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Environmate Hackathon advances solutions to Lebanon’s environmental challenges
5/29/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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The Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL), hosted at AUB, organized its first Environmate Hackathon, an environmental incubator that offers a framework for homegrown solutions to urgent energy and environmental challenges in Lebanon.

“This first edition of Environmate was conceived, planned, and supported by the Steering Committee of Global Compact Network Lebanon,” said GCNL representative, Dr. Dima Jamali. “We received over 60 submissions of bold and original ideas that serve to address some of the most pressing environmental problems in Lebanon in the areas of solid waste and waste water management, alternative energy, air pollution, organic agriculture, and water efficiency among others.” 

Twelve teams were shortlisted to compete for one of three prizes offered as incentive in support of young bright ecopreneurs who have big ideas. The teams were matched with 12 companies from GCNL and, guided by their mentorship, pitched their projects in front of an audience and four judges: CEO of Cedar Environmental Ziad Abi Chaker; Associate Dean and Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships at AUB Dima Jamali; Senior Marketing Manager at LibanPost Ronnie Richa; and Lebanese ecopreneur and certified CSR practitioner Nader Nakib. Five finalist teams went through a second round of pitching before the final results were announced.

Based on the evaluation of the judges (70% of total score) and the live voting of the audience (30%), five teams with engineering, business, computer science and agribusiness backgrounds, shared the three prizes.

First prize ($10,000) was won by AUB graduates Jamil Ballout and Gabriel El-Hakim who proposed the Smart Trash Can: an automated, compact, affordable bin that integrates eco technology to separate trash automatically from the source. The second prize ($7,000) was shared by Charbel Abou Khalil, who suggested the use of the anaerobic-aerobic sequential system (AASS) technology to treat a mixture of liquid and solid wastes, and Basil and Rami Mahfouz, who proposed the Apple Cider project to transform surplus organic apples into apple cider to be sold in local and international markets with minimal land, water, and energy use.

The third prize ($5,000) was shared by two teams as well working on the Limm and Paulownia Tree projects. Limm is a social and environmental online platform designed by Nicolas Farah and his four team members. It aims to connect individuals to waste collectors and create a culture of sorting and recycling. The Paulownia Tree project, proposed by AUB graduates Shadi Srour and Nizar El Kotob, proposes planting Paulownia – a magnificent air and soil filtering tree, known for its ecological and environmental benefits – near rural areas where septic waste tanks are used instead of sewage systems. 

“There are exceptional opportunities here in Lebanon and there is a lot to do” said keynote speaker at the award ceremony, television producer and presenter, and AUB alumnus Ricardo Karam. “While we create our own future, we have the opportunity to shape the future of Lebanon and the region. With our knowledge, and education, and brilliant ideas, we have all the right tools at our disposal.” 

“We hope to continue to regularly run the Environmate Hackathon to advance sophisticated solutions that address Lebanon’s most pressing environmental problems, working closely in partnership with other key players within the Lebanese Environmental ecosystem,” said Dr. Jamali.

The United Nations Global Compact is the largest sustainability initiative on the planet with 85 local networks and operations in over 160 countries. It aims to provide opportunities for learning, policy dialogue, and partnership towards implementing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including good health and education, clean water and energy, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. The local network in Lebanon (GCNL) was launched at AUB in September 2015 with the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at AUB’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) as its secretariat. The Lebanese network today has 104 participants (60 businesses and 44 NGOs) with the vision of developing an engaged community of businesses and civil society that work together to advance sustainability nationwide.




Story Highlights
  • The Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL), hosted at AUB, organized its first Environmate Hackathon, an environmental incubator that offers a framework for homegrown solutions to urgent energy and environmental challenges in Lebanon.
  • “We received over 60 submissions of bold and original ideas that serve to address some of the most pressing environmental problems in Lebanon in the areas of solid waste and waste water management, alternative energy, air pollution, organic agriculture, and water efficiency among others.” 
 
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