Climate innovation and biodiversity headline IDB Lab global forum in Bogota

Bogota, Jun 14 (EFE).- Climate innovation and biodiversity protection took center stage at the panels on the first day of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Innovation Lab (IDB Lab) forum in Bogotá.

Among the panelists who attended Tuesday’s event, scheduled to conclude Wednesday, was the founder of venture capital firm SOSV, Sean O’Sullivan, who asserted that while people initially doubt these kinds of technological innovation projects, there are chances they will ultimately succeed.

“People first ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win,” O’Sullivan jovially noted during his panel about the need to boost innovation to accelerate climate action, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

He highlighted emerging companies like Green Li-ion, which specializes in lithium battery recycling, and NotCo, which in an effort to “reinvent the food industry,” developed milk with “the same smell, taste, texture, function, and nutrition” as cow’s milk, but 100% plant-based.


During this gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and other innovative ecosystem stakeholders, IDB Lab’s General Manager, Irene Arias, signed a project to enhance the market for voluntary biodiversity credits through the application of digital tokens.

“A token is an identity given to a transactional unit. Nowadays, there are digital wallets where you can store your tokens,” Terrasos General Manager, Mariana Sarmiento, told Agencia EFE.

For Sarmiento, the token is simply a “tool” representing the biodiversity credit of 10 square meters for thirty years, as the project’s aim is to “democratize the conservation of biodiversity” in an “easy, affordable, transparent, and robust” way.

Similarly, Arias put her signature on another project aimed at financing the expansion of the existing loan portfolio offered by Agricapital, a company seeking to “unlock the productive potential of agricultural producers in vital territories through tailored financing services, accompaniment, and knowledge.”


The agenda included an interactive workshop for emerging companies and investors to leverage Web 3.0 tools, like digital asset management or the use of ‘blockchain.’

Opportunities for feedback from participating experts were among the open spaces available to entrepreneurs in a roundtable discussion where they could learn from successful practices and lessons learned.

There were even two roundtables created specifically for women entrepreneurs of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) projects. This aligned with one of the goals of this second forum: to highlight the work of women entrepreneurs.


The opening of the event was conducted by IDB President, Ilan Goldfajn, who noted that Latin America and the Caribbean face a “triple challenge” in terms of social welfare and growth generation, as well as fiscal resources that can be tackled with innovation.

“Societies are demanding from us to improve inequality, and poverty, and provide better public services in areas such as health, transportation, and digitalization,” Goldfajn told EFE.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s Finance Minister, Ricardo Bonilla, identified the “big challenges” of the organization as “effectiveness” in development, “strengthening its institutional governance,” and developing more regional projects where governments work in a “coordinated” way.

“The IDB Lab needs to become the IDB’s innovation center. It is a call to take more risks and reach those populations, sectors, and territories where it is necessary to create development opportunities, close social gaps, and fight poverty and hunger,” the minister added. EFE


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