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This year, the sustainability hackathon Solve the SDGs brought together almost 500 participants in Finland and India. In Finland, our participants got to solve five wicked problems provided by our partners Aalto University, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), S Group, Sweco and Visit Finland. Their expertise helped the participants create 76 different projects, each taking a step closer to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Let’s have a look at the winning projects for each challenge.

Student-driven Sustainability Impact in Higher Education by Aalto University

Sustainability Action Booster is an expense grant at Aalto University, dedicated to empowering students and unleashing their creative ideas for a sustainable future. In their challenge, they asked participants to design a platform or toolkit that would ignite a sustainability revolution among the student body of a higher education institution.  The winning team, MingleforGOOD, ideated an event concept where like-minded individuals could come together and collaborate on implementing sustainability actions.

The team walked away with lippu.fi gift cards, merch, and a promise of a grant of up to 5000€, should they start implementing their solution in real life.

“The winning team effectively demonstrated the potential for creating a movement among the student body by fostering real-life connections and supporting the development of new ideas, complementing our sustainability goals with scalability and year-round applicability in higher education contexts,” the mentors from Sustainability Action Booster say, praising the team’s solution.

Crack the food-loss code! by Natural Resource Institute Finland (Luke)

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a research organisation that builds sustainable future and well-being from renewable natural resources. Wanting to improve the living conditions in developing countries, Luke asked the participants to create a business model that revolutionizes food loss, from harvest to market, in South Asia. The winning team, Krishi Krate, developed a solution that cuts down on food loss by providing cost-effective cool transport while promoting transparency in the food supply chain. By providing an open online marketplace, the solution ensures fairer prices for farmers and gives them the opportunity to keep a record of their finances.

Krishi Krate impressed not only the Luke mentor panel but also the other participants; through peer review, the team secured the top spot and won Solve the SDGs 2024.

For their great work, each of the team members received Luke merchandise, such as a thermal backpack. In addition, the team walked away 5000€ richer by winning the main prize.

“The winning solution considered social, economic, and environmental aspects while remaining practical, accessible to all stakeholders and feasible for implementation,” the Luke team says about the winners.

DEI, Experienced by S Group

S Group is a customer-owned Finnish network of companies in the retail and service sectors, with approximately 2,000 outlets in Finland. In order to further improve their organization as a workplace, S Group tasked the participants with creating solutions for S Group’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) experience based on reality, not fiction. The winning team, DEI Challenge Game, created an interactive game in which the player learns to understand people’s feelings and behavior in 8 weeks to make DEI practices a habit and bring joy — while the company gets valuable insights into the DEI skills of its employees.

Each team member was rewarded with 150€ gift cards they can use in the many businesses owned by S Group.

“The winning team stood out by their simple yet clever idea: by creating a game around the DEI- topic, S Group could potentially engage a large number of employees with practical everyday solutions,” the representatives of S Group say, seeing the potential of the solution.

Climate Solutions for Resilient Cities by Sweco

Sweco is Europe’s leading engineering and architecture consultancy, with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. Knowing that preparation is key, Sweco tasked the participants with creating a community-driven digital tool to analyze extreme weather risks and bolster urban resilience against climate change. The winning team, The Metamorphosis, aims to enhance the resilience of social infrastructure by increasing the engagement of vulnerable groups and enabling collaboration between citizens, SWECO, stakeholders, municipalities and planners by using feedback collected by an accessible AI-enhanced app.

In addition to winning some sustainable Sweco merch, the Metamorphosis team is invited to a lunch with Sweco’s Sustainability Director, where they can discuss the future potential of their solution.

“The solution has the potential to take community involvement to the next level in a refreshing and innovative way while balancing all the goals of our challenge. It included elements of not only reporting and alerting but also encouraging stakeholders to be active players in other ways,” the Sweco judges say about Metamorphosis.

New Era of Travel Industry by Visit Finland

Visit Finland, a part of Business Finland, aims to develop the travel industry in Finland and make it more attractive internationally, with a heavy focus on sustainable tourism. Wishing to improve the sustainable tourism industry, Visit Finland asked the participants to explore new possibilities to increase its attractiveness both for employees and visitors. The winning team, DiversityWork Connect, conceptualized a web platform aiming to connect businesses and employees across the industry and country to create career opportunities and a long-term home and community for anybody who doesn’t feel like they belong yet.

For their efforts, each team member was rewarded with €150 hotel or restaurant gift cards so that they could experience the travel industry firsthand.

“The winning idea of ​​involving employees in Visit Finland’s services has potential and is well presented. However, practical promotion would require a more detailed assessment of Visit Finland’s goals and longer-term resources,” the panel of Visit Finland says, assessing the solution.

We want to thank our amazing partners and participants for making Solve the SDGs 2024 possible, and we hope to see you there next year!