Toni Piëch, entrepreneur and founder of Piëch Automotive, has launched the new Toni Piëch Foundation (TPF). The Swiss-based charitable foundation will provide seed granting for research and civil society activities and seeks to help accelerate the transition to renewable energy, sustainable cities and clean construction. The foundation is already funding its first projects. The focus: climate, energy and the city of the future.
Climate change, the energy transition and an increasing urbanisation rank among the greatest challenges of our time – and they will be front and centre of the work of the newly launched Toni Piëch Foundation (TPF). Located in Switzerland but engaged internationally, the foundation’s mission is to shape and visualise the future of energy generation, mobility and regenerative cities and to speed up the transition towards renewable energy. Another area to work on is improving people’s livelihoods in cities. “With our programmes and projects and their focus on energy and the city of tomorrow, we aim to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable and liveable future and to increase the resilience of societies,” says founder Toni Piëch.
The foundation operates independently from the founder’s companies and his family. In its programme dedicated to the energy transition, the new foundation is already working on evolving an urban energy modelling tool in partnership with the ETH Zürich public research university. The goal: to better understand the immediate needs of cities to transform the energy sector based on climate targets and to enable city-wide energy planning supported by a software tool. This tool is intended to eventually encourage and enable cities to increase their energy efficiency and the proportion of renewable energy in their energy mix.
The foundation has an initial budget of CHF 5 million for the operation of the foundation and its grants. Its grant-making seeks to focus on projects offering concrete solutions. Technical, political or societal solutions that may be at an early stage of development but with the potential of making a high positive impact in the future. Solutions that need to be evolved, implemented and monitored. The TPF also aims to encourage its grantees to “pay particular attention to communication and storytelling” as a means to inspire and to ensure “a positive approach to big challenges”. Communication and storytelling will therefore be an integral part of the projects the foundation funds. “Helping to imagine and to visualise positive future developments is at the heart of any transformation. And it’s one of our key expectations from the projects we support,” says Piëch.
In 2022 the TPF focus is to promote clean construction – an important lever, as the climate footprint of the construction sector is among the biggest single sources of emissions in the world. The sector is on the threshold of a huge transformation, moving away from using cement and steel with heavy climate impacts towards using regenerative carbon-absorbing materials. The TPF seeks to contribute to fast-tracking this shift. Also on the agenda for this year: joining forces with other relevant platforms and gaining traction for the foundation’s focal activities with an emphasis on communication work.