RELEASE: WRI India, Citi Foundation Introduce ‘TheCityFix Labs’ Policy Dialogue to Accelerate Innovation in Water, Waste and Energy Management
HYDERABAD, India (October 8, 2018) – WRI India Ross Center, with support from the Citi Foundation, convened TheCityFix Labs policy dialogue today in Hyderabad on “Accelerating Innovation: Water | Waste | Energy.” This one-of-a-kind initiative is aimed at establishing a platform to help coordinate investors, entrepreneurs and the state for public good by connecting the innovation ecosystem.
The Lab will take applications from private companies and entrepreneurs on new solutions to water, waste and energy management – critical services that often lag behind urban expansion in cities around the world, leading to negative impacts on long-term environmental sustainability, public health and quality of life.
Over the following months, WRI India will work with winning applicants from across the country to nurture their ideas and evolve their business models to better suit municipal decision-making and markets, using Hyderabad as a test case.
India’s rapid urbanization has led to a construction boom: 35 billion square meters of new buildings are expected to be added by 2050. A large portion of developments under construction today are disconnected from water, energy, sewage and other basic infrastructure. Evidence from multiple countries demonstrates that resource-efficient buildings are more affordable than non-efficient buildings, particularly when indirect costs, such as public health, economic productivity and pollution are accounted for. Despite the need for a forward-looking approach, current building practices in India are extremely resource-intensive.
For a resource-secure future, India will need to drastically change practices and deploy scalable solutions so asset utilization is purposeful and efficient. TheCityFix Labs are part of the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), a partnership between WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Citi Foundation, to more intentionally drive the market transition towards sustainable investments by combining knowledge-sharing, capacity-building and direct technical assistance to help cities better define and initiate fundable projects.
“This is a much-needed initiative,” said Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of Industries and Commerce and IT, Telangana. “Economic growth and sustainability are not necessarily mutually exclusive; they are both requirements for the future we want, not only in Hyderabad, but all over the country. Industry and government should encourage innovators bringing solutions to the table and the Lab provides the platform to enable this.”
TheCityFix Lab India is open to applications from across India with the aim of helping promising solutions gain traction with city governments. From January 2019 to April 2019, the Lab will immerse select entrepreneurs and businesses with different stakeholders in the sustainability ecosystem, including government decision-makers, investors, technical experts and consumers, through a series of hands-on workshops and training sessions. Workshops will be held in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to explore gaps existing in the current policy and regulatory framework, and the changes and resources needed to address them in a timely manner.
“TheCityFix Labs is an exciting opportunity to test promising sustainable solutions,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “By piloting these projects and equipping innovators with the tools and platforms needed to bring their ideas to life, WRI is helping to build a more sustainable urban future in India and beyond.”
“In India, there is an urgent need to transform built environments to be more sustainable,” said Jaya Dhindaw, Director of Urban Development, WRI India Ross Center. “Assisting investors in identifying opportunities that benefit all stakeholders and helping entrepreneurs access capital and markets and navigate the municipal process will be key to achieving desirable outcomes.”
About WRI India Ross Center
WRI India Ross Center is part of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works to make urban sustainability a reality. Global research and on-the-ground experience in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and the United States combine to spur action that improves life for millions of people.
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.