Two firms founded by persons of Indian origin figure among the Earthshot Prize’s third class of 15 global innovators, entrepreneurs, community leaders and activists working to find cutting-edge solutions to climate change.
Each of the finalists will be in the running to receive one of the five £1 million prizes awarded at the third-annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore in November.
Prince William and The Earthshot Prize announced the 15 Finalists for this year’s Prize at the second Earthshot Innovation Summit in New York earlier this month.
READ: 2 Indian startups among finalists for £1 million Earthshot Prize (November 7, 2022)
The 15 innovators honored as Earthshot Finalists represent six continents and were chosen from more than 1,300 nominees.
Founded by Prince William in 2020, The Earthshot Prize aims to discover and help scale the world’s most innovative climate and environmental solutions to protect and restore our planet.
Boomitra, a US based company founded by Indian American Aadith Moorthy, who hails from Karnataka, has been chosen in “Fix Our Climate” category.
His company is a soil carbon marketplace that rewards farmers for sustainable land management practices.
Boomitra, which means “friend of the earth” in Sanskrit, works with more than 150,000 farmers managing more than five million acres of land in some of the poorest parts of Africa, South America and Asia.
Satellites and AI technology are used to monitor improvements farmers make to the soil, tracking its ability to store carbon over time. In exchange, companies and governments looking to offset their emissions can purchase independently verified carbon credits from Boomitra’s marketplace.
The world’s agricultural soils have the potential to store an additional five gigatons of CO2 per year – more than all the emissions from global car travel in a year.
As Boomitra aims to scale their solution across the world, they have set a target to store one gigaton of CO2 in the soil by 2030. Their strategy has huge transformative potential for climate change mitigation, but it is also a boon to the farmers themselves.
The sustainable farming techniques restore soil health, increase crop yields and generate more revenue. Farmers also earn new, additional income from a 70% share in Boomitra’s profits.
“We cannot restore the earth without the support of farmers, who produce the food we eat and rely on the land for their income. Our technological solution empowers farmers with the data they need to improve soil and maximize their crop yields while creating a valuable store for carbon,” said Moorthy. “Our thanks to The Earthshot Prize for recognizing our work as we continue to support thousands more farmers.”
S4S Technologies, founded in 2013 by six university friends – Nidhi Pant, Vaibhav Tidke, Swapnil Kokte, Ganesh Bhere, Shital Somani, Tushar Gaware and Ashwin Pawade – has been chosen in “Build A Waste-free World” category.
S4S Technologies combats food waste, rural poverty, and gender inequality by helping smallholder female farmers preserve and market surplus produce.
The organization provides rural communities with cheaper solar-powered conduction dryers and food processing equipment to prepare their crops on-site, rather than using cold storage or other more expensive methods of conventional industrial food preservation.
With a focus on supporting female farmers, S4S also supports its entrepreneurs in using preserved waste to produce and sell valuable food products, such as ketchup.
S4S creates a market, connecting commercial buyers to these products and returning most of the profits to the farmers who made them.
Some 300,000 women smallholder farmers supported by S4S have recorded 10- 15% increases in their profits, while the 2,000 female entrepreneurs they partner with have seen incomes double or even triple.
By 2025, S4S wants to extend their reach to three million smallholder farmers and 30,000 entrepreneurs. By 2026, they predict they will have reduced food waste by 1.2 million tonnes and removed the equivalent of 10 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
“Food waste, rural poverty and gender inequality are deeply intertwined challenges for the people of India. S4S’s innovative solution combines cutting-edge technology with the practical support and training needed to ensure women farmers can thrive and improve their livelihoods for themselves and their families,” said Nidhi Pant, Co-Founder of S4S Technologies.
“We are honored by this recognition from The Earthshot Prize, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners across India and around the world to reduce food waste, protect our natural environment and empower women.”