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FMCG giants join global innovation fund to help startups solve eco issues

Three global FMCG giants are joining US brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)’s crowd-sourcing and innovation fund to help find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive have agreed to jointly contribute to AB InBev’s 100+ Accelerator global incubator program which is in encouraging startups and entrepreneurs to develop solutions in water stewardship, sustainable agriculture, circular packaging and renewable energy.

The program has already piloted 36 innovations in 16 countries – including Africa’s first solar thermal plant, recycled electric vehicle batteries in China, and a program to upcycle grains used during the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the US. So far the fund has invested US$200 million in selected initiatives.

“Sustainability is foundational to how we conduct business and shape our strategies,” said Brian Smith, president and COO at The Coca-Cola Company, announcing Coke’s participation. “We are committed to working with innovators to bring more sustainable solutions to market by leveraging our size and scale.”

Startups can submit applications at from now until May 31 with the three partners choosing 20 to 25 ideas. Coca-Cola will support three to five with up to $100,000 in funding for each. 

The program also provides support to startups by assigning dedicated teams to help develop and test out their new technologies in a large global supply chain during a six-month pilot period.

Tony Milikin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer at AB InBev said 100+ Accelerator wants to “supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding and accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable”. 

“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.”

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