Innovation30: Young Climate Innovators Shaping the Future
UNICEF and global accelerators curate a pipeline of transformative climate solutions by young people under 30.
For decades, with grit, creativity, and ingenuity, young people have been revolutionizing what is possible in shaping the boundaries of the tech industry.
Research consistently shows that the most successful companies are often founded by young entrepreneurs in their thirties, who nurtured and refined their ideas in their twenties and even earlier.
From shaping the landscape of social media to pioneering Artificial Intelligence (AI), young people are generating seismic shifts transforming our societies on a global scale.
Meet the innovators selected by Innovation30:
Today, there are 3.8 billion people under the age of 30. If the largest generation of young people in the world are equally and inclusively empowered to innovate, the potential for progress is unlimited.
Unfortunately, the reality is that only 2.4% of climate finance from major Multilateral Climate Funds goes towards child-responsive activities. To bridge this gap UNICEF and a consortium of leading global innovation accelerators have joined forces to launch the Innovation30 – Young Climate Innovators Shaping the Future.
The initiative focuses on transformative innovative solutions to climate change and places the global diversity of young innovators center stage as stakeholders, technical experts, and designers driving our climate solutions. Investing in their innovative ideas means investing in a climate-resilient future for all.
By curating an active pipeline of bold, localized climate solutions ready to scale, the initiative is expanding the sourcing frontiers of social innovator talent.
“Young climate innovators are creating life-changing localized solutions to address urgent global needs. The Innovation30 initiative is committed to bridging these transformative climate innovations today and pipelines of the future to an equitable and just green economy capital and resource ecosystem.”
The climate solutions are vetted by independent climate scientists from Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) Canopy and Imperial College London - Undaunted, the climate change innovation activity run in partnership with the Royal Institution*.
“We are delighted to bring technical expertise from across Imperial College, together with our climate innovation experience at Undaunted, to the international stage. We hope our work will bring opportunity to young innovators from around the world whilst amplifying solutions that fit a wide range of contexts, helping us to build a more sustainable future for everyone.”
From megadroughts and blistering heatwaves to staggering flooding, half of the world's children, totaling one billion, are deemed to be at extremely high risk due to a deadly combination of high exposure to climate hazards and inadequate services to support them. Though they are the most vulnerable to climate shocks, young people under 30 are largely excluded from formal climate policy negotiations; they are rarely considered or included in climate adaptation, mitigation, or finance plans.
Young innovators play a key role in driving climate adaptation and mitigation breakthroughs. Their daily experiences of climate challenges position them uniquely to confront and solve the problems they face. Through their creativity, fresh perspectives, and ideas, they pioneer climate solutions with transformational potential.
“At CISL Canopy we’re pleased to be working on the Innovation30 – Young Climate Innovators Shaping the Future with UNICEF and Undaunted to promote, support and scale up those youth-led enterprises with potential to provide solutions to the global challenge of climate change. We have many of the technologies we need to tackle climate change, but many more still need to be developed, and we need smart ways to deploy those we do have both at scale and in locally appropriate ways for people, nature and the climate.”
Innovation 30 is the collaborative effort of a consortium of innovation accelerators nominating and vetting impactful solutions from around the world. They include:
“The Anzisha Prize is a 3-year fellowship programme that supports and celebrates youth entrepreneurship in Africa. We believe that young minds when encouraged to start a business have the utmost potential to change the trajectory of the work force and provide employment for other young people. We are pleased to be part of UNICEF Innovation30 to showcase globally young African Entrepreneurs working on promising climate solutions.”
The UNICEF global climate innovation portfolio aligns with a diverse partner network to champion impactful solutions, especially with and for communities in the over 190 countries where we have presence. With a shared purpose we catalyze increased investments to source, pilot, iterate and scale solutions so that they help change these communities’ realities and hopes around climate change.
About Undaunted – a partnership between Imperial College London and the Royal Institution – is fostering a healthy innovation ecosystem to enable the successful creation and scale-up of solutions to the climate challenge. Over the past 12 years, we have developed and refined our model for accelerating applicable, practical and adaptable solutions that make a difference on a global scale. From our home in the heart of London we are nurturing innovators via The Greenhouse – one of the most established specialist climate accelerators in the world. Undaunted startups have raised more than $1 billion in investment since 2012 and created over 1,500 jobs in 30 countries. In the face of climate change, we are Undaunted.
*The team from Imperial has been commissioned through Imperial Consultants and comprises independent researchers from across the College and experts from Undaunted.
We are an impact-led institute within the University of Cambridge that activates leadership globally for people, nature and climate. Through our global network and hubs in Cambridge, Cape Town and Brussels, we work with leaders and innovators across business, finance and government to accelerate action for a sustainable future.
The Canopy is a workspace and community for impact-driven startups, entrepreneurs and SMEs putting sustainability at the heart of their business models, and advancing solutions to achieve net zero, protect and restore nature, and build inclusive and resilient societies. The Canopy’s workspace in Central Cambridge provides the space, support, and networks for sustainability innovation to thrive and grow in CISL’s modern exemplar for a sustainable retrofit, the Entopia Building.