Students from The Netherlands and New Zealand have bagged top honours from the international Climathon competition for developing a new e-commerce platform that will connect, combine and facilitate the transactions of local businesses so that their carbon emissions are ultimately reduced.

Beating teams from across the world, the students aim to provide a transportation plan directly for small to medium enterprises, or SMEs, focused on selling environment-friendly products, services or technologies. This e-commerce business plan will allow SMEs to make sustainable purchasing choices and reduce their transport demands through a collaborative purchase.

“As well as promoting the market itself, the platform will benefit urban transport logistics by aggregating the deliveries of multiple companies, thereby reducing CO2 emissions,” said team member Isa Miralles, from Wageningen University.

The majority of businesses in New Zealand are believed to be SMEs, which can collectively deliver a huge impact on the environment, according to Wageningen University's Kim van Sparrentak. Allowing these businesses to work together through the e-commerce platform would reduce their potential impact by providing more sustainable business choices, she added.

The Climathon competition was organised by the Climate-KIC, the largest climate change-focused public-private innovation partnership in Europe, with participating teams from 20 cities across the world. The competition aims to find practical solutions to fight global climate change.

Miralles and van Sparrentak worked with Victoria University of Wellington student Kang Lin, who said that the e-commerce plan would lead to an estimated reduction of 8.1 tonnes of emissions every year in Wellington by the second year of its operation.

The team will be at Paris in December to present their business plan and join a three-day workshop at the UN climate action conference.

Contact the writer at or tell us what you think below