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Startups and scaleups invited to partner on sustainable beauty solutions

The Unilever Foundry, Unilever’s collaborative innovation network, is today launching a new entrepreneurial challenge focused on sustainable beauty solutions, through the Positive Beauty Growth Platform.

A person holding a jar of cream

Unilever is searching for the very best startups, scaleups and academic spinouts to partner with our teams to bring brilliant functional ingredients that work with nature to our Beauty & Personal Care products and packaging.

The Positive Beauty Growth Platform was launched last year to support Unilever’s Positive Beauty vision – an industry-leading series of progressive commitments and actions for our Beauty & Personal Care brands, championing a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive, as well as sustainable for the planet. The Positive Beauty Growth Platform sets out to accelerate our science and technology programmes and innovation partnerships, delivering real and meaningful consumer benefits backed by cutting edge science.

Launching today, the Growth Platform’s second challenge aims to find the next generation of biodegradable and sustainable ingredients and packaging, looking for materials that deliver incredible benefits to our consumers, while supporting our vision to do more good for the planet, and help achieve our ambitious goals to protect and regenerate nature.

Innovative scaleups, startups and spinout companies will have the opportunity to present their unique biodegradable and sustainable cosmetic ingredients or packaging solutions to the Unilever Beauty & Personal Care leadership and expert practitioners. The leading ideas will be given the chance to explore partnership opportunities within Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care business, worth over €20 billion, and operating some of the world’s most loved brands including Dove, Axe, Rexona, TRESemmé, Vaseline and Love Beauty & Planet.

Last year almost 300 startups and scaleups from the fast-growing and ever-evolving world of social commerce applied to get involved in the Platform’s first challenge. A panel of Unilever’s leaders and experts shortlisted 33 candidates: seed-stage to billion-dollar businesses from Silicon Valley to Singapore. Many are now kicking off pilot projects with Unilever’s leading Beauty & Personal Care brands, helping to deliver business solutions and pioneer consumer experiences in new spaces.

Unilever’s Chief Research and Development Officer, Richard Slater said: “We’re creating the next generation of technologies and ingredients for our beauty and personal care products that are not only highly effective, but also natural and sustainable.

“Collaborating with disruptive new players in this space is going to lead to even more breakthroughs as we grow our business and portfolio for a future where people and planet can thrive together.”

Global Head of the Unilever Foundry, Baz Saidieh said: “Startup-led partnerships are an important pillar to drive growth and innovation. The Positive Beauty Growth Platform is proving a catalyst of finding the greatest startup innovations and powering experimentation at scale.

“For our latest challenge, we’re keen to engage and explore partnerships with innovators developing biodegradable and sustainable ingredients and packaging for the future – something we know is increasingly important to people around the world.

“If this call-out is half as successful as our last challenge, we should be in for some stunning collaborations.”

Media Contacts

Notes to Editors

Key dates for startups and scaleups interested in applying:

Submissions Open - 9 March 2022 (12:00 GMT)

Submissions Close - 11 April 2022 (23:59 BST)

Virtual Live Challenge Presentations - 23-27 May

View more information on the challenge and apply here.

Unilever’s vision for people and planet includes goals to:

  • Achieve zero emissions from Unilever’s operations (scope 1 & 2) by 2030
  • Halve the full value chain emissions of Unilever's products (per consumer use) by 2030
  • Achieve net zero emissions across Unilever’s value chain by 2039
  • Ensure a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023
  • Make our product formulations biodegradable by 2030
  • Protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests and oceans by 2030
  • Cut our use of virgin plastic by 50% by 2025

For more information, please visit our website.

Safe Harbour

Where relevant, these actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.

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