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Climate Innovation Grants Demonstrate Passion, Diligence, and Ingenuity of Yale Students

Five student teams were recently awarded Climate Change Innovation Grants by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY).

CBEY awarded $15,000 this year to help further innovative ideas to address climate change and its environmental and social impacts. The Center has awarded these grants for the past four years in an effort to support projects and ideas that can have wide-ranging impacts and tackle diverse systemic issues related to the current climate crisis.

“Once again, CBEY’S Climate Innovation Grants have demonstrated the passion, diligence, and ingenuity of Yale students when it comes to developing solutions to the climate crisis,” said Ben Soltoff, Environmental Innovation Fellow at Yale Center for Business and the Environment and Tsai CITY.  “We saw a wide range of ideas this year, and I found the diversity of approaches to be particularly striking. Whether it’s consumer products, information analysis, COVID relief, or board games, students are gearing up to tackle the problem with whatever tools they have available, and that’s exactly what’s needed to solve a complex and all-encompassing challenge like climate change.” 

The 2020 recipients include:

  • Compost Climate Impact Calculator: This online platform enables compost haulers to compute and track their climate impacts. The Compost Climate Impact Calculator aims to be the first publicly available, research-backed emissions reduction calculator for the compost industry. 
  • Energy Literacy for Everyone: Curious about climate change but want to learn more? You might try this game, which gives players an idea of what it might mean to solve the climate challenge. From balancing a budget to procuring clean power for the city, you are in charge of working as a team to sustainably support 8.4 million New Yorkers.
  • Qi Foods LLC: Qi Foods LLC is a premium, superfood beverage company aiming to be a pioneer in sustainably-sourced, transparent Asian food supply chains. Qi food’s first product is a ready-to-drink herbal tea line featuring superfoods such as jujube, hawthorn berry, and chrysanthemum flower. All of the company’s products are organic or pesticide-free, as well as without sulfur or preservatives. 
  • Safer at Home Green Revolving Loan Fund: This innovative loan instrument designed to finance the upfront capital costs of energy efficiency improvements while paying rent. By facilitating a partnership between Connecticut financial institutions, the Safer at Home Green Revolving Loan Fund would meet housing needs while addressing climate change and creating jobs.
  • The Simple Nest: This one-stop platform for parents to purchase chemical-free, plastic-free baby products also serves as a hub for local children's enrichment programming and leisure activities as well as informational pieces on green parenting trends. 

CBEY is incredibly thankful to the judges who helped select the recipients. They include Yale alumni and a past leader in entrepreneurship at CBEY and Tsai CITY.

  • Noah Walker, (MEM ‘14), Director of Product and Business Development at Indigo Carbon
  • Charissa Rujanavech (MEM ‘13), Principal, Circular Economy at Amazon
  • Kathryn Wright (MEM ‘13), Program Director for Buildings at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), Co-Founder of MySunBuddy
  • Ruth Metzel (MEM/MBA ‘16), Global Restoration Lead, Conservation International
  • Tory Grieves (MEM/MBA ‘18) VP of Analytics, The Climate Service

Winning teams will receive seed funding, the opportunity to participate in the Climate Change Solutions Generator in spring 2020, and expert mentorship to advance their projects. They are also strongly encouraged to apply for the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize as part of CBEY’s entrepreneurship and innovation grant and prize pipeline.