integrated energy production to the debate. The company offers reliable power supply in remote locations with weak or no grid connection though its Hybrid Power Solutions.

Valmont Industries have showcased their innovative Valley irrigation technology that is improving global food and water security though its efficient irrigation of crops.

A range of companies have also been showcasing clean energy solutions which has been a central theme of the summit.

ABB, as a key player in the solar industry, has been showing how crucial solar inverters, low-voltage and grid connection products and PV power plants are to sustainable development.

Actis invests exclusively in emerging markets and has a growing portfolio of investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It calls on the positive power of capital and identifies key investment opportunities in the solar and wind energy sectors. The Actis workshop highlighted how these investments and projects are boosting renewable energy generation and how they are supporting sustainable development.

Alstom have been a key energy partner of the Expo and brought their range of solutions to the debate. The company builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for energy sources including hydro, gas and wind and has a focus on smart grids.

DIRECTTECH Global have been a sponsor of Climate Action's at COP19 in Warsaw, Poland and also Decentralised Energy 2014 in London and the German company has been a key partner at the UNEA summit. The company has showcased its modular decentralised WINDTRACKER System which is designed to be integrated in architecture and infrastructure to build up smart cities and communities. DIRECTTECH executives have been demonstrating how the technology is perfect for sustainable desalination, water and sewage management.

Sumitomo Corporation has committed to provide solutions for "Access to Electricity" in Africa and the company has completed 48,000MW in EPC projects and owns over 5,000MW of net power generation capacity globally. Sumitomo has been showcasing how its sustainable energy solutions are being applied around the world and how effective they are at contributing to clean energy generation.

The Norwegian company SunErgy provides solar electricity to off grid rural villages in emerging markets through the installation of solar power stations and local grids. The company's executives have been demonstrating how electricity combined with communication solutions is key to sustainable and viable community development.

The water sector has been represented by Aqualogy whose workshop also formed part of the official UNEA agenda. The company focuses on efficiency through the development and implementation of advanced technologies and innovation in water cycle management.

Green our World Industries has brought a truly entrepreneurial facet to the exhibition at UNEA. The company is based in Switzerland and engages in research, development and planning of industrial plants for the purpose of exploiting materials such as used tires, shredded used cars, conveyor belts, reactivating of carbon as well as purifying contaminated soil and water.

Climate Action CEO Nick Henry addressed the summits delegates in the main conference room on Wednesday evening as part of the "UNEA unplugged symposium" on Wednesday evening and praised UNEP for helping to facilitate such strong private sector engagement at the summit.

Mr Henry said: "The role of the private sector is absolutely critical if we wish to transition to a truly green economy. We need innovative low carbon technologies and finance to bridge the funding gap. We need more companies like Actis, the emerging market investor with $6.5 billion under management, who have been investing in renewable energy supply, green real estate and consumer businesses that have significant social impact. The Sustainable Innovation Forum 2014, in partnership with UNEP, is the foremost annual event to accelarate the green economy. The Forum brings together 350+ world leaders, environment and energy ministers, CEO's, senior executives, investors and experts to share ideas for how to address climate change, advance green growth and sustainable development."

The Climate Action Networking Reception sponsored by Scania took place on Tuesday evening and was a central event at UNEA 2014. The reception was attended by over 300 people including the Under Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner, environment ministers and senior members of delegations.