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PemPem prize winner at COP26 in Glasgow

Justine McIntyre

Nov 6, 2021

The Tropical Forest Alliance hosted by the World Economic Forum has named PemPem Top UpLink Innovator as winner of the Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge for its impact on reducing deforestation.

PemPem’s innovative data-driven approach to protecting forests has been recognized on the world stage by the Tropical Forest Alliance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26 currently underway in Glasgow. PemPem Founder and President Joann de Zegher is attending the UN Climate Change Conference at the invitation of the Tropical Forest Alliance, where she has been awarded the prestigious prize.

Joann de Zegher, Maurice F. Strong Career Development Professor and Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, founded PemPem in 2020, applying her experience in large-scale field work, optimization, econometrics & data analytics to tackle the joint challenges of forest preservation and economic development.

“I am thrilled to be attending the COP26 in Glasgow to receive this prize on behalf of PemPem,” declared Founder and Director Joann de Zegher. “Being named a Top UpLink Innovator in the Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge provides a powerful platform to demonstrate how PemPem’s technology can be scaled to contribute meaningfully to achieving the forestry protection target date of 2030 announced this week at the COP26, essential to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.”

The Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge looks to reward innovative and systemic approaches to shift global production and trade of agricultural commodities away from the clearing of land to already cleared lands while ensuring sustainable livelihoods. PemPem enables stakeholders in the informal economy to achieve this objective by providing a scalable approach to real-time traceability in opaque commodity supply chains like smallholder palm oil and rewarding those who protect forests.

“PemPem’s mobile app allows large buyers of palm oil and their customers, for the first time, to engage directly with thousands of previously-unknown smallholder producers in their supply chain,” explained Joann de Zegher, Founder and President of PemPem. “Our data provides valuable real-time insights into the origins of palm fruit, and our digital payment infrastructure makes it possible to reward producers for sustainable production practices.”

PemPem's potential to transform informal economies stems from its usability. Pempem's community-integrated field teams in Indonesia relay information on market practices and mobile app use and from local farmers in Indonesia to the development team in Montreal. PemPem works directly with palm fruit farmers to address their specific needs, empowering them to adopt sustainable practices.

About PemPem

PemPem builds mobile supply chain management software for micro-enterprises in fragmented commodity supply chains. Our mission is to support a transition out of the informal, cash-based economy into a digital, technology-based one, bringing greater efficiency to the value chain, traceability to the supply chain, and sustainability to the sector overall. Our mobile software is currently focused on smallholder palm oil supply chains in Indonesia, where market penetration is nearly 12,000 micro-enterprises.

PemPem is a member of IVADO and has benefited from collaborative research projects financed by PROMPT with the collaboration of researchers affiliated with HEC-Montréal. PemPem is also supported financially by Investissement Québec and by the Good Energies Foundation and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

About the Tropical Forest Alliance

The Tropical Forest Alliance, hosted by the World Economic Forum, is a multi-stakeholder partnership platform established to support companies through the ongoing global transition to deforestation-free supply chains for commodities including palm oil, soy, beef, and paper/pulp.

About UpLink

UpLink is a digital platform to crowdsource solutions for the world's most pressing issues, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its objective is to link up the best innovators to a growing network of experts, industry leaders and investors and decision-makers who can scale their venture and accelerate its impact.

About the award

The Tropical Forest Commodities Challenge calls for innovative and systemic approaches to shift global production and trade of agricultural commodities away from the clearing of land to already cleared lands while ensuring sustainable livelihoods. As the winner, PemPem will participate in a four-month cohort program of the Tropical Forest Alliance at the World Economic Forum.

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Contact person: Ms. Justine McIntyre


Phone (Canada) : 00-1-438-495-2884

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