Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited launches climate hub

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited has launched Climate Connect Aotearoa – a hub for collaborative climate innovation – that it says will help the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon Tāmaki Makaurau while benefiting the nation.

Auckland Council says the hub will bring together business, government, Māori, academia, funders, investors and climate innovators to develop, test and grow solutions needed to ensure Auckland and New Zealand reduce emissions in line with global agreements, and adapt and thrive in the face of climate change.

Climate Connect Aotearoa has been modelled on successful international centres such as Climate-KIC (EU and Australia) and the LA Cleantech Incubator in California.

Chief Sustainability Officer at Auckland Council, Matthew Blaikie says establishing a hub for climate innovation in Tāmaki Makaurau presents a significant opportunity to accelerate climate action.

“Bold, ambitious climate action is required to meet our climate goals, and this will only be possible if collaboration and partnership are central to our approach. Climate Connect Aotearoa will enable people and organisations to come together and collaborate to develop solutions that will benefit Auckland and beyond,” said Mr Blaikie.

Climate Connect Aotearoa aims to support Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan and its goals to build climate resilience and a low carbon regenerative economy, he said.

Funded through the Auckland Council Long-Term Plan in the first instance, the hub is being brought to life by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (TAU), Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s economic and cultural agency

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive, Nick Hill says the role of Climate Connect Aotearoa is to be a ‘connector’ – helping match organisations that are facing climate change challenges to innovative solutions.

“The scale of change required for the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy is massive, however, it also creates all sorts of opportunities. We are excited to see what solutions Climate Connect Aotearoa will help bring to life,” he said.

Following the funding allocation in 2021, TAU formed a dedicated team to work with key partners and stakeholders in delivering the hub. In March 2022, Climate Connect Aotearoa appointed an advisory group of nationally and globally recognised climate leaders to direct and provide expertise into how the hub would be developed.

In consultation with the advisory group and sustainability specialists across Auckland Council and Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) TAU developed the hub model and identified its key focus areas, core functions and priorities for action.

In December, Climate Connect Aotearoa will run its first design sprint or ‘challenge’ for the energy sector, in partnership with Ara Ake, New Zealand’s national future energy centre. This is an opportunity to bring together key players within the energy sector to collaborate and identify areas with the biggest impact in reducing emissions and creating a more sustainable sector.

Climate Connect Aotearoa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to support the challenges programme and grow capacity across the climate innovation ecosystem by sharing the latest data and knowledge available both locally and globally and in order to inform future research.

Climate Connect Aotearoa will benefit from the expertise and connections available through TAU, maximising the hub’s impact. At the same time, the solutions, partnerships and learnings developed by Climate Connect Aotearoa will inform and support all the work that TAU is doing across Tāmaki Makaurau, Council said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with many outstanding organisations and experts across the climate innovation ecosystem at regional, national and global levels. We are certain this collaborative approach will help enable a climate-resilient and sustainable future for our region, its economy and its people,” said Mr Hill.

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