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Barbadian company among 15 Commonwealth innovators awarded for work on sustainability

by Barbados Today
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SOURCE: CMC-  A Barbadian company is among 15 individuals and groups that have been recognised for making a significant impact on communities, countries and regions of the Commonwealth, by creating innovative solutions to pressing development challenges.

A statement from the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat said Red Diamond Compost Inc. is being recognised for the development of a soil treatment solution to improve organic solid waste management, food and nutrition security, and support climate adaptation and mitigation.

Made primarily from organic waste materials and invasive plant species, the solutions support fragile organisms responsible for building soil structure, storing organic soil carbon, cycling nutrients to plants, and protecting pollinating insects.

“We are truly honoured. Winning the Commonwealth Innovation Award is a major milestone and achievement for Red Diamond Compost at this point in our journey. We expect this calibre of recognition for our business and our movement to only propel us to even greater heights. We look forward to the new connections and new partners that we will meet through this outstanding opportunity,” said Joshua Forte, a sustainable environmental management practitioner, who is the founder and chief executive officer of Red Diamond Compost Inc.

Forte said that he would use the award to influence others and how would it impact their careers.

“Through our journey of seeing a need bigger than ourselves and being determined to go after it, despite the challenges and numerous setbacks along the way, giving up was never an option. We seek to live as an example and pass on what we have learned, especially to the youth in our communities. For us, partnerships are vital as we intend to use this opportunity to amplify the reach of our work and its impact,” Forte said.

The Secretariat said that this year’s winners of the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards each received a trophy, £3,000 (One GBP=US$1.34 cents) in prize money and the opportunity to scale up their innovations in collaboration with partners and mentors across the Commonwealth.

Winners range from an inventor in India who creates low-cost portable housing for coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine and shelter from extreme weather, to a Cameroonian manufacturer of 100 per cent biodegradable sanitary pads made of banana fibre, and a coalition of young Pacific Islanders pushing for reforms in international law to address climate injustices.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland applauded the diverse line-up of change-makers during a virtual meeting in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference COP26.

“Over many decades, the people of the Commonwealth member nations, through the Commonwealth networks which connect us and encourage us to work together, have found pioneering ways of overcoming daunting challenges and of solving seemingly intractable problems.

“My intention of instituting the Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards in 2019 was to accord recognition to such achievements, wherever and however in the Commonwealth they are being achieved – and particularly among that 60% of the 2.5 billion people in our member nations who are under the age of 30,” she said.

The Secretary General said she hopes “the added exposure the awards bring will help you to attract the support you deserve from governments, investors, mentors and partners to scale up your work and achieve even more impact.”

The Secretariat said that the winning innovations fell into five thematic categories reflecting the pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals and the selection was done by an independent jury.

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