12 October 2020
How Climathons are taking Climate Action to the next level

Many of the issues we face are shared and global, while others are unique and local. Take the Republic of Honduras for example, where the increasing volume of waste and extreme water shortages are pushing residents to question how much is too much? Or in Sudan, where a forecast rendering the country uninhabitable is bringing acute urgency to its citizens to find solutions to extreme weather.

“Since Honduras is one of the countries suffering the effects of climate change, we feel a desperate need to mobilize more collective action and [running a] Climathon was a great opportunity.” – Astrid Hersperger, Impact Hub Tegucigalpa.

Tackling the challenges of this scale and complexity requires both innovation and radical collaboration. Climathon is a global movement of people who recognize this urgency and are ready to take practical and local action.

EIT Climate-KIC and Impact Hub partner for Climathon

Climathon was initiated by EIT Climate-KIC, a European knowledge and innovation community, and last year Climathon was held across 113 cities. It has been designed to mobilize citizens across the world to come together and generate practical solutions to local climate issues. In 2018, Climathon engaged 5,000+ citizens and generated 400+ solutions. With a network spanning 50+ countries across 5 continents, Impact Hub partnered with Climate-KIC to help engage even more citizens and cities around the world. Climate challenges are driving entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizens across the Impact Hub network to take action and foster meaningful partnerships. 

“Working with Impact Hub has been key to scaling the reach and significance of Climathon while still keeping the quality of events very high. It’s a pleasure to work with a partner like Impact Hub and we look forward to hopefully growing our partnership and impact together” – Bjarke Kovshøj, Climathon City Manager, Climate-KIC.

How Impact Hubs approached hosting a Climathon in 2019

Climathon 2019 was hosted by Impact Hubs in 17 cities from Zurich to Hamburg, and Curitiba to Khartoum. Each Impact Hub applied Climathon’s ethos, resources and supportive team to their own local knowledge and expert partners. 

“We decided to run the Climathon because this event aligns perfectly with our values. The Climathon stands for collaboration and working towards solutions for one of the biggest challenges of humanity; climate change,” says Laurène Descamps the Local Circular Economy Transition Lead and Climathon Zurich Lead from Impact Hub Zurich.

Alongside policymakers and experts, Impact Hubs selected relevant local challenges to take part in. Impact Hub Zurich, for example, selected their challenges following extensive discussions with their partners at the City of Zurich. 

Impact Hubs then gathered their strong communities around well-designed and meaningful events and focused on building powerful solutions for this Hackathon. Impact Hub Khartoum hosted symposiums such as “Climate Change and Peace” to raise awareness and build a bridge between academics and scientists, and passionate citizens looking to create impact.

With the main criteria being a commitment to take climate action, Climathons around the world draw in diverse skill sets and backgrounds. Impact Hub Ruhr’s winning team, Oskar, consisted of a journalist, design student, engineering student, entrepreneur, retiree, and a mom. With such a range of experience within the team, Oskar was able to impress the judges with their modular smart bin design with high scalability.

And while a series of events and a powerful Hackathon can inspire and build momentum, Impact Hubs that partner with Climathon recognize the importance of following up to monetize on the opportunities. 

Impact Hub Phnom Penh has been working with the winning team to conduct market research on the feasibility of their idea (a consulting agency that provides energy audit services to Cambodian organizations and small enterprises) and helping them prepare to pitch for the Business Model Competition in 2020. Moreso, Impact Hub Khartoum is building on its collaboration with Climate-KIC to launch the first Climate Launchpad in Sudan in 2020.

Keep an eye out for more climate action in 2020

After a successful 2019, we are excited to see the Impact Hub-Climate-KIC partnership grow in 2020. Sustainability has been core to our work with ventures and partners since the beginning, and Climathon is just one of the many ways the Impact Hub network is actively tackling climate issues. In September 2019, members came together to discuss how we can do more as a network by signing the Impact Hub Climate Crisis Commitment. We also have a long-standing partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), including a Plastic Free Ocean Accelerator Program

If you want to be a part of the Climathon this year, reach out to an Impact Hub in your city, or check if Climathon will be hosted in your city in November. Keep an eye out for more news on this year’s Climathons, and get involved!