Four CPG giants to fund sustainable accelerator programme
Breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. That’s the premise behind the coming together of The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive in the funding and support of world-leading brewer AB InBev’s 100+ Accelerator program.
These four consumer packaged goods multinationals will leverage both their size and resources to fast-track a shift toward sustainable solutions by mobilising some of the world’s sharpest thinkers to solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
The aim of this collaboration is to “supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding the accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable”, says Tony Milkin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer at AB InBev.
“Sustainable business is smart business, and we are working to solve huge problems that no one company can handle alone. With our combined global reach, we can accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future.”
What is the 100+ Accelerator program?
Originally launched in 2018, 100+ Accelerator is a global incubator program that aims to solve key supply chain challenges across water stewardship, circular economy, sustainable agriculture and climate action.
It offers size and scale to passionate entrepreneurs to help bring their solutions to market faster, and the program’s first two cohorts have already piloted 36 innovations in 16 countries, with participating startups raising more than US$200m to help them scale globally.
Among the established innovators are those already creating huge impact on sustainability, with projects including the first solar thermal plant in Africa, recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity in China, and upcycling saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the US.
- The implementation of green cleaning solutions to reduce water and energy use in brewing operations in Colombia
- Solutions delivering traceability and insurance for smallholder farmers in Africa and South America
- The collection of more than 1,000 tons of glass waste in Brazil
- Piloting returnable packaging in the United States
- Recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity in China
- The ability to upcycle saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the United States
- The first solar thermal system to be installed at an AB InBev plant
How will the new program work?
So, how does it work? Applications are invited from entrepreneurs or small businesses (deadline for cohort 3 is May 31 2021) and the partners will choose 20-25 ideas which are then provided with funding.
Project aligned with goals of the CPG multinationals
The participation by all three consumer packaged goods giants is in line with each of their own sustainability goals, with each passionate about transforming global supply chains towards a greener future, and knowledgeable that “we can achieve our purpose faster and more effectively with equally committed partners”, says Patricia Verduin, CTO of Colgate.
Since launching its World Without Waste sustainable packaging platform, Coca-Cola has actively engaged the startup community for inspiration and innovation and is an inaugural investor in Circulate Capital, a fund launched in 2019 focused on ventures, infrastructure and innovations preventing the flow of plastic into oceans.
The program’s social inequality component is also aligned with Unilever’s values. “This year, we made commitments to ensure that everyone who directly provides us with goods and services receives a living wage by 2030,” says Marc Engel, chief supply chain officer of Unilever. But that’s not all. “We’re increasing our spend with suppliers from underrepresented groups and committed to train 10 million young people.”
Orange leads solar panel deployment in Middle East, Africa
Orange has become the first company by number of solar panels in five countries across the Middle East and Africa, following the telco’s recent acceleration of its solar projects.
Such acceleration comes in light of Orange Group's worldwide commitment to reducing its carbon footprint to zero by 2040 along with its commitment to the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the Group’s main growth region with Orange MEA currently present in 18 countries and having achieved €5.8 billion in turnover in 2020.
Upping renewable energy usage in MEA
Across the region, many Orange sites are not connected to the electricity grid and even when they are, the quality often requires alternative backup solutions. To avoid using generators that run on fuel, emitting CO2 as a consequence, Orange has put in place, and continues to put in place, a variety of initiatives such as solar panels.
In fact, the telco has now installed solar panels at 5,400 of its telecom sites, saving 55m litres of fuel each year, and can now claim a renewable energy use rate at over 50% for Orange Guinea, 41% for Orange Madagascar and 40% for Orange Sierra Leone, with solar panel solutions currently being deployed in Liberia, where 75% of Orange’s telecom sites are equipped with solar panels.
So far, so Orange. But that’s not all. In Jordan, Orange has unveiled three solar farms to switch to clean and renewable energy helping to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2020, these solar farm projects covered more than 65% of Orange Jordan’s energy needs. Since 2018, the company has successfully reduced its CO2 emissions by 45 kilotons thanks to this solar infrastructure.
“We are proud to be the first company by number of solar panels in 5 countries in Africa and the Middle East,” says Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.
Orange’s global green plans
As a stakeholder in the energy transition, Orange Group has included in its Engage 2025 strategic plan (unveiled in 2019 and guided by social and environment accountability) the objective of meeting 50% of the Group’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025 with the aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2040.
Earlier this year in February, Orange Group teamed up with ENGIE, the leading developer of solar and wind power in France, to deliver a global renewable energy supply solution in the country, including the development of two new solar farms in the Hautes Alpes region set to be operational by January 1, 2023.
According to Fabienne Dulac, Orange’s EVP and CEO of Orange France, “reducing our environmental footprint is major part of Orange’s strategy” and by 2025, the Group “plans to reduce 30% of its direct CO2 emissions compared to 2015 and reach an electricity mix made up of 50% renewable energy”.