EIT Climate-KIC and IKEA Foundation partner up to accelerate circular solutions in Nairobi and Bengaluru 

The Netherlands, 21st September 2023 – EIT Climate-KIC and IKEA Foundation have announced a strategic partnership to address the pressing challenges of waste management and urban sustainability in the rapidly growing cities of Nairobi, Kenya and Bengaluru, India.

Urbanisation and overconsumption trends in major cities have placed enormous strain on waste management systems, resulting in a surge in waste accumulation and only a fraction of it being recycled or transformed into beneficial forms.  

As a consortium, EIT Climate-KIC together with local partners SecondMuse and GrowthAfrica, will work closely together to dismantle systemic barriers to circular waste management solutions and advance circular economies for the benefit of marginalised local communities through these circular economy innovation clusters.

According to the World Bank (2020), only 45 per cent of waste in Nairobi is recycled, reused, or transformed into forms with economic or ecological benefits—far below the 80 per cent target set by the National Environment Management Authority. The situation is not much different in Bengaluru where 5,000 metric tonnes of waste is generated daily at an average rate of 0.5 kg per capita. 

Self-sustaining innovation ecosystems that benefit marginalised communities

The partnership will implement EIT Climate-KIC’s “Innovation Cluster” approach to foster collaboration and drive the development of innovative solutions and entrepreneurship. Innovation Clusters serve as collaborative platforms that unite diverse stakeholders, including businesses, universities, citizens, investors, governmental agencies and NGOs.  

EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop said: “Innovation Clusters are about building capability, learning and trust, exploring how to meet the needs of local communities, governments, and organisations through innovation that is meaningful in local contexts. Through a shared commitment and collaboration, we are not just innovating; we are actively shaping more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous communities, nurturing entrepreneurship to spark new solutions, drive equitable economic growth and create meaningful job opportunities.” 

The project aims to work with a variety of stakeholders to create an environment that accelerates waste management solutions through circular economies.  

Patrick Obonyo, Programme Manager at IKEA Foundation said: “Far too little waste is recycled, reused or transformed into beneficial forms. The IKEA Foundation believes in the power of innovation to drive positive change. We’re excited to see how this partnership can promote waste management solutions and develop healthy circular economies that are good for people and the planet.” 

The project puts emphasis on the role of the informal sector and marginalised groups, by supporting access to essential services and job opportunities. It is set to unfold in three phases over a three-year period from now until June 2025.   

The project will first carry out a baseline study then align key stakeholders that will take part in the project’s implementation and outline existing inter-dependencies and opportunities for collaboration. In a second stage, it will build capacities for entrepreneurship and circular economy among entrepreneurship support organisations, representatives and entrepreneurs. There will be early- and late-stage ideation and entrepreneurship activities to accelerate the best waste prevention solutions and ensure they are aligned to the needs of the demand. Lastly, the project will enable stakeholders, local government and businesses, and investors to connect with the lessons of innovators, integrate them in the iterative development of the cluster and identify opportunities for scaling up innovations [regulatory, procurement, others] and thereby set the basis for a permanent cluster around circular economy.

By facilitating collaboration and innovation, EIT Climate-KIC and the IKEA Foundation are committed to making a significant impact on waste management and prevention and sustainability in these dynamic cities. 

About us 

EIT Climate-KIC: EIT Climate-KIC is Europe’s leading climate innovation agency and community, using a systems approach to shape innovation to support cities, regions, countries and industries meet their climate ambitions. Together with partners across the globe, EIT Climate-KIC acts to bridge the gap between climate commitments and current reality by enabling decision makers and investors to act. They find and implement solutions in integrated ways and mobilise finance. They build skills to accelerate learning and explore innovation, opening pathways to shift mindsets and behaviours. Through radical collaboration, EIT Climate-KIC orchestrates large-scale demonstrations that show what is possible when cycles of innovation and learning are deliberately designed to trigger exponential decarbonisation and build resilient communities.    

IKEA Foundation: The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families.  In 2021 the Board of the IKEA Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Learn more at: www.ikeafoundation.org or by following them on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

GrowthAfrica:  GrowthAfrica is a leading African accelerator, entrepreneur- and ecosystem support organisation. It supports the growth of entrepreneurs and impactful businesses that innovatively contribute to Africa’s societal and economic progress. GrowthAfrica was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Kenya. The organisation has its own offices in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, and Ghana – and works in a number of countries through local partners on the ground. Activities cover 40+ acceleration programmes and a growing portfolio of entrepreneur- and ecosystem support activities. 

SecondMuse:  SecondMuse is a global impact and innovation company that works with communities focused on climate, equity, and tech to build resilient economies that benefit people and protect the planet. Our impact-driven methodology prioritizes collaboration and relational infrastructures with key stakeholders to develop market-driven solutions that transform our current systems. Over the last 15 years, we have designed, developed and implemented a mix of innovation programming and investing capital that have reached over 160 countries and territories. 

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