With the vision to enrich the youth society of the world with ideas and skills for solving the global problem of carbon emission, Carbon Footprint Challenge was organised by Unitech in association with Buhler Group. The competition was based on sharing a sustainable business plan that would contribute to reducing the global carbon footprint. Other companies like Covestro and Nosco that are leaving a good mark in the European business arena also helped in this event.
About the competition
The competition kicked off on March 15 this year. 1714 teams registered in total for the competition, and they submitted 157 ideas for the first round screening. Out of them, only 34 teams could make their way to the second round which took place between May 10 and May 25. Finally, on June 01 six teams were selected for the final and were invited to Zurich, Switzerland. The final event was held in ETH University, Zurich. The participants got the opportunity to visit the university that ranked 10th in the world. After a lengthy but effective workshop of 16 hours, the six finalist teams pitched their business plans on June 26 at ETH University, Zurich, Switzerland. Team Shotej Tag from Bangladesh was selected as the winner by the eight-member jury panel.
About the winning idea
There were some brilliant ideas, all aggregated on a global platform. But, the winning idea was quite a distinguished one to the jury panel. The winners, Team Shotej Tag, pitched the idea of reducing food wastage by selling a tag (a device that displays the number of days a starchy vegetable is having before expiration) to the distributors in a vegetable supply chain of a developing nation like Bangladesh, where the food wastage mostly occur in the distributing channels. Food wastage generates around 3.3 gigaton of CO2 across the globe, and through the implementation of this business in all the developing nations in the world, this could solve the problem of carbon footprint by 14.4 per cent in a year. The tag is the cheapest and best alternative solution for the food waste management since it does not emit CO2 by itself.
About the winning team
The teams contained participants of mixed nationalities. Participants came from USA, Netherland, India, Indonesia, China, Korea, Germany, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Team Shotej Tag from Bangladesh was the only undergraduate team among all the other postgraduates. Varied cultures in a single platform brought so many new things to learn and share with each other, and it created room for greater respect for each other's nationality. Though from different countries, every team was working for a single goal- reducing the CO2 emission globally.
Team Shotej Tag consisted of four BBA students from Bangladesh University of Professionals - Saadman Faisal (final year, major in marketing), Sharar Bin Rahman (final year, major in finance), Sk Mohaimen Hossain (final year, major in supply chain) and Mohammad Zubayer Hossain Khan (third year).
When asked about the competition, Sharar Bin Rahman said, "This was the first ever global championship for BUP. The feeling cannot be expressed in words. Just this is to say that when the teams would participate in the next Carbon Footprint Challenge in 2019, they would see BUP's name written on the past winners' list."
Another member, Saadman Faisal, shared the learnings and insights from this competition: "The major takeaways from the competition were the knowledge acquired from the much effective workshop conducted by CEO of Nosco and operational head from Unitech, networking with such giant companies like Unitech and Buhler Group and a wonderful bunch of new friends from diversified backgrounds."
This competition is not only challenging, but it is believed to be for a noble cause too. Urging teams from Bangladesh to participate next year, Sk Mohaimen Hossain said, "Advice for the future participants would be to prepare a solid team with members from a different field of expertise and work out a feasible business plan that could leave a remarkable impact on carbon footprint reduction. The team must be confident about their idea and know their consumers well. And before a team submits a plan for the competition they must make sure that all the necessary documents for the visa application are arranged, because, if the team gets selected for the final, getting the visa would be a bigger concern than the competitive teams' preparation."
The writer is currently studying in the final year of BBA at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). He can be reached at [email protected]