How to bring water to the desert, how to fight mental illness, what to do with finished books: Czechia knows the best sustainable projects of 2022
On Thursday of October the 13th, the winners of the sixth year of the SDG Awards were announced at the National Museum in Prague. Similarly as in the previous years, the Association of Social Responsibility awarded sustainable projects, their efforts for a healthier planet and its inhabitants, and the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations (SDGs). Projects with a unique impact in the field of development aid, circular economy, climate change and others took home the victory.
Projects of the entire year, and therefore the whole gala evening too, were in the spirit of climate change. The SDG Awards evening was preceded by the international Global Goals Summit, which introduced both Czech and global speakers, experts in sustainability, in the National Museum. “The sixth year was special for us, we wanted to inspire everyone who cares about the fate of the planet. And the record number of registered projects was also exceptional, there were 326 of them,” said Lucie Mádlová, founder and director of the Association of Social Responsibility, who has been announcing the SDG Awards in the Czech Republic since 2017.
One of the most visible speakers of the Global Goals Summit was the Pla(s)teosaurus. The nearly six meters tall statue of the Plateosaurus, which became extinct hundreds of millions of years ago, was created by Czech 3D printers from all over the country, under the banner of the Association of Social Responsibility and Plastenco, in order to convey an important message to the public: “Don’t choose extinction!” “This is a unique work of recycled plastic, using 6,000 pieces of PET bottles. It is a great honor for us that together with an educational exhibition on climate change and a clear appeal for climate action in the form of the Sustainable Manifesto, we can leave the Pla(s)teosaurus to the National Museum for a permanent exhibition that will be available to the general public,” added Lucie Mádlová.
The SDG Awards were won by 8 inspirational projects
This year, awards were announced in several categories. The first place in the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion category went to the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and their project Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence. In the Education, Health and Quality Life category, the expert jury awarded the Nepanikař app, representing a safe environment for young people, who can seek psychological help and share their problems on the platform. And the winner in the Innovation, Technology and Energy category, was the University Center for Energy Efficient Buildings of Czech Technical University with their S.A.W.E.R. project, which can produce drinking water directly from dry desert air.
Modelárna LIAZ took the first place in the Development Cooperation, Peace and Partnership category. The unmanned helicopter created by this organization locates deep water pockets and sources of drinking water in Ethiopia. The Circular Economy category was dominated by the Knihobot project, which helps readers return their finished and unwanted books back on the market. The ruler of the Climate Change sector was Mewery and their efforts to develop an efficient and scalable production of cultured meat, without killing a single animal. The founder Roman Lauš explains: “Mewery addresses the serious challenges facing humanity in relation to climate change, namely the environmental impact of industrial farms, the increasing demand for meat due to rising living standards and population growth that is unsustainable with current farming practices, and much more.”
The winners of the Young Leaders category presented by Forbes Czechia, were Vasil Kostin and Tomáš Trejdl with their project Wrest. Wrest consists of a special computer mouse pad that prevents those who spend most of the working day behind a computer, from developing the carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, a set of effective exercises is provided as well.
One of the novelties this year was the European Commission Award, which represented an opportunity for the members of the public themselves to have a decision of the winning project in the category. Voting took place from September the 20th until the 30th as part of the European Sustainable Development Week, and a total of five projects were in play. After an intense finale, the award went to Domov sv. Josefa, the only inpatient facility in the Czech Republic for patients with multiple sclerosis. Local nurses also help patients directly in their homes or serve as a “friend on the phone”.
The gala evening was hosted by Daniela Písařovicová from DVTV, and the festive atmosphere was complemented by a unique zero waste menu. White Circus catering provided a phenomenal fine dining experience, using saved ingredients from Rohlik.cz and plant products from The Vegetarian Butcher and creating a celebratory dinner without waste. The event was also enriched by a fashion show of clothing made from recycled Ultravagant fabrics and a performance by a choir of senior women from the non-profit organization Elpida lead by a singer Sára Vondrášková.
“We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it. The best way to deal with the current situation is to double down on innovation and decarbonization while cultivating people’s love of peace. It’s time to include renewable energy sources, build circular flows of materials and at the same time not give up on international cooperation,” concluded Georg Kell, one of the speakers at the Global Goals Summit, a legend in the field of sustainability and ESG, on the topic of the fight against climate change. He too received his award – a trophy for lifetime contribution to sustainability.
The SDG Awards are a unique ceremony for the fulfillment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They embody cooperation between non-governmental organizations, state administration and the private sector (the so-called Public Private Partnership). The SDG Awards in the Czech Republic have been awarded since 2017 by the Association of Social Responsibility, this year in cooperation with the European Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment and under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. This year’s business partners are EY, Hello bank!, Heureka, Google, Unilever and the ČEZ Group. With the media support of DVTV.cz, Euronews, EURO, Forbes Czechia, Marketing & Media and TV Nova.