Irys to Present at Tech for Our Planet Showcase at COP26
This November, Irys will present at the COP26 conference event in Glasgow, Scotland hosted by the United Nations (UN)! This event was created in order to radically address climate change and develop clear plans to mitigate the impact of rising temperatures and the increase of extreme weather events, as well as the destruction that follows.
The UN created the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) event 26 years ago when climate change was not yet top of mind for countries around the world. In 2015, the Paris Agreement was struck where every country in attendance committed to reducing carbon emissions worldwide and prevent the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees. Additionally, each country was tasked to develop Nationally Defined Contributions (NDCs) and dedicate funds to climate mitigation initiatives. Participants also agreed to meet every five years to update their plans and assess their ability to deliver on these goals, which is just one reason why COP26 is so critical.
Tech For Our Planet is a unique event at COP26 where startups from across the world can apply to showcase pilots that demonstrate how digital and data solutions are essential to supporting the global climate effort and can help us achieve net zero goals. Irys is the only American and LATINX startup that was selected to participate.
TFOP has a rigorous application/proposal process across five challenge areas:
- In Our Homes: How technology can spark behavioral changes and improve sustainable consumption in our homes
- On Our Plate: How technology can promote more sustainable land use and waste management in agriculture
- Thinking Smart: How to better capture and share energy consumption data across the grid
- Engaging Communities: How technology can allow both local and international communities to have a voice on climate priorities and initiatives
- Green Finance: How technology can make financial environmentally sustainable
Once selected, the startups must conduct a rapid, 3 month pilot project with international partners and present findings at the TFOP showcase event.
Irys applied to work on the Engaging Communities challenge and proposed that they would identify areas that are most impacted by climate change related issues, such as erosion, flooding, future sea level rise, wildfires, etc. Irys laid out a four-phase approach to this pilot:
- Phase I: Identify areas most affected by climate change (flooding, sea level rise, wildfires, etc.), as well as work with disenfranchised and indiginous communities. Additionally, they would source external partners and mentors to guide the process of understanding the planning and implementation of climate intervention strategies
- Phase II: Select one area impacted by climate change and invite residents of that area to utilize the Irys platform and provide feedback
- Phase III: Once feedback has been analyzed and government priorities have been identified, Irys will update the platform with the reflective categories, surveys, resources, etc. that is most useful to both residents and government entities
- Phase IV: The mobile app is released to residents of the affected area and to government representatives to utilize and test both the app and the dashboard and provide feedback.
As a result, Irys was selected and chose to pursue its pilot study with Arcadis, a sustainable design, engineering consulting group to work on the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) wildlife restoration project.
As part of its net zero emissions plan by 2050, SSEN has put together a comprehensive Environmental Action Plan (2023-2028). This EAP outlines clear pathways to address eight of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, and responsible consumption and production. SSEN currently serves more than 3.5 million customers and is responsible for not only delivering electricity to customers, but also to protect the environment they operate in.
Arcadis identified practical, nature-based solutions to carbon and biodiversity offsetting and gave SSEN advice on how to restore wildlife and improve natural habitats in the areas they serve. While the three-month pilot with Irys covered the Argyll and Bute counties in Northern Scotland, a service territory of about 780,000 customers for SSEN, as well as the county of Hampshire in SSEN’s south central region.
In order to understand how SSEN’s customers relate to their environment, customers were asked to provide data driven feedback and engage with the community through Irys’ application. The results of this pilot study will be shared at COP26 will cover:
- What customers currently value in their local area (habitats, green space, nature, etc.)
- How customers currently access nature and green spaces, as well as for what purpose
- How customers prioritize habitat improvements and environmental benefits
Irys is a great partner for SSEN and Arcadis because it’s unique range of products and platforms that support cities and countries bent on reaching SDGs and helping communities develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure. The Irys platforms also reduce inequalities among communities so that users of all social and economic backgrounds can participate in providing feedback, empowering users to share their thoughts with their community and enable industry leaders to act. Additionally, Irys can help citizens identify environmental hazards, and has eliminated paper trails and increased sustainability by allowing cities to shift to using cleaner and environmentally sound technologies.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we share more on The Road to Glasgow.