Davos: To meet the scarcity of freshwater in view of climate crisis, leading global conglomerate HCL has partnered with UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, to create a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector.
Through this partnership they will connect with the highly promising start-ups who are working in this field and will provide them funding to scale up the project through innovation in freshwater sector. The HCL has promised around 15 million dollars investment for the project for the next five years.
Water security has never been more urgent. With the global population set to hit 8.5 billion by 2030, pressure is increasing on the world’s limited supply of freshwater.
According to WEF by 2030, the global demand for water will have exceeded sustainable supply by 40 percent.
In addition to immediate and dire consequences to people’s health and food production, a lack of access to clean water can limit economic growth by up to one third as well as have adverse effects on natural biodiversity and social fabrics.
“The initiative draws on HCL’s regional experience of driving innovative projects in water conservation and brings global leaders and champions together to foster multistakeholder collaboration” said the statement.
Taking about the initiative, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO of HCL Group and Chairperson of HCL Technologies said tooday, freshwater resources globally are extremely burdened and every fifth child on this planet faces water scarcity.
“At HCL we want to make every effort to help resolve this global crisis. Our partnership with the World Economic Forum’s UpLink platform is a step in this direction and our ecosystem approach can be truly transformative” he said.
According to statement, the new collaboration with UpLink encompasses building a freshwater innovation ecosystem that includes: running innovation challenges to source solutions from aquapreneurs; connecting these aquapreneurs to existing initiatives and water networks; unlocking funding opportunities to scale their ventures; and raising awareness on the global agenda of the importance of freshwater.
“Together, HCL and UpLink aim to help aquapreneurs build their skills and leadership capacity. These combined efforts will drive and accelerate the innovation agenda for water and the sector’s mainstream ideas, approaches and solutions” it said.
“With water scarcity enveloping regions around the world, we need to fast-track progress within the freshwater sector and build security for people and planet” said Olivier Schwab, Managing Director, and World Economic Forum. ‘
He said HCL’s collaboration with UpLink will harness and drive forward the solutions of the world’s top innovators, connecting them to the initiatives and networks which can see them scale and drive transformational change for the world’s most fragile water systems.”
Innovation in freshwater management is also critical for water’s role in the transition to a green economy, as highlighted in the release of a new report in Davos today,
A new report, A Freshwater: Without Blue,There is No Green Economy was also launched. UpLink was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in collaboration with founding partners Salesforce and Deloitte.
The platform sources new innovations through a competition framework known as Innovation Challenges. UpLink has run more than 30 challenges and identified over 260 entrepreneurs with innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing issues.