Lab 2 - Save the planet, make a living: Green entrepreneurship
9 November 2021, 9.00-11.00 - Room 3 – Palais de l’Europe
For a long time, the primary mission of any entrepreneur was to make a profit. However, in light of ever-growing environmental challenges, some entrepreneurs are attempting to shift from this traditional economic model and place environmental and social responsibility at the core of their initiatives.
This is not just an ethical choice: as more consumers start making environmentally conscious decisions, greener initiatives tend to achieve greater financial sustainability. But what does it take to create a thriving business model that generates benefits both for people and for the planet? What are the risks and challenges that green entrepreneurs still face? What can governments and the corporate sector learn from the green entrepreneurship approach?
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Wise Greece, Greece
Wise Greece is one of Europe's most awarded non-profit organizations in its field. On the one hand they work with the Greek small farmers and food producers, to help them grow and export their products in a sustainable way, while at the same time they use our profit from the sales of the products to buy food supplies and donate them to the 3 million people in Greece who live below the poverty line. In this way, they actively help the backbone of the Greek economy (the small family owned businesses) and offer the most essential commodity -food- to people in need. So far, Wise Greece works with 100 small food producers, with more than 2.500 products, has a presence in 8 European countries and has managed to donate more than 50 tons of food to people in need.
Founder, Wise Greece
In 2020 she was one of the seven women globally who received the prestigious award SDGs and Her from the World Bank and the United Nations, for her work in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. She is the founder of “Wise Greece”, a social enterprise that promotes top quality Greek products and uses the profits from sales in order to buy foods in bulk and donate them to soup kitchens, children, families and the elderly in need. Melina is moreover an Ambassador of the Think Young Entrepreneurship School, a TEDX Speaker, a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, an IVLP Alumna in the program of Social Responsibility and Innovation funded by the US Department of State, a co-builder of the international World Human Forum, a Young Emerging Leader 2018 by the European-Australian Forum and a Young Innovative Leader 2019 (YTILI Fellow) by the German Marshall Fund and the US Department of State.
ReShoes: From Awareness to Action, Italy
“ReShoes: From Awareness to Action” is a Retake initiative in which we collect surplus gym shoes for recycling and reuse. Shoes in good shape go to the poor to wear; shoes too worn out to wear become playground pavements. This circular-economy project entails: educating the public about the value of recycling and reusing superfluous, apparently worthless and potentially environmental-damaging materials; collecting sneakers through a number of partner institutions, both private and public; and repurposing the sneakers to build eco-friendly playground pavements, through our partner company ESO Società Benefit arl’s project “Esosport.” Schools, universities, and businesses serve as drop-off/pick-up points for the old sneakers. Retake volunteers sort them and deliver them to charities for distribution to the needy and to the partner company that converts them into playground pavement.
Alejandra ALFARO ALFIERI
Communication Officer, Retake Roma
She was born in Buenos Aires on the 29th March 1989. She grew up in Perú before moving first to Spain and then Italy where she studied Sociology and graduated recently from Rome's University La Sapienza, where she wrote her thesis “From urban regeneration to social regeneration: The case of Retake Roma”. Alejandra is currently following a Master in Hospitality and Inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees at the University of Roma Tre. At the same time, she is working for Retake Italia with the aim of fostering the creation of new volunteer groups across the country and initiating educational projects. She is also a key staff member on Retake's communication team, establishing policies and writing content for social media.
Save Dnipro is a non-profit organization which runs a social startup SaveEcoBot. Their mission is to improve air quality in the developing world through raising environmental awareness of the citizens by providing them with free and easy access to air quality index and other public environmental data. They provide people with free service and affordable air pollution sensor—SaveEcoCensor. Chat-bot is also a unique feature of their product that helps people subscribe to certain locations and timely receive notifications on air quality hazards.
Co-founder, Save Dnipro
Artem Romaniukov is co-founder at the SaveDnipro initiative, a successful environmental NGO promoting innovations and fighting for the environmental rights of Ukrainians. He is also running social tech startup SaveEcoBot, a tech nonprofit providing Ukrainians with easy-to-understand air pollution data. In 2019-2020 he was selected for the one year fellowship at Stanford University. In 2016-2019 was three times elected as a member of the Civil Oversight Council of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine - the most successful law-enforcement agency created after the Revolution of Dignity in 2015. In 2017 awarded the People of New Time award by the NV magazine for the local reforms.
Co-founder, Save Dnipro
Bachelor of Computer Science, and Mathematics in Dnipro National University (Ukraine). CTO, Kangaroo Partners LLC (web development). Co-founder of Save Dnipro abd co-founder and developer of chat-bot SaveEcoBot. Ecotransformation-2018 Award – for a significant contribution to the green transformation of the country, the promotion of environmentally friendly production and the support of eco-specialists. Open Data Leader Award 2019 – for the highest personal contribution in the development of open data (environmental open data).
Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.
Professor, Department of Economics at Boğaziçi University
Jesús Gael NOVILLO VÁZQUEZ
WFD Youth Delegate
He graduated in Leadership in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, also holding a higher diploma in Audiovisual production with working experience in radio and film production industry. He is currently a solo and team-entrepreneur, working as executive producer and visual storyteller. Cofounder of sustainability-focused projects such as a sustainable paper notebook company. He is engaged in environmental activities in Galicia (Spain) as well as in Madrid. Democracy, Environment and Innovation defender, with an interest in improving the overall sustainability of democratic processes through technology and breakthrough innovations.
University Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas