Reinventing laundry to be less water-dependent

October 2015: We have selected the winners of our first three Foundry IDEAS challenges around healthier meals, better sanitation and improved showers. Now you can help us reinvent laundry so it’s not as water-dependent as it is today.

Washing Line

What is Foundry IDEAS?

It’s an online platform that allows us to harness the knowledge, skills and imagination of people outside Unilever to co-create solutions to the big sustainability challenges that impact our business. People post ideas in response to a brand’s sustainability challenge. The crowd builds on and ranks the ideas before Unilever experts evaluate them and select the winners. We then take these winners and give them the opportunity to pitch their solutions to Unilever. From here we hope to partner with the innovators and work together to scale their Ideas.

Winners of the first three challenges

The first three challenges were from Knorr, Domestos and Unilever. Knorr wants to inspire Nigerian families to cook more nutritious meals because the majority don’t consume enough iron-rich foods. Domestos is after innovations to help people get improved access to affordable, effective sanitation. And Unilever, as a business, is exploring new shower concepts that use less water, no water or lower-quality water to deliver a sustainable and enjoyable experience.

New laundry challenge now open

Laundry accounts for 19% of domestic water consumption, using up to 150 litres for every wash. With an estimated 4 billion people going short of water by 2025, in some parts of the world washing clothes through a full laundry cycle is a luxury. What’s more, in certain countries, up to 60% of loads are not even considered dirty, yet people still choose to wash them. 

We want your help to reinvent laundry so it’s not as dependent on water as it is today, and unlock opportunities for more innovative, convenient and resource-optimised ways of washing or keeping clothes clean, fresh and feeling good to wear. Ideas can be for new products, devices, services, communication tools or experiences. 

You never know, your idea could help improve the lives of millions of people around the world. How’s that for a challenge? 

Find out more about the laundry challenge and how the process works..

Please note, Unilever employees are not eligible to post Ideas on the platform.

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