Webinar: How to engage more companies in the sustainable innovation chain

On November 12, CISB organized the webinar “How to engage more companies in the sustainable innovation chain” with the participation of women and workers in the field of innovation. It was a high-level debate on circular economy, innovative cooperation models and sustainability. In addition, the speakers shared their experiences in major institutions: Sustainable Vision, Sabesp and FAPESP.

The webinar was moderated by the Executive Director of CISB, Alessandra Holmo, who opened the panel talking about the participation of the Swedish-Brazilian Research and Innovation Center in the development of models of cooperation and innovative actions. CISB has been continuously bringing opportunities for international collaboration to Brazil. Then, Alessandra Holmo addressed the issue of the transition to the circular economy.

For Semida Silveira, founder of Sustainable Vision and professor at KTH, the challenge of transition is complex and requires the mobilization of various actors in society. “It is necessary that we work on the interfaces between the actors for the innovation to actually happen. It is not a duality, but a chain that involves several interfaces. The question is how a private actor can mobilize its production chain and attract partners aiming at innovation and the process of transforming society. ” explained the professor at the Swedish institution KTH.

The first example cited by Semida was the LIDL supermarket chain in Sweden, which in 2019 opened a call for projects for universities, NGOs and research institutes under the theme The Plastic Challenge. The objective was to support sustainability projects that promote solutions for reducing the use of plastics, developing alternative materials and / or changing consumer behavior. The call had a high reach, resulting in 27 proposals, of which five projects were awarded a total of 10 million SEK.

Silveira points out three fundamental points that support the mobilization. “First, there is already a global agenda for sustainable development, that is, we no longer have to wait to define our performance as an institution. Second, anyone can be the initiator of a catalytic action that contributes to the circular economy, as long as the contribution is defined within the context in which it operates and that motivates others to participate. The example of LIDL that operates in retail shows that this is possible. And thirdly, innovation has several facets and this includes changes in the way of interacting with society or the market itself, engaging customers and mobilizing resources, to work together on behalf of the agenda. ” Concluded.

For Cristina Zuffo, Superintendent of Research, Development and Innovation at the Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo, Sabesp, although the company's innovation area is small, compared to the size of the company, the challenges are many and range from the simplest, involving digital technologies, even the most complex such as nanotechnology, biology, among others. The model used by the company's sector is that of open innovation, with several partnerships, agreements and actors in the sanitation chain, in order to build an innovation ecosystem.

“We adopted an innovation rule for all TRLs and focused on the universe of startups. To this end, we have developed several mechanisms for promoting startups in this joint work, such as the agreement with FAPESP, which provides for the launch of a joint call to submit proposals for startups within the most diverse themes. ” confirmed the company representative.

Luciana Hashiba took the opportunity to comment on the work of the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation, FAPESP, in conjunction with Sabesp, which seeks institutions or people with challenges and demands and seeks to connect them with the ecosystem. “FAPESP has the role of facilitating technological development, researching and the challenge is to continue developing scientific entrepreneurship, whether within the university openly or with entrepreneurs who carry a technological baggage and desire to have an impact on society. It is this type of model that we have established with Sabesp, being a company that proposes to do things differently, has provided this opportunity. ” commented the research coordinator for innovation at FAPESP.

One of the points of agreement between the participants was that innovation is not always linked to technology. There is often an excess of technological solutions available, but for various reasons they do not leverage. The reasons may be linked to the adaptation to the Brazilian reality, whether for social or institutional reasons. “Here in Brazil there is a relatively large supply of resources for research and development of innovation, but this resource is not well used and good projects are also lacking. I do not say in terms of quality, but mainly because they do not fit the expectations of the company. There needs to be an alignment between what the market, the community and the academy want, which can be challenging. ”Completed Zuffo.

Alessandra ended by thanking the presence of the guests who delivered a webinar with enriching concepts and the participants who collaborated by sending questions.

To watch the full webinar, visit our YouTube page: https://youtu.be/GxUswH3nrQ8