Drinks giant Diageo has announced plans to invest $525,000 in innovations that can monitor and lessen the impact of the climate and water crises on smallholder farms in Africa.
The company announced last week it had launched three "challenges," which would see hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on innovations designed to improve farmers' resilience to water, climate and biodiversity impacts.
Innovators, companies and startups have been invited by the multinational drinks brand to apply for seed funding to develop their technologies before Oct. 7.
Pilots of selected projects will then take place in East Africa, with successful projects set to be rolled out across Diageo's smallholder farmer network across Cameroon, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, the Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda, the company said.
"Even under the 1.5C trajectory called for by the Paris Agreement, farmers in the Southern Hemisphere will need help to adapt to climate change," said Kirstie McIntyre, global sustainability director at Diageo. "Our next Diageo Sustainable Solutions round will create action for innovators around the world to help save lives and livelihoods in the countries and communities that are most at risk."
The objective of the Diageo Sustainable Solutions fund was to discover and develop innovators and technologies that can help Diageo achieve its sustainability goals and build resilience in the communities it works with.
Relevant solutions in the water category could include soil additives for water retention, hyper-local weather forecasting or probes for taking readings from the field, it said.
Meanwhile, the fund's "carbon challenge" will invest in technologies designed to boost the carbon sequestration of soil by enhancing soil health, for instance through remote monitoring to provide landscape-scale intelligence, modeling carbon sequestration linked to land management, and spectral devices.
The drinks giant will also be looking for innovations designed to track and measure biodiversity, such as camera trapping, co-operative models to help smallholder farmers boost biodiversity and on-farm or remote data collection practices.
Pilots underway from previous rounds of the Diageo Sustainable Solutions fund include a partnership with Exxergy, Dassault Systemes and Ardagh group to develop a coating to make glass thinner without losing its strength so as to reduce emissions and demand for resources.
Diageo said the objective of the Diageo Sustainable Solutions fund was to discover and develop innovators and technologies that can help Diageo achieve its sustainability goals and build resilience in the communities it works with.