It’s expected that, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. The JUNITEC team, called Inovatecos, intends to contribute to the solution of this serious problem of our oceans, so they decided to participate in the Innovathon Ocean Edition 2019, a technology marathon organised by the Centre of Engineering and Product Development (CEiiA) and the UN Global Compact Network Portugal. The event took place on 7th and 8th June, in Cascais, and challenged about 120 young people to present their ideas to save the oceans. The JUNITEC team ranked 1st.
“Our app aims to encourage sustainable consumption instead of penalising non-sustainable actions and behaviours (taxing or banning products)”, explains Gil Coelho, JUNITEC team leader. “To that purpose, we suggest that the products have a sustainability rating”, he added. The virtual currency is called “oceans”. If you buy a product wrapped in paper you win “oceans” but if you choose one wrapped in plastic you don’t. Besides collecting “oceans”, the app allows users to track the positive impact of their purchases. “Users can convert their “oceans” into discounts or make a donation”, says Gil Coelho. “Our goal is to raise awareness and inform the consumer, as well as to highlight stores that sell eco-friendly products”, he points out.
The team members had no idea in their minds by the time they decided to participate in the Innovathon Ocean Edition 2019. The ideas came up after “about 5 hours of brainstorming”, recalls Gil Coelho. The JUNITEC team didn’t create the expectation of a victory and faced the marathon as an opportunity to learn more, rather than to compete. Now, after the team’s victory, the members feel “very happy and privileged”.
The three groups that presented the best solutions in this marathon will compete in Innovathon international competition, which will take place in Lisbon, next year. In the next 12 months, CEiiA and the young winners will work on the strategic implementation of their projects.
The ideas, the creativity and the strategy of JUNITEC “clearly shows our will to learn and to innovate, as well as our entrepreneurial spirit”, says Gil Coelho.