EUSBSR Flaghip project NutriTrade mixes activities to implement practical measures and to develop longer-term solutions to combat eutrophication. In particular, its digital crowdfunding platform Nutribute may prove to multiply the impact of the flagship over the time. Nutribute facilitates encountering of Baltic Sea savers and can be used as a fundraising tool for concrete measures to reduce eutrophication. In other words, Nutribute harnesses digital technology to contribute towards cleaning the Baltic Sea and thus contributes to the EUSBSR ‘Save the Sea’ objective.
Eutrophication is one of the main environmental challenges affecting the state of the Baltic Sea. It arises from excessive inputs of nutrients, especially phosphorus and nitrogen, from anthropogenic activities.
In practice, Nutribute (soon available at www.nutribute.org) is an online site where organisations and individuals can present their activities and suggest measures for voluntary financiers. There is only one prerequisite – the measures need to result in tangible reductions in nutrient loading or achieve measurable removal of nutrients from the sea. Anyone can then have a look at the available measures and make donations to the activities they find worth supporting. In crowdfunding, the idea is to raise funds from a large group of people, so even small contributions can make a change.
By complementing existing financial mechanisms with Nutribute, project NutriTrade hopes to boost activities that benefit the Baltic Sea. The project also challenges consumers and organisations to neutralize their nutrient footprints by supporting a measure with a sum that delivers a corresponding reduction in nutrient loading.
This approach requires some knowledge on annual nutrient loading on a personal or organizational level. For consumers, the most important sources of pollution arise from food consumption and wastewaters (see also Baltic sea calculator), for organisations it is generally the phosphorus and nitrogen loads to water and air caused by their activities.
Crowdfunding works for many creative projects, community-oriented social ventures and personal projects. Nutribute will be a test if the concept could work in the Baltic Sea context. In an ideal situation, it would increase project activity, encourage duplicating successful measures and bring us closer to the HELCOM targets.
NutriTrade is financed by Interreg Central Baltic programme and is implemented by John Nurminen Foundation, University of Helsinki, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Anthesis Enveco. It is a flagship of EUSBSR PA Nutri, which aims at reducing nutrient inputs and to combat eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.
Written by Anna Saarentaus (NutriTrade Project Manager) & Sanni Turunen (Policy Area Nutri Coordinator)
The blog was previously published in the Spotlight blog series. Spotlight blog series introduces the concrete work done by the Policy Areas and Horizontal Actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.