Wellington start-up in top three at Paris Climate Conference

A Wellington e-commerce start-up with a unique eco-idea to lower CO2 emissions has been placed second in a worldwide competition to tackle climate change at COP21, the 2015 Climate Conference in Paris.

The start-up, named ‘Po0ol’, is an ambitious concept from three young Wellington entrepreneurs that aims to develop an e-commerce marketplace to connect small and medium enterprises with sustainable suppliers. By aggregating the buying power of local businesses they aim to lower transport-related CO2 emissions on a city level.

Kim van Sparrentak, a researcher at the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities, presented Po0ol’s business plan against 12 other teams during COP21 in a two-minute pitch to the Paris’ Grand Palais audience.

“To pitch our business plan alongside other great sustainable projects was extremely empowering. We received praise for the project’s viability and potential impact,” Kim says.

Interview with Kim:

Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest innovation institute focused on climate change, decided to look beyond Europe and organised the Climathon event for the first time this year. More than 100 projects across 20 cities from six continents joined the challenge to create solutions to combat climate change on a city level.

Po0ol co-founders Kim Van Sparrentak and Isa Miralles impressed the Paris Grand Palais audience with their two minute pitch. The third member of Po0ol, Kang Lin, was unable to attend.

“Our dream is to provide sustainable supply options to all small and medium enterprises in Wellington. Not only to cafés and organic supermarkets, but also to car mechanics and kebab shops” says Isa.

After the Paris agreement, ideas aiming to reduce greenhouse gases are very timely. Po0ol aims to get small and medium businesses on board to become sustainable and resilient for the future.

“We’re confident we can lead the Wellington business community towards a sustainable transition,” says Kim.

Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomes their ambition:

“Po0ol’s success in Paris is proof that Wellington can play a lead role in climate innovation. Kim and her team were backed by Wellington City Council, along with a world-class research and entrepreneur community. Cities must lead climate change mitigation and adaptation,” she says.

Po0ol was the top idea at the Wellington Climathon 2015 held earlier this year. The Wellington Climathon’s supporting partners were Victoria University of Wellington, the Deep South National Science Challenge, Wellington City Council, Enspiral Academy, and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities, based at the University of Otago, Wellington.