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Disruptive technologies solving global problems

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Entrepreneurs, academics, investors and non-profit groups will come together to explore global megatrends and find emerging tech solutions to help create more sustainable cities at a series of events hosted by WWF-Australia in Sydney.

The six-part Greenhouse event series is sponsored by the City of Sydney and will be held from September 2018 to March 2019.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the events were designed to push the boundaries and explore creative solutions to the urgent challenges faced by cities around the world as they move to a more sustainable approach.

"It's incredibly inspiring to see our brightest minds turning their attention to creating more sustainable cities," the Lord Mayor said.

"Even small changes to the way our cities work can have big impacts, thanks to the high concentration of people, services and activities in our urban areas - so it's a huge challenge and a great opportunity for the tech start-ups of the future to latch onto.

"I hope to see some of those start-ups of the future starting at these sessions in Sydney."

The series of talks, panel discussions and knowledge exchange sessions will include pitches from local start-ups who are applying new technologies to conservation, social equity and sustainable development.

At each of the monthly events, three start-ups will be invited to pitch their solutions aimed at solving complex environmental and sustainable development issues. They will compete for a $1,000 prize, and the winning teams from each event will have the opportunity to pitch in the grand finale in March 2019 for $10,000 in prizes.

Reece Proudfoot, WWF-Australia's Innovation Strategist, said this year's events would use emerging tech trends to build on the success of past Greenhouse events.

"Disruptive technologies can be channelled to solve some of the big, global problems facing humanity," Mr Proudfoot said.

"Business as usual is no longer an option. That's why WWF launched 'Panda Labs' in 2017 and is collaborating with business, academia and the community to explore and build the transformative solutions needed to protect our planet. We look forward to continuing this work in 2018.

"Thanks to last year's events, which culminated in a hackathon, we are now incubating a start-up that is using blockchain technology to enable households to be rewarded when they cut energy use. They are developing an app that tracks household energy consumption and rewards behaviour that contributes to conservation efforts. We can't wait to see what new ideas this year will bring."

There will be six Greenhouse sessions held from September to March 2019. The first event will be held at Stone and Chalk, 11 York Street, Sydney.

Future so Far: Should we turn decision-making over to robots? - Tuesday 18 September Future of Food: Will the family meal be insects and two vegetables in the future? -Tuesday 16 October Future of Waste: Will we have a world without rubbish in the future? - Tuesday 20 November Future of Power: Will our homes run themselves in the future? - Tuesday 22 January 2019 Future of Mobility: Will our children ever learn to drive? - Tuesday 19 February 2019 Future of us: Have we done enough to save the planet? - Tuesday 19 March 2019

Further information on the series can be found on the WWF website: wwf.org.au/knowledge-centre/panda-labs/the-greenhouse-sessions

Tickets for the first Greenhouse session are now available: eventbrite.com/e/future-so-far-49369731195.

Start-ups interested in applying for a place at the pitch event can register here: goo.gl/forms/AQCC5zjxNDYuSTsN2

For media enquiries or images, contact Belinda Wallis. Phone 0467 810 160 or email bwallis@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, please contact Anusha Muller. Phone 0408 494 545 or email amuller@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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