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HRH Prince Charles took time out to meet leading social entrepreneurs at a Barclays Eagle Lab in London.

His Royal Highness visited the incubator in Notting Hill – one of a network of such hubs across the country – in his role as Patron of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

During his time at the Lab, which is housed in Barclays’ former cheque processing centre, he spoke to founders and staff from firms harnessing technology to tackle global sustainability challenges.

They included Yagro, a platform to help farmers achieve financial sustainability; Desolenator, a social enterprise behind solar powered water purification technology; and Budi Pay, a payment app for rural towns in India. Everledger, the developers of a ‘digital ledger’ that tracks and protects diamonds and other valuable assets to ensure ethical trade, said on Twitter: “Pleasure to talk trust, transparency, and the benefits of blockchain today with HRH the Prince of Wales…”

The Prince, who was accompanied by Barclays CEO Jes Staley, was also given demonstrations of 3D printing and laser cutting, technologies that can help businesses to rapidly prototype their ideas.

CISL’s Banking Environment Initiative is a collaboration between major banks – including Barclays – that aims to lead the industry in directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development. 

Following the Eagle Lab visit, and a subsequent CEO dinner chaired by the prince, the group announced the formation of a private sector taskforce which, over the next six months, will look at the best ways to tackle “some of the most complex environmental and social challenges the world faces today”.

The UK’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, welcomed the move, saying: “I am delighted to support the work of HRH The Prince of Wales, banking leaders of the Banking Environment Initiative and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in driving forward the combined potential of fintech and green finance. Britain’s continued ability to innovate means we will remain at the forefront of global efforts to use technology to help overcome society’s challenges.”

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