Nelly Ramírez Moncada
Aug 25, 2023
Innovating the Landscape of Climate Finance
Bogotá recently witnessed a milestone event that aimed to intersect climate change with finance and climate action with the potential of financial innovation. Over the span of two days in July, this event emerged as a space where innovators, professionals, climate enthusiasts, experts, and activists, convened to influence the future trajectory of climate finance in Colombia.
The Climathon, an event organized by the CIFAR Alliance and sponsored by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, was designed to advance our understanding of climate innovation and foster a local ecosystem. Our inaugural edition was held in Cape Town, followed by our second edition in Bogotá, which saw the participation of 57 individuals with diverse expertise ranging from biologists and biotechnologists to blockchain experts. They came from various regions of Colombia, including Antioquia, Huila, Valle del Cauca, and Bogotá. Locally, we partnered with 2811, Co-Work Latam, and WRI Colombia. Beyond being an event, the Climathon embodied a commitment to foster innovation, explore sustainable solutions, and propel the development of a robust climate finance ecosystem.
Through the guided mentorship of over 17 experts and a series of presentations, participants showcased innovations at the nexus between climate awareness, finance, venture launching, impact investment, and entrepreneurship. The goal was ambitious yet straightforward: bringing diverse perspectives together and encouraging actionable solutions.
What truly set the Bogotá Climathon 2023 apart were the nine tangible, innovative solutions that emerged as the culmination of collaborative brainstorming. The ideation behind transformative solutions, like Ciclo Vivo's organic waste management and Ecosistema Jaguar's direct agro-producer consumer linkage, highlighted the untapped potential of cooperative thought.
Other innovative solutions at the Climathon included repurposing glass waste into functional products (Asoreway), integrating agroclimatic data with blockchain to revolutionize agricultural insurance (AgroSecurity), providing platforms to bridge environmental initiatives with necessary resources (Work Venture), and harnessing blockchain technology for transparent and secure energy management (Gaia Ecotrack).
The event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, rating it 9.72 out of 10. This resounding endorsement stands as a testimony to the resonance of Climathon. Further insights, focusing on enhancing inclusivity and expanded brainstorming sessions, will undoubtedly contribute to refining future editions.
Participant reflections offered a deeper dive into the Climathon's essence:
"Well, I want to thank my team because I came with an established idea, and they believed in it and supported me. What I did was speak from my experience of how things are currently working, laying down a foundation to build upon." Jenny Prieto / Ciclo Vivo - Winner First Place
"Inter-generational collaboration is key to developing mitigation and adaptation solutions for climate change, combining years of experience with innovative solutions and the use of technology for a more sustainable future." Juanita Ayala / Agro Security - Winner Second Place
Why This Matters
Within the broader context of climate action, the Climathon signifies a shift in the landscape, transforming climate finance from a mere buzzword into a myriad of tangible solutions. The Climathon Bogotá 2023 was successful because it fostered ideas and galvanized actors in the climate action landscape.
Rosita Najmi, Head Global Social Innovation, PayPal
“At PayPal, we believe in the potential of digital finance to enable disadvantaged communities and populations build climate resilience and thrive in the global net-zero economy. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with our CIFAR Alliance partners to enable responsible technological and inclusive financial innovations that create economic opportunity for climate-vulnerable populations around the world.”