Recent history has shown that some of the most innovative and successful ideas have come from the stables of startups. Scores of startups offer diverse solutions to critical and rigid environmental sustainability problems. They transform plastic into biodegradable consumer goods, provide low-cost, safe and drinkable water, and help reduce food waste.
KisanHub's CEO and Co-founder, Giles Barker, is committed to reducing food waste in the supply chain. The CEO and founder of Freightfox, Nitish Rai, is leveraging tech and data to enable efficient, cost-effective and future-ready logistic operations. Shifrah Jacobs, Chief Impact Officer, Plastic for Change, is working to reduce plastic pollution. Nuha Siddiqui, CEO and founder of Erthos, is working to revolutionize packaging from plastics to clean and plant-based packaging.
They are all supported by the 100+ Accelerator incubator programme, which invests in Seed to Series B stage companies. The 100+ Accelerator programme delivers six months of remote programming and training to accelerate the collaboration and growth of cohort companies and a pilot/alliance with partner companies. Investees receive support from a global team champion, access to mentor networks and up to $100K towards pilot execution, according to the 100+ Accelerator communication.
Set up by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the 100+ Accelerator programme is supported by Coca-Cola, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive. The 100+ Accelerator is also partnering with Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), an environmental advocacy group, to create awareness about its work.
AREAS OF INTERVENTION
Interesting insights into sustainability initiatives by startups focusing on the Asia-Pacific region like Erthos, KisanHub, FreightFox and Plastic for Change were shared at a recent webinar, 'Accelerating climate innovation to create resilient consumer goods companies'.
Aswin Kak, Procurement and Sustainability Head, India and South Asia from AB InBev underlined agriculture, water and climate action as their key focus areas. "In agriculture, risk mitigation and externalities are major areas of intervention that will also benefit in achieving the goal of emission reduction."
Kak gave the example of battery technology, directly yielding electricity savings and emission reduction. At the same time, it is aiding the consumer by giving them options in responsible buying.
Shashank Singh, APAC Sustainability Manager, Asia-Pacific region from Colgate-Palmolive, noted that soluble and biodegradable packaging and responsible execution on the ground are
their priority areas. He also revealed that the company plans to make Colgate toothpaste tubes recyclable by 2025.
Ashok Athawase, Director, TI&SC – Sustainability, Coca-Cola, identified water as their core sustainability concern. He emphasized the concept of reducing, reusing and recycling – the 3Rs and community-based initiatives for promoting inclusive growth.
GIVING WINGS TO INNOVATORS
Hisham Mundol, Chief Advisor – India, EDF, explained the role of the 100+ Accelerator programme to Outlook Business. He elaborated the is to give wings to every startup by helping shape climate innovative ideas with the support of subject matter experts and adequate funds, harnessing a single platform to bridge the gap, and empowering and creating the right atmosphere for climate-resilient consumer goods companies.
In the Indian scenario, Mundol identified "agriculture value chain, plastic recycling, energy and logistics" as the most challenging roadblocks to overcome. Identifying innovations in supply chain logistics and climate technology as crucial to business opportunities in India, he said, "In India, logistics cost accounts for 14% (of GDP) and bringing a 1% reduction means increased income and reduced emissions".
Mundol added that there were few other sensitive aspects to bear in mind while accelerating the growth of the Indian economy. These include the transition to a circular economy, climate-smart agriculture, water security, biodiversity, climate action as well as inclusive growth are a few other sensitive aspects while.
Now that a strong start has been made, this should pave the way for the road ahead.