Today marks International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. With this in mind, this week we asked those across the global innovation community: “Which female innovators do you think are accelerating the zero-carbon economy and why?”
“I nominate 1 Million Women – not only the organisation’s innovative founder, Natalie Isaacs, but also the 300,000-plus individual women worldwide who have already joined this grassroots approach to low carbon living. If we can harness the power of individuals, then together we can have a major impact. Women from all over the world can participate remotely and at no cost through the website, gaining suggestions for reducing their carbon footprint, using a dashboard to measure progress and success — and much more as part of a global movement. 1 Million Women have shown it’s easy to reduce our own footprint by 1 tonne or more.”
– Mary Ritter OBE, co-founder and International Ambassador, Climate-KIC
“This International Women’s Day, I want to thank all Canadian women who are working with me to protect our kids and grandkids from the effects of climate change.
Canada has many strong women advancing the green economy. Special shout out to Merrell-Ann Phare Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, Andrea Goertz, Chief Sustainability Officer of TELUS, and to Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada.
All of these women are helping Canada find practical clean technology solutions, adapt to climate change and prepare us for the clean growth century. It’s a huge challenge. But it is also an incredible economic opportunity. The future is clean, and there is so many women who are helping make this happen.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment & Climate Change, Canada
“Someone who inspires me enormously is Dr Barbara Hammond, the CEO of the Low Carbon Hub, a renewable energy social enterprise working in Oxford. Barbara has extensive experience in government heading up renewable energy strategy for the former Department of Energy and Climate Change, but is now making significant impact creating a movement around community-owned renewable energy, and building demand from the ground up. The real driver of change here is the business model, which raises upfront costs through community share offers, and reinvests 100 percent of surplus back into the locality and energy system change.”
– Nicky Chambers, co-founder of Best Foot Forward and Strategy Advisor at Anthesis Consulting Group
“Europe needs more women entrepreneurs and innovators. Women are Europe’s biggest untapped entrepreneurial potential. We cannot afford to lose the talent of women when we look for the future innovations to solve the challenges that Europe faces. The EIT Community is already organising women entrepreneurship and leadership activities, with the long-term aim of increasing the overall number of women leaders and entrepreneurs. We want to scale up these programmes to ensure that women innovators receive the support they need to turn their best ideas into products, start-ups and jobs for Europe.”
– Martin Kern, Interim Director, European Institute of Technology
“Having worked with many amazing women in the field of sustainability in large corporates, NGOs, social enterprises, with students (including those from Climate-KIC) and community organisations, it’s difficult to single anyone out. I’d prefer to celebrate them all, recognising the determination and often resilience needed, those quietly getting on with it, those living and exemplifying change, sticking with their values and displaying alternative mindsets; the ones brave enough to explore alternative business models. Whether organising voluntary repair cafes, founding a sustainable startup, campaigning or building eco-choices into the office, it’s important to recognise all these large to perhaps smaller contributions — and support each other in taking, perhaps what’s not always the “easier” route.”
– Erica Purvis, co-founder of Open Source Circular Economy Days and Technical Nature