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Waves of Change 2024: Bridging Sustainability, Innovation, and Coastal Challenges


Waves of Change 2024: A Platform for Coastal Sustainability

Initiated in 2018, Waves of Change provides a space for like-minded organizations to address sustainability in coastal cities. Originally sparked by the lack of focus on sustainability in events, the forum brings together diverse disciplines for impactful change.

Key Themes at the Waves of Change Forum 2024

At the Waves of Change Forum 2024, key topics will focus on addressing pressing challenges facing coastal cities. This year’s themes align with the Tideline Startup Challenge and include categories such as Water Management, Waste Management and Circularity, Sustainable Mobility, Energy Transition, Sustainable Tourism and Local Communities, Biodiversity and Public Health, and Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise. In addition to the challenge, the forum will align with the upcoming UN Ocean Conference, often referred to as a “COP for the Ocean.” The event will also delve into the topic of sustainable finance, with contributions from the forum’s involvement in the Blue Economy (sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem) and Finance Forum steering committee meetings.

Exciting Speakers and Co-Hosts

With the French Ministry of the Ecological Transition’s Ecolab and the City of Biarritz as co-hosts, the forum aims to unite diverse perspectives from scientists, startups, investors, NGOs, and governments for ecosystemic impact.

A Unique Experience: Facilitating Collaboration and Sustainability

The forum is more like a team-building event for impact-driven organizations. Attendees describe it as a platform where human connections lead to action, differentiating it from typical conferences. The event is designed to facilitate networking and collaboration among attendees, with the event structured specifically to foster connections and productivity. Attendees can expect a unique experience, where interactive sessions, workshops, and panels are curated to encourage participants to choose their own adventure, much like surfers picking waves. The forum offers themed tracks, allowing individuals to craft their own schedules based on personal interests and opportunities.

Sustainability is woven into the very fabric of the forum’s operations and ethos. The organization is committed to Sustainable Development Goal 17, focusing on partnerships for the goals. The forum’s logistics prioritize reusability, borrowing, and repurposing over buying or building. Sustainability is not just a theme but a daily practice, integrated into every aspect of the event, from breakfast to dinner.

Innovative Solutions and Success Stories

The Waves of Change 2024 Forum will present numerous case studies and projects. These highlight successful strategies in ecological transition and community resilience. Noteworthy examples include the collaborative work by Tomorrow’s Foundation with Ksapa in India and Africa, the Movin’On Communities of Interest on sustainable mobility, and the Ocean Risk Resilience Coalition. The forum will also highlight the Blue Finance Coalition, the 1000 Ocean Startups investment framework, and the Blue Food Playbook project by 2050. Additionally, it will celebrate 20 years of incredible work saving French Polynesian turtles by Te Mana o Te Moana. The forum will also discuss the displacement of the town of Miquelon to address sea level rise threats.

The forum will also showcase innovative tools and technologies that have the potential to transform sustainability and social change. While many of these solutions will emerge from original collaborative proofs of concept or task forces created during the event, the focus will be on blending innovation with preservation, integrating both high and low-tech solutions to address global challenges.

Addressing Coastal Challenges with the Tideline Startup Challenge

The Tideline Startup Challenge is a key feature of the Waves of Change 2024 Forum. It focuses on addressing pressing challenges faced by coastal cities. The challenge invites micro-consortiums of at least two startups and one city. Together, they craft original solutions, resulting in Proofs of Concepts that are low cost, investment-ready, and scalable. This initiative reflects the broader spirit of the forum. Collaboration and partnerships are key to addressing common challenges in tangible ways.

While the applications for the Tideline Startup Challenge are now closed, the finalists are currently being selected. The most promising solutions will be evaluated during the forum, with plans for funding and deployment.

What’s Next for Waves of Change

With the upcoming edition of Waves of Change just around the corner, the forum’s immediate focus is on the event’s successful execution. After the forum, attention will shift to implementing the solutions and initiatives generated. The forum will also continue work on the Basque Coast preservation project and the Waves Talent Program, which aids corporations in transition.

Waves of Change will contribute to the Movin’On Connect Summit on sustainable mobility in November. The forum is also looking forward to a partnership with ChangeNOW Summit in 2025. The focus will be on sustainable coastal cities ahead of the UN Ocean Conference. Visitors to France in April 2025 will have the opportunity to attend both ChangeNow and Waves of Change within a week, with a weekend break in between for relaxation.

In early June 2025, a selection of Waves of Change partners, projects, and collaborations will feature in the UN Ocean Conference in Nice and the Blue Economy and Finance Forum in Monaco.

Check out the forum’s website for new speakers and program announcements 👉 here.

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