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HUL, FCDO, EY & Social Alpha launch ‘TRANSFORM Plastics Challenge’


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Five Indian start-ups will receive up to Rs.1.6 crore each through grant funding and equity investments, along with mentorship and support for scaling their business.

A photo of TRANSFORM Plastics challenge applying campaign

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has announced the ‘TRANSFORM Plastics Challenge’- a programme to accelerate Indian start-ups. TRANSFORM is a joint initiative between Unilever, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and EY. This challenge, in collaboration with Social Alpha, will help tech start-ups from India working in the areas of plastic waste management and circularity.

Over the past few years, India has seen the emergence of a thriving start-up community with several organisations working to find social and environmental solutions. The TRANSFORM Plastics Challenge will identify start-ups working on developing technology solutions for processing plastic waste, economically viable reuse, or refill models, as well as material or substrate level innovations that make packaging recyclable or compostable.

The Challenge invites start-ups who are already building innovative and scalable solutions to apply and ensure that plastic waste does not end up in landfills and oceans but stays in the circular economy.

Deepak Subramanian, Executive Director, Home Care, HUL & General Manager, Home Care South Asia says, “True to the spirit of TRANSFORM, we intend to help accelerate Indian start-ups in building and scaling solutions that have the potential to be adopted at a global scale. We are excited to work with Social Alpha to help empower the next generation of start-ups that will pave the path to a waste-free world.”

Smita Rakesh, Vice President & Partner, Social Alpha says, “Entrepreneurship powered by innovation has a huge potential to address the problem of plastic waste and create impact through new material innovations, material recycling, complete packaging redesigns, and perhaps a more fundamental rethinking of delivery to the end customer. We are excited to work with TRANSFORM, given their experience in supporting social enterprises. With this collaboration, we are looking for disruptive innovations that will contribute to reducing the amount of plastic in the value chain and introducing circular models to packaging.”

The Unilever Compass, which drives the company’s sustainable business growth vision worldwide, lays down specific targets for building a waste-free world. HUL is committed to collecting and processing more plastic than it sells, and using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging, by 2025. In 2021, HUL achieved its collect and process goal, four years ahead of schedule.

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