Innovation Blog

One Young World Joins WBCSD and MassChallenge Switzerland to Find Startup Solutions That Will Mitigate Climate Change

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Last Week at the One Young World (OYW) Summit in London Ian Roberts the President of MassChallenge Switzerland, and CTO of Bühler announced that One Young World is joining the partnership between MassChallenge and the World Business Council for Sustainable Develpment (WBCSD). Our objective: find the ten most impactful solutions for climate change mitigation every year until 2025 and multiply them globally before 2030.

Why are MassChallenge, WBCSD, and OYW joining forces?

Climate change is the burning platform of our time. In September 2019, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us.” Expectations in society are changing and pressure is growing from mainstream consumers for business and government to act faster. The IPCC is clear on the urgency: “large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030.”


Time to act is short, and there are many solutions available to reduce emissions, sequester carbon, change consumption habits and behavior, that are operating locally or lack the firepower to scale globally.

The WBCSD, OYW, and MassChallenge, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators, have joined forces to combine in-depth climate change and sustainability expertise, with a global search network and acceleration program to identify every year the most impactful technologies and solutions for climate change mitigation, and support scaling them world-wide with globally active companies.

What are we looking for from startups?

We want to find solutions from startups, or from larger companies or institutes, that when scaled will reduced CO2.  Solutions will have a first commercial proof of concept, scientific and quantitative proof of impact, and the potential to be scaled globally in a commercially viable manner. The objective is to have a portfolio of 50 solutions being scaled globally from 2025 onwards with carefully monitored CO2 impact published annually.

What do selected startups get from the program?

Startups will be motivated primarily by the publicity platforms and scaling opportunities we can offer, and secondarily by the contacts and prize money available. We expect over CHF 500,000 of prize money to be available every year. There is no obligation to surrender IP or equity.


What are we looking for from prospective partners?

We are looking for support in a number of areas:

  1. Financial – equity free prize money for winning startups/solutions. The program will be run on a zero-profit cost basis. We look for 5 year financial commitments.
  2. Expert – the selection of the correct startups/solutions to scale is critical.  We want academic and industry experts to be involved in the process.
  3. Scaling – to bring global impact, solutions must be multiplied, and we are looking for scaling partners to support this process either on their own asset base, or through their global capabilities and customer base.
  4. Investment – solutions from startups will be highly investable products, and although the program does not oblige startups or solutions holders to surrender equity or undertake partnerships, bilateral relationships may be developed between any startup/solution holder and a partner at their discretion.

What do prospective partners get from the program?

Partners will be cutting, & be seen to cutting, CO2. They will have access to & be able to collaborate with game changing startups. They will be able to share clear success stories about mitigating climate change.

How does the program work?

  • Until end December 2019 we will be finalising partners’ involvement. These will be corporates, institutions and private individuals.
  • We will call for startup applications from 29 January 2020. Applications will close on 10 March 2020.
  • Round 1 judging will take place on-line in April 2020 using a panel of experts.
  • Startups will pitch face-to-face at MassChallenge’s office in Lausanne at Round 2 in May. They will be judged by an expert panel to find the top 10. The judging panel will determine if the claim from the idea is correct, assess the impact of the idea (as defined by the startup) & any trade-offs connected to idea, and the idea’s viability.
  • The selected Top 10 startups will enter a one week “hot-house” program 15-19 June 2020 at MassChallenge to understand the program, be introduced to corporate partners & relevant experts, to be inspired by & learn from expert speakers.  Startups will be encouraged to collaborate with scaling partners.
  • In October the expert panel will reconvene to judge the Top 10 startups to determine which are the Top 3 based on the impact & viability of their plan.
  • The Top 3 startups will be celebrated in October at WBCSD annual event and awarded prize money.


How can I get involved?

Startup: Send your interest to State your interest in the Climate Impact Partners program. We will contact you when it’s time to apply.

Partner: Contact Matt Lashmar, Managing Director of MassChallenge Switzerland at

Expert: Contact Matt Lashmar, Managing Director of MassChallenge Switzerland at

About MassChallenge 

MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators. Headquartered in the United States with locations in Boston, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, and Texas, MassChallenge is committed to strengthening the global innovation ecosystem by supporting high-potential startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world. To date, more than 2,300 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $5 billion in funding, generated more than $2.7 billion in revenue, and created more than 136,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at

MassChallenge Switzerland Founding Partners

Bühler, GEA, Givaudan, Nestlé, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Economic Forum, Inartis Foundation

About WBCSD  

WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. We help make our member companies more successful and sustainable by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment and societies.

Our member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than USD $8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. Our global network of almost 70 national business councils gives our members unparalleled reach across the globe. WBCSD is uniquely positioned to work with member companies along and across value chains to deliver impactful business solutions to the most challenging sustainability issues.

Together, we are the leading voice of business for sustainability: united by our vision of a world where more than 9 billion people are all living well and within the boundaries of our planet, by 2050.

About One Young World

One Young World is the global forum for young leaders aged from every country and sector. The annual One Young World Summit brings together the brightest young makers from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections and develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

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