The Sustainable Development goals include 17 accords signed by our leading institutions, including multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and government bodies who comprise the G20.
“By virtue of our 7 pillars, the Vertex has been able to commit to all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals. We leverage partnerships across key sectors for their achievement. Specifically, our ecosystem is founded on intersecting the different players who altogether could change the world through a coordinated effort, and our mission is to coordinate them”, Vertex co-founder and CEO Marc Watum.
In the Aftermath of hallmark climate agreements such as the C0P15 (drafted by Vertex Partner the Climate Group) and several others, the SDGs seek to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all with objectives by 2030. The objectives that Vertex has chosen to align with are the following
- No poverty. We participate in market-making for excluded enterprises while simultaneously uplifting people with little-to no economic agency. We are physically present in some of Africa’s most deprived townships such as Soweto and Kibera (Kenya), offering a platform to budding entrepreneurs or running various donation and education programs to challenge poverty.
- Zero hunger. Food donation drives, smallholder farming innovation, fish farming. We work to deliver some revolutionary technical assistance to improve food systems across different communities.
- Good Health and Wellbeing. Education is a principal focus of ours. Through partnerships with various government ministries, agencies, and NGO’s we propagate education about the importance of health and wellbeing. From the health perspective, we coordinate youth education workshops with school children, and have worked with schools in the UK, South Africa and through some of our partners have also delivered these workshops in Oman, Germany, Italy, and so on. Our directors are also very health conscious, and have the right personal habits to lead such initiatives.
- Quality education. While we attempt to deliver our own forms of education, Vertex is taking a stand to improve professional educational systems. We understand that accessibility is a problem for many, and as such are offering as many free digital resources as possible. Through some of our pillars like Think Twice, Explore, and Incubate, people can review knowledge-shares from some of the world’s most prominent leaders and educators.
- Gender equality. Women have been deprived from leading social advancement for too long. It is our position at Vertex to become as inclusive as possible, and demonstrate that women possess the acumen to transform our communities. Women-only panels, promoting female content, or even working with economically disenfranchised women across the world all form part of our effort to restore gender equality. We also recognise that men require some additional support in the space of wellbeing and mental health, and rely on pillars like the Inspire series to work on these issues together.
- Clean water and sanitation. Vertex has partnered with leading academics, the World Economic Forum, Water & Humanity, and some key enterprises that will change the way we use water for ever. Together we produce the W&H working paper series to document some of these solutions and share their components in open source format so that the entire world can benefit form them. Solutions include smart innovations such as pipe leakage sensors that effectively uberise servicemen to maintain faulty infrastructure, smart water filtration systems, and large scale water purification at very cost effective rates. We can make 25 litres of unclean river water drinkable in a matter of minutes, at a cost of about $0.13. We can also treat over 5000 litres of water every 3 hours with the same technology.
- Affordable and clean energy. All of our installations and future projects are to be based on 100% renewable energy sources, as we aim to power farms, water purification stations, and our own facilities with solar energy. We also have an interest in biofuels and vegetable fuel additive production as we recycle the by-products of these systems. Also, the startups who enter our incubator are required to match this objective, taking a total green energy approach and (in some cases) creating new sources of energy that can plug into national power grids.
- Decent work and economic growth. We want to restore dignity in the work force, and allow people at every level of society to participate in the fields that they want to. Our pillars train people to be able to achieve this, while we create co-operatives in our communities in which employment opportunities flourish.
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure. Every startup who works with the Vertex is required to deliver some form of social impact at the infrastructure level. Our objective is to create development and to democratise the process. This field is not reserved to the overqualified and senior educated or experienced. Development should be for everyone.
- Reduced inequalities. We will constantly monitor our projects, observing for their effects on several forms of inequality, albeit income inequality, trade inequality, and vulnerabilities as faced by the communities of different countries. For example, in tackling the post-COVID environment, we understand that some populations are less prepared to respond to shock – -when food systems become disrupted and there is no money or time to afford immediate adaptation. This lack of resilience can no longer be tolerated, and this is where we come in.
- Sustainable cities and communities. We have hosted several panel discussions themed around sustainable cities of the future, and further studied the concept of smart cities and innovation in depth. We’ve worked with some prominent thinkers and doers in the space of artificial intelligence, blockchain systems, internet of things, logistics & transportation, water and agriculture systems to make sure we’re at the forefront of this SDG.
- Reasonable consumption and production. Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Vertex consults a lot of new businesses and public agencies throughout or project life spans. At each stage, we take deliberate action to intervene and advise on more reasonable consumption and production methods. Our objective here is to phase out any large scale wastage, industrial pollutants, dumping etc.
- Climate action. The entire Impact series at Vertex is committed to climate change & water security. Here we undertake significant climate action across these sectors: school nutrition, horticulture, wetlands rehabilitation, ecosystem restoration, vegetable fuel additives, and sustainable oceans. Therein, we combine all of the Vertex’s resources such as startups, incubation, accelerators, mentors, investors, and governments to enact interventional solutions.
- Life below water. Some countries in Africa and around the world have already made exemplary interventions in this space, and we intend to learn from them. Certain East African countries have already banned plastic bags 10 years ago, and others have become more stern about waste management systems. It is a cop-out to sell your trash to another country and to store it in their harbours cough cough. It is also a tragedy to see so many COVID PPE materials found in our oceans already, which demonstrates that we aren’t yet where we need to be. We want to clean up our water bodies, and the Impact series at Vertex is most prepared to do so.
- Life on Land. We are partnered with, and participate frequently in, several reforestation and afforestation initiatives. Simultaneously we take a special focus on agriculture systems and sustainable food production.
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions. We are committed to use our platform as a space to promote peace, justice, and strong institutions. In the African context, this means working closely with public agencies and to re-model the structures that have limited development for decades. We are against corruption, financial mismanagement, the systematic discrimination and disenfranchisement of vulnerable groups, and non-peaceful conflict resolution. As such, you should expect Vertex to appear wherever these issues arise, as a mediator, friend, and flag-bearer for democracy and diplomacy.
- Partnerships. This ecosystem would be nowhere without our strength in generating and encouraging the right partnerships, so we continue to facilitate these processes whether they’re exclusively to boost our work or the work of those who are going to make a difference. Our Connect community specifically allows people of different walks of like, whether individual or institutional, to solicit introductions and conversations with other members of the Vertex Ecosystem from anywhere around the world. Essentially, Connect is the best way to lobby with government, investors, mentors, corporates, and creatives alike who all want to make positive change.