Here’s a taste of my Q&A with Alexandra Barraquand, who works in the Solutions and Experts team at the Solar Impulse Foundation. Alexandra explains how the initiative’s new Efficient Solution Label demonstrates that eco innovation is profitable.
The full interview will appear in the summer edition of Impact Innovators.
Can you tell me about the origins of the 1000 solutions and Bertrand Piccard’s vision for this project?
The origin of the project finds its roots in the aftermaths of the flight that brought Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg around the world without fuel and over the Atlantic. The aeroplane has been a patchwork of green technologies demonstrating the potential of cleantech. Bertrand Piccard, the mastermind behind the whole project, wanted to apply the green solutions used in the air on Earth, and while doing so impacting the whole system and industry, including green tech. The implementation of some solutions encounters barriers and challenges: there are often regulatory barriers to prevent innovation from happening. For this reason, Bertrand Piccard decided to select and label 1000 solutions that are both clean and profitable (to bridge economy and ecology), and bring the portfolio to governments and key decision makers, encouraging them to create, change, push and move forward the regulations that can incentivise the implementation of the solutions. The portfolio will present concrete examples and cases to show that solutions are available. This is what we are trying to do.
Any Member of the World Alliance can submit a solution to apply for the label. World Alliance membership conditions only require you to be a legal entity sharing the same value as the Foundation and to register to create a profile on the World Alliance webpage. We consider only solutions that are at a certain level of maturity, since, to push regulations, we have to rely on concrete examples that allow governments to see the impact that prototypes or already commercialised solutions, currently blocked by regulations, could have on the environment and the economy. Therefore, any solution that is eligible for the Label should be at least at the stage of having a proof of concept prototype, at scale, in a laboratory environment, and in preparation to have a prototype in the real world. It corresponds to a TRL 6 or 7. Then, it has to be a product, a process, or a service, and comply with the criteria requirements regarding Technological Feasibility, Environmental and Socio-economic Benefits, and Economic Profitability.