During February, the participating teams were able to call on support from technology, sustainability, creative thinking and other experts and mentors while working on their project ideas aimed at helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Last Friday, they presented the results of their projects to a jury of ten prominent experts from business, civil society, science and academia. A total of 20 teams took part in the contest. They had previously been chosen from numerous international applications.
The winning Pina team impressed the jury with its idea of introducing independent CO2 certification of woodlands as a local means of compensating for emissions and enabling sustainable forestry. Bound carbon is to be sold in the form of CO2 certificates as a voluntary compensation measure, for example. So as to bind additional CO2 from the atmosphere, tree species that are especially effective in protecting the climate are to be planted and fewer trees are to be felled. The project aims to be the leader in CO2 certification of forests by 2030, according to Gesa Biermann from Pina.
The team will not only be provided with funding in the coming weeks, but also supported with strategic and professional advice by experts from Volkswagen and Microsoft. The aim is to create the first 10toGO flagship project between the two companies.
10toGo initiator and Volkswagen Group’s Director Machine Learning Lab Patrick van der Smagt reaffirms his support: "With 10toGO we have shown how together we can tackle the SDGs. Now the second, most important part of 10toGO starts, we will not only support the winning team but also help other teams with developing their ideas by growing their network.”
Jury member Beate Hofer, Chief Information Officer at Volkswagen AG, explains the background to this cooperation: “Sustainability and digitalization are the key drivers at the Volkswagen Group and we have a precise plan for becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. We at Volkswagen are convinced that digital innovations are a powerful force in achieving sustainable social development. Yet we have a long way to go and there are still huge efforts required. It’s all the more important to team up with like-minded partners such as Microsoft and drive initiatives like 10toGO. I’m delighted that we’re supporting Pina, a team that is addressing multiple SDGs at once with its AI-driven solution.”
Jury member Dr. Christine Haupt, Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft Deutschland , emphasizes: “Sustainability must be the basis for our actions and all future visions. We at Microsoft are convinced that technological innovations are vital if we want to reconcile sustainable climate protection and growing prosperity all over the world. We are deeply committed to solving the big challenges of our time together with our customers and partners. We’re therefore delighted to be accompanying the winning team on its journey together with Volkswagen.”
Cooperation to create social value added
Volkswagen and Microsoft Deutschland have been committed for years to living up to their social responsibility by promoting sustainability and digital education. It is the two companies’ conviction that data-driven innovations are key to overcoming the biggest challenges of our time. Just last year, the Volkswagen Group and Microsoft Deutschland agreed on a long-term cooperation in forward-looking sustainability and social initiatives in Germany. Their goal is to support and jointly implement projects relating to issues of social responsibility, such as sustainability, digital education, professional training and employee engagement for the good of the wider community.