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How the crowd is helping meet our brands’ sustainability challenges


Through our new Foundry IDEAS platform, we are using the power of the crowd to help brands meet their sustainability challenges, all of which are aimed at improving the lives of millions globally.

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What is Foundry IDEAS?

Foundry IDEAS 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.

Here’s how it works. Someone posts an idea in response to a brand’s sustainability challenge. The crowd takes a look, possibly building on it but also ranking it against others. Unilever experts then evaluate the idea, and award prizes for the top crowd favourite and the Unilever favourite.

We will then take the winning ideas and either scale them up or find another business that’s better placed to do so.

As Karen Hamilton, VP, Sustainable Business, explains: “The big social, economic and environmental issues that the world faces are so huge that no one organisation or company can solve them alone. The goal is to discover ideas and innovation that can help to make sustainable living mainstream.”

Inspiring Nigerians to cook healthier meals

Knorr wants to inspire 20 million Nigerians to cook more nutritious meals because the majority don’t consume enough iron-rich foods and almost half of women of reproductive age are anaemic.

One top-rated idea is raising awareness of the issue among schoolchildren through drama, debates and competitions. Another is Knorr-igami, an origami booklet made of paper infused with vitamins and minerals. There’s also a build-your-own refrigerator that doesn’t need electricity.

Helping people access better sanitation

Domestos is on the lookout for ground-breaking innovations and interventions that could potentially help 100 million people have access to affordable and effective sanitation.

A leading idea is a waterless toilet that uses bags which, in the process of bio-degrading, create bio gas that can then be used to power houses or as cooking fuel. Another favourite at the moment is an advertising billboard that condenses moisture in the air to generate drinkable water.

Creating the shower of the future

We are also exploring the shower of the future: new designs, products or services that use less water, no water or lower quality water to deliver a sustainable showering experience.

One front runner so far is a hard water shower that requires less water to lather and wash out shower gel and shampoo. There’s a song and dance routine that teaches good lessons in hygiene. Also in the mix is a mini treatment system that cleans and reuses water while the shower is in use.

Join us to collaborate and contribute to making a brighter future

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