Covestro recently announced that, for the second consecutive year, it is a partner of the global Carbon Footprint Challenge, an international business idea competition supported by leading global companies such as Bühler, Evonik, and Oracle, as well as nine top European universities connected to the Unitech network. The challenge invites students and young professionals from all over the world to share ideas to fight climate change on an open innovation online platform.

“The chemical industry in particular needs to become even more sustainable and is looking for fresh ideas,” said Markus Steilemann, Ph.D., CEO of Covestro. “We don’t develop them on our own—therefore, we rely on the best minds bringing in open-mindedness and ingenuity.” 

The online innovation portal at is open through July 7 for individuals and teams contributing ideas that can decrease the carbon footprint of manufacturing, industrial processes, and products throughout the entire value chain. There is no need to deliver fully elaborated business plans or ready prototypes. Fields of interest include, among others, process efficiency, sustainable energy sources, and raw materials, as well as carbon sequestration technologies.

The second stage of the challenge is when the ideas will be developed and shaped for their future markets and applications. The innovation platform enables interaction between the teams and the community, with support from the industry partners and universities. 

On September 6-7, the Carbon Footprint Challenge will invite the top five teams to Zurich, Switzerland, for a pitch in front of the jury. The winning team will be rewarded with up to CHF 10,000 (about $10,000) to support the realization of its idea. 

“Again and again, the Carbon Footprint Challenge brings a broad diversity of people, ideas and energies together to address the key issue of our times,” said David Ward, secretary general of Unitech International.

Last year, the finalists’ ideas for the Carbon Footprint Challenge ranged from new fiber materials made from coconuts to power and freshwater systems for small islands. Registrations and teams were seen from 80 countries, making the Carbon Footprint Challenge truly global, putting light on challenges and opportunities from all over the world.

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