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Goal 13: Climate Action

Combat climate change and its impacts.

Auckland Transport UniCycle Hackathon

A bike-focused hackathon powered by Auckland Transport challenged tertiary students and young professionals to re-imagine the biking experience in Auckland’s university precinct. Held at Unleash Space, the vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship hub run by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the hackathon gave participants one day to develop an innovative and engaging idea to encourage the uptake and improve people on bikes’ experience of travelling around Auckland.

Participants shared a passion for sustainability despite coming from a broad range of backgrounds – from backend developers and geospatial analysts to engineers and sociologists. Ideas were pitched at the end of the day to a judging panel consisting of Hannah Jemmett, an AT representative, Ian Fraser, President of The Association of Consulting and Engineering, and Chlöe Swarbrick, MP for Auckland Central. Read more

BioFab – Fungal packaging growing into direct replacement for expanded polystyrene

BioFab, a biotechnology company founded by a team including University of Auckland alumni, are making a sustainable alternative to expanded polystyrene. They are using New Zealand fungi to grow a compostable and functional fungal mycelium packaging material they call mushroom packaging. This breakthrough technology for the construction and packaging industries is just their first step on a mission to encourage a world where waste streams regenerate, rather than destroy, our natural environment. Read more


EV Maritime brings electric ferries to Auckland

Auckland Council recently announced that they have invested $27 million in two electric ferries, set to launch in 2024. The ferries will be designed and produced by EV Maritime, led by University of Auckland alumnus Michael Eaglen, co-founder and CEO.

The ferries will be owned and operated by Auckland Transport, who are implementing and further exploring multiple opportunities to reduce emissions, in line with the government’s climate change reduction goals. It has been estimated that ferries currently contribute to over 20% of Auckland’s public transport emissions. Read more


Global Bio Fund – Supporting entrepreneurs addressing global challenges in climate change

University of Auckland alumna Ipshita Mandal-Johnson is the CEO of the Global Bio Fund (GBF), an impact fund with a world-leading approach to growing diverse entrepreneurs (especially women-led companies). GBF is building the world’s first seed accelerator fund focused on the best diverse entrepreneurial teams addressing global challenges in healthcare, food security and climate change.

It operates to serve a number of functions – building research and learning experiences through an open network of thought leaders and entrepreneurs, sharing knowledge through consulting and advisory services to raise capital or scale businesses, and directly investing through two vehicles: the Global Bio Xcellerator and the Global Bio Fund. Read more

GreenSpot Technologies – Turning food waste into high-nutrition flour

Greenspot Technologies, a start-up that came to life through the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Velocity programme, has created a range of flour made from fermented fruit and vegetable pulp. Greenspot Technologies’ range includes pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, apple, beetroot, orange, carrot and parsnip flours. Their flours are high in protein and fibre and low in sugar and fat. They are made using a sophisticated fermentation process first developed in the research labs of the University of Auckland. Since going through the Velocity programme, Greenspot Technologies has received substantial investment and has made the move to France and have won multiple international awards for innovation.

Could this zero waste, gluten-free, vegan, low-carb NZ pinot noir flour be the next superfood?
Ninna’s story

Nilo – Turning global plastic problem into exponentially useful resource

Tech company Nilo is on a mission is to see ‘the end of waste’ by providing a way for all plastic to be processed and repurposed on a global scale. They are developing technology that can turn all types of plastic waste, including currently unrecyclable ocean and landfill plastic, into industrial adhesives that have a number of applications including the manufacturing of wood boards, plywood, MDF, and laminated products. The patented process is clean and low energy, with the potential to combine with other waste streams such as construction and demolition waste, wood, textiles, and e-waste.

They are also working to produce high-strength roading solutions that improve not only the environmental but economic and safety aspects of the roading and pavement industry. At the end of their use, all of Nilo’s products can be granulated and re-processed into new products, creating a circular economy where plastic waste is the most valuable resource. Read more


In partnership with Vector, the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosted and facilitated Climathon. Joining thousands of participants in over 100 other cities around the world, 155 Auckland participants embarked on a 24-hour ideas hack, creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Participants proposed solutions such as a new channel for battery recycling and countering the use of diesel generators by providing an alternative solution to mobile power supply. Participants were offered the opportunity to take part in a 12-week programme to take their idea further.

Results of the inaugural Auckland Climathon

Think pieces developed around Climathon:

What climate change will do to our forests
The problem with trickle-down sustainability
Close the gender gap in climate change policy
Time for Auckland to harness renewable energy
Solving Traffic without relying on motorways
Auckland must prepare for climate change now
Reducing pressure on Auckland’s estuaries

Solve it with 5G – Solving sustainability problems with 5G

Solve It with 5G is a week-long innovation sprint, administered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, designed to get participants to think, ideate and create solutions to sustainability problems with 5G technology. Read more




Vertus Energy – Making fossil fuels extinct

Vertus Energy is a biofuel start-up co-founded by University of Auckland alumnus Freddy Gonzalez. Their technology revolutionises the production of green fuel by making the process of converting methane released from sludge, manure, and other organic waste into renewable energy faster and more efficient. 

Freddy, who is the Chief Engineer at Vertus Energy, explains “There are currently three main ways of generating renewable natural gas (RNG), all of which have flaws that limit their potential. Anaerobic digestion, the most common way of producing RNG, has a large footprint, low yield, is slow, and is currently propped up by government subsidies. With our proprietary technology, anaerobic digestion can deliver up to 60% more energy three times faster, enabling it to become a truly sustainable option for the planet. Read more


Vortex Power Systems – generating clean electricity from heat waste

University of Auckland spin-out company ,Vortex Power Systems has created a revolutionary technology, converting low grade waste heat into clean electricity by generating and harnessing the power of an atmospheric vortex. Read more


Generation Changemakers- Study abroad students learn to become global changemakers 

 The University of Auckland’s latest cohort of inbound study abroad and exchange students have embraced the opportunity to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship as tools to address climate issues. Students were given the opportunity to participate in the University’s Generation Changemakers programme, organised by the International Office in partnership with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).  

Study abroad students are from a wide variety of subject disciplines and while in New Zealand will take courses that can be credited towards their degree at home. The latest Generation Changemakers cohort have come from more than 49 different universities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, USA and more.  Read more