The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) award-winning innovation program, Panda Labs, alongside ConsenSys have launched Impactio, a platform which enables funding for projects at scale that help solve the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. Impactio was unveiled by Kavita Prakash-Mani, WWF Global Conservation Director, and Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-creator of Ethereum, at the Concordia Summit during the week of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
Kavita Prakash-Mani explains, “We face a $2.5 (AUD3.68) trillion funding gap to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by 2030. We know that this isn’t necessarily due to a lack of capital or a lack of solutions. What is lacking is a robust mechanism for linking these private dollars to viable, large scale, SDG-advancing projects. Impactio is designed to address this gap, bringing together social and environmental impact projects, NGOs, subject matter experts, and funders.”
Impactio is the first blockchain enabled collaborative governance platform specifically designed to curate and fund social and environmental impact projects at scale. Impactio was inspired by ConsenSys’ research on token-curated registries and WWF’s 60 years of experience in developing global environmental solutions, and built on Enterprise Ethereum leveraging Kaleido’s blockchain business cloud.
The Impactio pilot ran for seven weeks, from July 1st to August 21nd, and attracted over 100 participants. Participants reviewed 34 projects that could support the advancement of the UN SDGs. Projects ranged from social enterprise startups in need of seed funding, to already established NGO conservation projects seeking to scale up.
The platform’s innovative distributed peer-review and curation mechanism uses tokens to incentivise collaboration and decision making. This is orchestrated through a set of smart contracts while all the activities on the platform are recorded on the blockchain ledger, resulting in a highly transparent, automated, and tamper-resistant curation process. The platform also includes a feature which allows these tokens to be donated by curators to successful projects as seed funds.
In this way, Impactio enables hundreds of subject-matter experts to efficiently curate projects by collaborating with project leaders to improve the quality of their projects, before endorsing and challenging them with their allocated tokens. With additional transparency, donors and funders have more confidence to support curated projects that experts have deemed to be of highest impact. This consensus advances project-funding and frees up valuable resources and time for project leaders to focus on implementation.
The theme of the first Impactio pilot was “Future Cities.” This theme built on WWF Panda Labs’ 2017 hackathon and 2018 event series, where hundreds of influential business leaders, passionate change-makers and subject matter experts engaged to create new innovative experiments exploring the impact of climate change, energy, waste management, food accessibility, mobility, and communities in urban areas around the globe.
The curated projects are now made available for donations and funding opportunities from individual donors and philanthropic organizations.
Australian Ethical, an ethical wealth management and superannuation fund, donated AUD30,000 from its charitable foundation to finance the pilot curation process. The fund, which has been helping people invest for a better future for over 30 years, highlighted the platform’s potential to deliver efficient and effective impact solutions for people, animals, and the planet.
“Australian Ethical is committed to funding innovative solutions that help improve the broader impact ecosystem. We believe Impactio has huge potential to leverage the knowledge of experts, funders and impact entrepreneurs around the world to funnel capital to leading impact initiatives. The Impactio pilot has been really promising and presents an exciting development for the sector,” comments Nick Chadwick, Foundation Officer, Australian Ethical.
The collaboration between project owners, experts and funders during the pilot presented insights into the creation of a self-sustaining ecosystem and its potential to scale.
Dermot O’Gorman, WWF-Australia CEO, comments, “For the past few years WWF Panda Labs has accelerated our global investment into innovation that helps to realise the potential of emerging technologies to scale social impact. At a time when mega-trends are disrupting all sectors, the two year collaboration with ConsenSys took the privileged assets from both global organisations and tested and validated a powerful new solution that seeks to re-write the rules for impact finance.”
Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-creator of Ethereum adds, “Enterprise Ethereum adoption continues to rise — importantly among commercial and non-profit sectors. More direct, transparent, and trustworthy funding models are made possible through a more decentralized IT infrastructure. The first Impactio pilot provided promising validation of the global community’s resolve in surfacing unique solutions which support UN sustainability goals, and most importantly, our people and planet.”
WWF Panda Labs and ConsenSys aim to run more SDG-aligned campaigns and invite social impact practitioners, experts, donors, and impact investors to bring more projects to life.