Unilever Foundry challenges start-ups on kids' nutrition, hygiene and water-saving

Unilever: working with start-ups on sustainability issues
Unilever: working with start-ups on sustainability issues

Hand-washing, home-cleaning and water-saving solutions are among the six briefs unveiled by Unilever in an open challenge to start-ups to solve sustainability issues.

Entrants will be challenged to offer solutions which help children to be more active, optimise laundry washes to reduce energy use and which provide better hand-washing facilities in low-income areas.

They will also be asked to solve problems for women in developing countries, such as creating peer-to-peer networks for cleaning homes, and solutions which save water and time washing the dishes.

There is also a challenge to help Knorr tell its story, from "farm to fork".

The FMCG giant is inviting pitches, via its start-up initiative The Foundry, 

Karen Hamilton, vice president of sustainable business at Unilever, said: "We are excited to be launching these challenging new briefs which are deliberately broad in scope so as not to stifle creativity. We want to hear from those who believe they can partner with us at scale and by offering winners access to internal expertise as well as financial support and we hope this is a catalyst that will help us uncover ideas to help make sustainable living commonplace."

The six briefs, in full, are:

Laundry - greener wash

We believe that innovative digital solutions can help people get the best possible performance and efficiency from their laundry machine wash, whilst decreasing Green House Gas emissions. 

What are we looking for?

We are looking to partner with companies who can provide a digital solution that uniquely optimizes each wash. This may include sensors and/or automatic dosage tools that customizes the wash based on the load and water quality. 

Sunlight - every drop counts

Sunlight is the market leader in hand dishwashing detergent. Particularly in developing and emerging markets, women spend millions of hours every year washing their dishes and collecting water to wash their dishes. 

What are we looking for?

Sunlight is committed to unlock women’s time through initiatives that save time, water and effort in dishwashing. We are looking to partner with innovative technology companies who can help us address the water issues (access and scarcity) our consumers are facing. 

Home cleaning made easy

We’re always looking reduce the burden of home cleaning for busy mums whilst creating a financial opportunity for others who would like to earn more money. 

What are we looking for?

We are looking to partner with innovative technology companies who specialize in digitally based peer-to-peer service offerings – particularly in feature phone based markets such as Brazil. Ideally, you will have delivered successful market tests and be ready to scale. 

Let kids be kids

Paddle Pop brand purpose is to ‘Let Kids be Kids’. We want to go beyond providing nutritionally responsible products to play a greater role in encouraging children to be more physically active in a fun and adventurous way. 

What are we looking for?

We are looking to partner with companies who can provide the technology & innovative digital solutions that engage and inspire kids to be more active and to have imaginative play thanks to our brand. 

Sustainability - project hand wash

The simple procedure of hand washing can eliminate 5000 diarrhoea-related deaths every day. We believe that technology can be an enabler to remind people to regularly wash their hands at public facilities in densely populated urban environments. 

What are we looking for?

We are looking to partner with companies who can provide simple yet game changing digital technology solutions in this space. The ideal solution will be suitable for public restrooms in low-income areas and be low in cost. 

Knorr: from farm to fork

Knorr has been working with farmers to source 100% of agricultural materials sustainably because we are passionate about flavour and believe it makes a big difference to the taste of our products, the future of our planet, and the wellbeing of thousands of farmers. 

What are we looking for?

We are looking for partners that can help us to deliver immersive storytelling around our sustainable farming practices that inspire people, bridging the gap between farm and fork. We are looking for solutions that can more effectively engage shoppers and cooks by integrating these stories into their everyday planning, cooking and shopping behaviours. 

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