Innovation is at the heart of moves to drive and inspire environmental change as part of the mission to achieve net-zero.

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Dr Murray Collins, Space Intelligence Ltd

Dr Murray Collins, CEO and Co-Founder, Space Intelligence Ltd – Protecting Natural Capital by applying machine learning to Big Data from space.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are the twin environmental challenges of our time. Deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries contributes over 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human sources, driving this process. Deforestation is the primary cause of biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems. We cannot prevent runaway climate change, nor tackle the widespread loss of species that support our way of life, without protecting the world’s forests. Fortunately, governments and companies around the world are recognising this and investing in ‘Nature-Based Solutions’ (NBS) to climate change.

Many NBS projects focus on forest conservation, and afforestation and reforestation efforts. These require advanced technical support to understand how deforestation in a project area has changed over time; how much carbon there is in the forests, and how well those forests are managed after the project is created. NBS projects typically cover hundreds of thousands of hectares in remote areas with little infrastructure. The only way to provide the information the projects need is to analyse satellite data. Whilst widely available, the analysis of these data to create investor-grade, decision-support information is complicated and requires deep expertise.

My company, Space Intelligence, excels at these tasks, with highly qualified analysts who have done everything from measuring thousands of trees to developing new algorithms to fuse and analyse huge volumes of satellite data on cloud-based computing infrastructure. We have experienced rapid growth in the last year, to meet the demand for information from companies scaling up their NBS investments. This growth has only been possible due to Space Intelligence having strong foundations.

These were set with the support of the RSE Enterprise Fellowship. This followed the completion of my postdoctoral work at the University of Edinburgh with my co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Professor Ed Mitchard. The Enterprise Fellowship team, and tutoring from the Entrepreneur Business School, covered everything from accessing professional services, raising investment, to pitching, sales and marketing. In the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, we will continue to grow on these foundations, and create high-skilled jobs that accelerate our path towards Net-Zero.

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Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu, IntelliDigest

Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu, CEO and Founder, IntelliDigest – Driving the birth of global circular food systems: resilient, robust and capable of feeding the growing global population.

By 2050, the global population is estimated to reach 10 billion, demanding a 60% increase in food production from 593 million additional hectares of agricultural land. These expanses of land would need cultivation, along with increased demand for water and energy, exacerbating the impact of the food system on climate change.

Food Loss and Waste is a global issue with massive social, economic, and environmental impacts. At IntelliDigest, we innovate to evolve a more sustainable food system. A holistic approach enables a circular food system devoid of waste, supporting local food production, ensuring a balance in food supply and demand, promoting regenerative agriculture, and enhancing consumer awareness on the role of nutritious food.

Our technologies include iSaver – an automated dispenser that extends the shelf life of Agrifood products, and iDigest – a nature-inspired robot that eats food waste as it is produced, churning out sustainable chemicals used in other production processes.

We launched the Global Food Loss and Waste Tracker on 18 June with global interest and sign-up for the platform. It helps users in the food system from farm to fork to capture data on food waste and loss, track it and prevent edible food waste while enabling the use of iDigest to recover nutrients in inedible food waste at the earliest possible time. Through the intelligent insight from the food waste data provided by the user, the app informs the user of their estimated nutrient consumption and nutrient gap, giving recommendations on food to meet their nutritional requirement and access to an online market within the app to purchase high quality locally produced food grown with recovered nutrient from food waste. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or as a web app:

This article was originally written for the ReSourcE magazine Summer edition, focusing on the global climate crisis.