Today, on World Skills Day, we celebrate the talent and courage of young people who are fearlessly shaping the future and healing our planet. Youth ecopreneurs are charting new territory in land restoration. Their drive aligns perfectly with the vision of the G20 on land matters.
The global initiative to land that the G20 set up in 2020 is on a mission to transform land restoration from a cottage industry, where volunteers plant trees and lead the adoption of sustainable land management to a mature industry where planting mangroves to restore wetlands is commercially viable, for instance. The growing climate change and biodiversity crises are fueling this land industry, where technology savvy youth in particular are creating new business opportunities.
To support this transformation, the G20 GLI is backing young people to build three essential assets. First, GLI is supporting the development of ecopreneurs – at least 10,000 of them – who rise to this challenge. Second, it is working with interested academics to develop curricula that will see sustainability studies thriving in universities. Third, it is supporting countries to build the capacities the private sector needs to channel finance and grow this industry into a staggering US$1 trillion.
Supporting winners of the Youth Ecopreneur Awards 2023, held as part of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, at the end of June, is the first, albeit small, yet significant step. The awards show that the possibilities for change not only exist, they are endless and the jobs you can dream into being.
The Youth Ecopreneur Award on Land Restoration, a new category launched this year in a unique collaboration that brought G20 GLI into the ITC (International Trade Centre)-led award, was fiercely contested. iPAGE, a Bangladeshi agri-tech firm, was the first-ever winner of this category.
Led by Mashrur Hossain Shurid, iPAGE is bridging a technology-gap for smallholder farmers. It offers crop-specific digital advisory services, which raise the land’s productivity while nurturing our precious lands.
In the Green Business Solutions category Airee, a Mongolian air filter manufacturer led by Oyungerel Munkhbat, took the crown. Their innovative solution uses 100% biodegradable wool filters to combat microplastic pollution.
Ten inspiring initiatives from the shortlisted candidates for the Land Restoration award show the immense potential that exists to create new jobs and the tenacity of youth to create a sustainable future. A few more examples to make the point!
Bringing young forests to maturity is still a daunting task in poor countries, even if the trees can be sold for income. But Orda Wealth LLC is revolutionizing how we view forestry projects. The sustainable land management practices promoted by the platform, such as afforestation and reforestation, can prevent soil erosion, promote water conservation, and enhance soil quality.
Orda Wealth’s platform transforms forestry initiatives into chain-agnostic tokens. The tokens are monetized and used to certify carbon reduction in a tech-savvy twist that connects businesses with investors through carbon trading and tokenization on the blockchain.
Vivaorganica is bringing organic biofertilizers to the food sector. Biofertilizers help both to trap moisture in the soil and to strengthen nutrient delivery to crops. Their solution can improve drought tolerance, a pressing need in the face of climate change.
EcoWillow Ghana is nurturing the future stewards of our planet through their ‘green schools’ campaign. They are educating the youth in Ghana about climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organic gardening and clean energy.
World Skills Day is a moment to applaud all brave young ecopreneurs, such as these, who are not just dreaming of a better world, but actually creating it. Their ideas are bold. Their spirits are on fire. And their work is an inspiring testament to the transformation we can bring to the land industry.
On this World Skills Day, the G20GLI commends the Youth Ecopreneur Awards Winners and innovators who are helping us to re-write a greener, brighter story for our planet.