Jessica Alba Urges Grassroots Ideas for Climate Change Solutions

The Honest Co. founder says the ‘for Tomorrow’ initiative allows the global community to work together to solve the climate crisis with creative ideas.

Jessica Alba

Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women

In an effort to invite creative solutions to fighting the climate crisis, actor Jessica Alba is calling on the global community to participate in the “for Tomorrow” initiative. Created last fall through a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Hyundai Motor, the global campaign is intended to help accelerate progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

"It is inspiring to witness the United Nations and Hyundai come together to collaborate on an initiative like this. We have all spent the better part of the year facing challenges we never thought we would, and through that it's become clear that working together is our only way forward to create a better, more sustainable and more humane world for today and tomorrow," said Alba in a release.

An incubator for innovative solutions

The concept behind for Tomorrow is similar in some ways to the Kickstarter platform but without the option to directly invest in a particular idea. These potential game-changers will then be fast-tracked into the United Nations Development Programme’s network of 91 Accelerator Labs around the world. 

"UNDP is committed to supporting the incredible power of local innovators to change the world for the better – for not only today, but also for tomorrow and into the future," UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said in a release. "With the launch of this platform in partnership with Hyundai, we want to explore new ways of connecting these pioneering minds together - and help them unleash their full potential to build a greener, more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable future." 

As for the ideas being submitted, the solutions range from edible cutlery (using flour made of rice, plantain, wheat, and corn) to smokeless bio-briquettes from domestic waste, plastic furniture (made from upcycled plastic waste, sawdust, and sand), and even a board game that educates players on mindful sustainability practices.  

And then there are the truly groundbreaking ones—such as barriers that remove mixed plastic from rivers (without impeding boat traffic) or the wild initiative to replenish Arctic ice using machines fed by renewable energy. 

“In order to prove the concept, it is estimated that a three-month period of operation will be sufficient to demonstrate the benefit regarding the re-build of the ice sheet,” the organization Real Ice explains in their submission to for Tomorrow. “Each machine is estimated to lay down 3 years’ worth of reflective surface in 1 week before being moved to another site and three months’ operation will prove the ice-build capability.”

“Change comes from all of us.” 

For Alba, getting involved in an initiative like tomorrow is a natural extension of the green entrepreneurial turn she’s embraced outside of her Hollywood career. In 2011, she co-founded The Honest Company, with a goal initially of creating baby products without harmful ingredients. Over the years, it’s since expanded into offering everything from eco-friendly home goods to beauty products. An IPO offering in May valued the company at more than $1.44 billion. 

Speaking with Marie Claire, Alba said for Tomorrow empowers individuals to fast-track their ideas on the global stage. 

“I think we can all see that each of us can truly have an impact,” she said. “Whether by sharing our own local solutions or simply connecting and supporting inspiring solutions. Again, there is no solution too small to have a positive impact. Change comes from all of us, together. It needs you to come to life.”

Alba, who narrates many of the videos on the for Tomorrow site spotlighting the groundbreaking solutions offered, says she was most inspired by the creation of a green microloan system in Nepal for female entrepreneurs. 

“Safa Tempo electric buses, traditionally driven by women, help address the air pollution problem in Katmandu,” she said. “Getting bank loans is almost impossible for these female micro-entrepreneurs. Because of this, they often have to use inferior batteries that need to be replaced more often, this leads to higher long-term cost and more waste.”

The story in Nepal focuses on Sonika and her partner Tiffany who created a microloan system to help these women reinvest in their buses. They are empowering women to have control over their finances as well as tackle the air pollution problem and are working towards making the whole country more climate resilient.”

While submissions to for Tomorrow were originally slated to close in April on Earth Day, the deadline has been extended indefinitely.

To submit your own idea, jump here

Update/Correction: This item has been updated to reflect the extended deadline and the cancellation of the 2021 Spin-Off Assembly in New York City. An earlier version of this article implied the Tomorrow initiative is a competition. It is not a competition and the solutions are not ranked.