On February 10, the first webinar Nature-based solutions for water management: a private sector perspective took place, an event that Bioazul organized as leader of the “SbN Community for water management” within the Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform.
This webinar is one of the online events that the leaders of the different communities of this platform are organizing. The Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform on Naature-Based Solutions was launched last October 2020 under the framework of the Connecting Nature project with the aim of connecting cities and governments with innovative companies that develop new sustainable solutions.
This first online workshop had around 80 participants from 16 different countries. Among the organisations represented, universities & research centres (32%) together with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (23%) accounted for the majority. On the other hand, 11% of the participants represented city authorities and up to 14% were NGOs.
The first part of the event began with a presentation on the SbN platform that was given by Gerardo González and Antonia Lorenzo (Bioazul), who offered detailed information on all the work carried out in the Connecting Nature project and the benefits of joining as well to this platform.
This was followed by a presentation by Fabio Masi, technical director of IRIDRA, an Italian engineering firm specialised in sustainable water management, has been shifting over the last years from conventional schemes with end-of-pipe solutions to a Circular Economy and Ecosystem Service-based scheme, undertaking numerous R&D activities to experiment with new applications of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) to be transferred to the market. This is bringing a lot of growth opportunities to the company, that has designed over 500 treatment wetlands and has delivered 120 scientific publications in the last 20 years. This presentation aroused great interest since many questions arose from the participants, such as knowing what the main barriers had been that he had encountered to implement these solutions or how they evaluated their effectiveness.
The second part of this workshop consisted of a dynamic session where, through the Mentímeter application, different questions were sent to the attendees and thus comment live what the impressions were being.
When asked about the challenges to the growth of suppliers in the sector, half of the NBEs agreed there is a lack of networking and cooperation opportunities with other organisations in the sector. The lack of evidence and effectiveness of their products and services and the little knowledge on market opportunities and business cases were also identified as obstacles, followed by a lack of funding and financial support (to carry out R&D activities, for instance). Interestingly, meeting regulations and legal standards with their products and services or measuring the impact of such solutions were not perceived as a challenge.
Key actions were identified to increase the market uptake of NBS for water management. The potential buyers clearly identified a necessity for sharing detailed designs and technical solutions available in the market. On the other hand, the suppliers pointed out three main measures to be adopted: first, legislation should be a driver for the market uptake of NBS, and therefore an increase in policy support is needed. Second, showcasing and sharing evidence of success stories, including cost-benefit analysis, designs, photos, etc. would significantly contribute to a wider implementation of NBS. And third, there should be an emphasis on training and transfer of know-how among practitioners, but also awareness-raising and dissemination of solutions to public administrations, policymakers, water utilities, the general public, etc.
Most of the participants would like the Community to organise webinars with external experts while giving voice to our community members. The idea of preparing a shared publication or catalogue with the products and services offered by the NBEs registered also gained a lot of support from the respondents.
Do not forget to register on the Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform, whether you are a company, public entity, NGO or individually: