Leading initiatives from innovative cleantech platforms to restoring the world’s degraded oceans and forests, these 4 young entrepreneurs are developing inspiring solutions to challenging global sustainability issues.
1. Lubomila Jordanova, CEO & Co-Founder Plan A
Because “climate change is everyone’s business”, Lubomila Jordanova created Plan A. She is also the co-founder of the Greentech Alliance, an organisation which brings together green technology businesses to support them with advice about funding, impact, visibility and strategy with the help of top VCs, journalists, advisors and entrepreneurs.
Plan A is a Berlin-based company developing an end-to-end platform that uses machine learning and science to enable businesses to manage and improve their carbon and ESG performance. The firm has been recognised by the President of the European Commission as a key player in the field and Lubomila was selected as Obama Leader for Europe 2022 by the Obama Foundation.
2. Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of rePurpose Global
As the world’s first Plastic Credit Platform, rePurpose has the goal of eliminating ocean plastic and empowering marginalized waste workers in developing countries. Since its inception, rePurpose Global has worked with more than 100 purposeful brands, enterprises of all sizes, including Fortune 500s.
What makes rePurpose unique is they help consumers, workplaces, and businesses i.) measure their plastic footprint, ii.) take responsibility for it by funding the recovery and recycling of an equivalent amount of plastic waste, and iii.) receive personalized tips and tools going forward to reduce their plastic consumption in a gamified manner.
3. Boyan Slat, CEO of The Ocean Cleanup
At 16 years old, while on a diving expedition in Greece, Boyan Slat noticed more plastic bags than fish in the ocean. He asked himself, “Why isn’t anyone cleaning this up?” This question circled in his mind for about a year before decided to take action.
Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system through which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years. Boyan Slat has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and is the youngest-ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental accolade – Champion of the Earth. The organization aims to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
In 2019, Thomas Crowther’s paper on the global tree restoration potential attracted wide-spread attention by suggesting that if 0.9 billion hectares of land could be protected, there would be room for one trillion more trees, which could capture up to a third of the excess atmospheric carbon to date. The study inspired the World Economic Forum to announce its Trillion Trees initiative, 1T.org, which aims to conserve and restore one trillion trees globally within the decade. Crowther serves on the advisory board of 1T.org.
Thomas began his professorship at ETH Zurich in 2017, where he started Crowther Lab, an interdisciplinary group of scientists exploring how global-scale ecological systems interact to regulate the climate and collecting data to inform best practices for ecosystem-specific restoration efforts.