Best Ideas 2020 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
New Life Centres
Explain your idea in details:
Establishing a sustainable chain of recycling centres focused on the re-utilisation of coltan present in unusable and antique electronic devices such as phones, laptops and lithium-ion batteries. These centres would pay up to 10% of the product value and then proceed to extract the coltan and other rare earth metals, such as gold, silver and/or copper. The extracted materials would then be processed and sold to electronics and optics suppliers for their subsequent reuse. Since, when refined, coltan produces metallic tantalum, a material whose consumption is highly demanded in the electronics industry preventing batteries from overheating by regulating temperatures. In the short-term, the main focus would be on regional small to medium sized OEM manufacturers for lower scale production to refine the unit economics and grow organically. Over time, scaling up to multinational corporations once a profitable and sustainable strategy is developed in order to compete with traditional coltan mining chains. Making a profit while, at the same time, fostering the circular economy cycle and reducing the high human cost linked to coltan mining. Through the creation of these centres we, as a society, would be advocating for a sustainable way of coltan extraction and decent labour conditions; fighting against environmental degradation and the destruction of local species, such as Grauer's gorillas; as well as reducing the total amount of idle coltan-waste.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Since coltan is one of the world's scarcest resources, carmakers and phone makers are increasingly concerned about securing supply networks. More than ever, the current rate of electronic consumption is increasing, meaning more electronic waste as society rushes to have the latest gadgets the old ones fail into disuse. This in itself presents a unique opportunity to harvest a high number of coltan-rich devices, giving them a new life. This way, by applying circular economy notions to the coltan industry the total waste would be reduced. By reusing resources we help play our role in the fight against climate change whilst also advocating for the restoration of the land destroyed by mining and better working conditions for coltan miners. In particular, putting an end to child labour exploitation with salaries not exceeding $10 per month and inhuman working conditions. What if we could break this cycle and start the wave for change? Through the establishment of these centres and the monetisation of recycling practices, people would become aware of the seriousness of this issue and would adopt sustainable and eco-friendly habits applicable to their day-to-day lives.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Value Proposition: These Centres would promote a sustainable alternative to the extraction of coltan and other rare earth materials, by recycling and re-utilising pieces present in antique and non-working electronic devices and lithium-ion batteries. By doing this, we would be making a better use of this limited resources and disrupting the way in which coltan's industry has been traditionally operating. Key Partners: There are multiple local, national and international organisations as well as NGOs and other associations that would like to become a part of this plan due to the several convergent fronts addressed. For instance, stopping the environmental degradation and disintegration of the habitat of local gorillas, raising awareness about the detrimental working conditions of Congolese mine workers, advocating for child labour exploitation and, reducing coltan and other rare materials waste while implementing circular economy notions to the coltan's production cycle. Market Focus: In order to make this idea attractive we would be giving up to the 10% of the product value and then proceed to extract the coltan and other rare earth metals. The extracted materials would then be processed and sold to electronics and optics suppliers for their subsequent reuse. In the short-term, this initiative would be directed towards regional small to medium sized manufacturers whereas, over time, the focus would be placed on multinational corporations with a higher demand of coltan. Cost Structure: The overall cost expenditure, including the renting of the store, workers salaries, metal processing tools and packaging, is planned to be covered by the selling of coltan and other rare metal pieces to small, medium and larger manufactures and tantalum powder producers. In addition, our marketing strategy will rely on social media advertising and partners active campaigning to leverage the centres outreach and guarantee their long term financial stability.
Hello everyone, I am Virginia Mateo, a 21 year-old International Relations graduate interested in Global Political Economy (GPE) with a passion in advocating for justice and human rights. I have always been curious about the relationship between economy and politics, as well as how to make the world a better place by combining these disciplines. In light with the above, the notions of sustainability and circular economy have always been of great concern to me, as I believe the solution to the main challenges we are facing nowadays is hidden within them. During my internship in the startup Alterhome I was part of the Operations Department, where I was surrounded by a challenging and fast-paced environment that tested my working-under-pressure capabilities. Working for a startup is all about innovation, about making the impossible a little more possible, and that entrepreneurial environment really inspired me to pursue my own ideas. I have also focused on helping others, and through AIESEC, as part of the Outgoing Global Talent Department (OGT), I acquired the necessary tools to develop my leadership potential and pursue outreach initiatives to help others. It was the perfect platform to apply the knowledge gathered at university and gain first-hand project management skills for my professional future.