National: HCL Group and UNLEASH, a global innovation programme for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), announced a year-long collaboration to mobilise youth and develop innovative solutions to promote aquatic ecosystem conservation. These solutions will aim to tackle challenges from Source (mountains and glaciers) to Sink (oceans and seas) and their links to terrestrial ecosystems.
Nature and ocean conservation plays a critical role in our survival. Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems provide us with food, water, oxygen, energy, and medicines. They regulate our climate, provide pollination to crops, and reduce the impact of natural hazards.
Despite the vital importance of our planet’s ecosystems, we are experiencing a human-caused deterioration of our natural habitats: human activity has altered almost 75 per cent of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner. Furthermore, ocean heat is at record levels and every year up to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the ocean, damaging ecosystems around the world. Without maintaining healthy and biodiverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the progress on the remaining United Nations’ SDGs is at critical risk.
To tackle such challenges, UNLEASH and HCL will collaborate to establish a year of youth-led action. Specifically, the partnership will allow youth to develop solutions encompassing SDG 14 (Life on land) and SDG 15 (Life below water), and explore synergies with other SDGs as well. During the process, they will be guided by industry experts and receive hands-on support to ensure that solutions are relatable to the context and feasible in practice.
HCL Group with its large presence in business through HCL Technologies, HCL Infosystems and HCL Healthcare; and its social development organisations including the philanthropic Shiv Nadar Foundation and The Habitats Trust, and its CSR arm – HCL Foundation, has been tackling real on-ground issues related to the SDGs. The Group with its breadth of experience across different sectors and its holistic and powerful sustainability charter is the perfect partner for UNLEASH to successfully push its SDGs innovation efforts.
“Innovation, entrepreneurship, humanity and a people-centric culture are part of HCL’s core, and it is important to us that our progress is reflected in the development of a better world. Our various entities have already been driving important projects to help create a positive impact on the people and the planet. HCL’s collaboration with UNLEASH in bringing innovation to the SDGs, and specifically to the preservation of nature and ocean conservation is an essential step in our overall sustainability efforts,” said Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO of HCL, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, Trustee of Shiv Nadar Foundation & Founder of The Habitats Trust.
With HCL’s continuous support on the thematic track From Source to Sink, UNLEASH Talents will have the opportunity to work on localised challenges by joining an UNLEASH Hack at the Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR (part of the HCL Group). Earlier this year, UNLEASH Talents participated in three other UNLEASH Hacks related to this theme, exploring challenges of water ecosystems from the Mediterranean, the Danube, Haiti and Hawaii and defining solutions that can drive positive local impact on those regions. The partnership will help scale an existing early-stage solution in the biodiversity space through enrolment in an incubation programme, UNLEASH Plus.
Thematic insight sessions will be organised throughout 2022, providing inspiration and key learnings on the essence of the theme. These year-long efforts will culminate in the Global Innovation Lab in India that will witness a gathering of 1000+ talented youth for a week-long innovation process and help them develop solutions for Indian and global challenges within aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem conservation. The best solutions from the Lab will take home grant prises to kick-start implementation of the developed solutions. Through the course of this partnership, HCL will enable access to its celebrated business leaders, technical experts, and faculty and academicians of global repute to serve as facilitators, mentors and experts that will help participants across the various programs to develop innovative solutions.
The partnership enables UNLEASH to dive deep into SDG14 and SDG15, and truly establish a community of changemakers, working with nature challenges.
“HCL’s journey in innovation and development is an inspiration for the entire UNLEASH Community. We are very grateful for their partnership on an important matter such as the aquatic conservation of our planet and finding solutions for its preservation through our different programs during this year,” said UNLEASH Chairman Flemming Besenbacher.