Over S$2 million pledged to support innovative sustainable solutions at the launch of The Liveability Challenge 2024

The 2024 edition of The Liveability Challenge (TLC), a global crowdsourcing platform that identifies and accelerates the commercialisation of innovative solutions to address urban challenges in cities, was launched today at Cities: Possibilities, a forum dedicated to sustainable cities. 

Launched in 2018, TLC, presented by Temasek Foundation, is in its seventh edition. This year, the challenge saw more than S$2 million pledged to support innovative projects and solutions that will have a significant impact on the planet and people. 

Head of programmes at Temasek Foundation Lim Hock Chuan, who officiated the launch, said: “The Liveability Challenge aims to be a key enabler in sourcing for disruptive game-changing innovations globally to solve pressing climate issues. In its seventh edition, this concerted effort has grown year on year.”

“We are heartened to work with Nurasa and Singapore Food Agency among many other strategic partners in this journey to create a stronger and more meaningful impact for our people and the planet.” 

This year’s edition will feature two tracks to seek innovative solutions from around the world – Climate Change and Food & Nutrition. A grand prize of S$1 million will be awarded to the winner of each track. 

The two tracks of the TLC 2024 are: 

  1. Climate Change 

The Liveability Challenge is looking for solutions that could remove carbon emissions at scale, including revolutionary technology-based carbon capture, utilisation and storage solutions; low-carbon solutions for energy, urban infrastructure, transport and logistics; and adaptive innovations such as nature-based solutions that can address climate-induced impacts, such as extreme weather and sea-level rise.  

  1. Food & Nutrition 

The Liveability Challenge is looking for innovative solutions that can enhance food resilience and safety in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture and alternative nutrition sources, with the hope of identifying breakthrough technologies to provide affordable, nutrient-dense and safe foods. 

Themed “Taking stock. Raising ambition” and held in the lead-up to the COP28 climate summit, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, Cities: Possibilities 2023 convened leaders and decision-makers across government, financial institutions and the venture capital sector to discuss what needs to be done to achieve an ambitious outcome critical to avoiding the most extreme impacts of climate change. 

This year marks the key halfway point for our global climate goals since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. The upcoming COP28 will deliver the first global stocktake of our progress and provide an opportunity for countries to take stock, course correct and chart an accelerated path forward.

Jessica Cheam, founder and managing director of Eco-Business said: “With this year’s Cities: Possibilities forum focused on taking stock of the planet’s progress since the Paris Agreement, it is critical that we continue discourse on how to mobilise finance to fund solutions that could help slash current emissions by half in the lead up to 2030 if we are to achieve net zero by 2050.” 

“We are encouraged that decision-makers in the region gathered today outlined specific actionable steps that we can take forward into our work.” 

Cheam also said Eco-Business is thrilled to launch The Liveability Challenge with its partners. “As global momentum on addressing climate and social issues rises, we must ensure that solutions – especially those that will correct the planet’s course – receive the funding they need to scale.” 

Vinamra Srivastava, CapitaLand Investment’s chief sustainability officer, who gave the opening keynote at the forum, said: “The urgent need to take climate action remains amid the current macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, and the rapidly urbanising Asia region plays a key role in creating a more sustainable built environment. As a global real estate leader in sustainability with a strong Asia presence, we leverage our in-market teams to work with government agencies, business partners, tenants and customers, to influence and drive collective action in addressing climate change.”

“From sourcing the world for innovations and piloting them at our properties globally, stepping up our efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions, and increasing the usage of renewable energy among others, we continue to focus on execution and adapting our strategies across different markets and asset types to achieve our ambitious 2030 Sustainability Master Plan targets,” he added. 

The event saw a fireside chat between Cheam and Hannah Jones, chief executive officer of The Earthshot Prize, discussing what is required to create resilient and sustainable cities, and how climate innovators can navigate increasingly complex environments to receive funding.  

The forum’s opening plenary, titled “Solutions for net-zero, inclusive cities,” discussed ways to meet the needs of a growing urban population while keeping emissions low within cities. Speakers included Joe Hooper, director, Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development, United Nations Development Programme; Perrine Hamel, assistant professor, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University; and Lee Poh Seng, associate professor and executive director, Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore.

This was followed by roundtable discussions to encourage participants to share why cities must focus on these six key aspects in their climate efforts: infrastructure; the circular economy; food; energy; water; and mobility. 

The discussions were facilitated by Farizan d’Avezac de Moran, board member, Singapore Green Building Council; Saurabh Gaidhani, APAC regional lead, Resilient Cities Network; Alexandru Popa, business incubation leader, Asia Pacific, Schneider Electric; and Zarith Sofia Magad, technical director, transport planning, Mott MacDonald. Key takeaways and highlights were shared by the facilitators in a panel following the roundtable discussions. 

The closing plenary, titled “Scaling finance for climate innovation in urban ecosystems,” discussed The Liveability Challenge and saw speakers including Alina Truhina, chief executive officer, managing partner, Radical Fund; XiuLing Guo, chief executive officer, Nurasa; and Devin Chan, deputy executive director, Infrastructure Asia, touch upon why private financiers, multilateral development banks and governments must collaborate to channel more capital towards climate action in developing regions.

The event then saw Her Excellency Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore, provide the closing summary and remarks. 

The forum concluded with the exclusive premiere of the 360 documentary “Wasted”, a documentary investigating the issue of waste and ways to turn waste pollution into solutions, which was written, directed and produced by Eco-Business. 

TLC’s call for submissions officially opened today and will close on 9 February 2024. Two steering committees on climate and food will convene to select the finalists, who will pitch their solutions to judges and investors at The Liveability Challenge Grand Finale in April 2024.  

Some 180 decision-makers gathered at Catapult in Singapore for Cities: Possibilities 2023 with more than 230 participating virtually. The event was livestreamed on social media platforms. 

For more information, visit https://www.theliveabilitychallenge.org.