Understanding that breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere, The Coca-Cola Company is partnering with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive to mobilize some of the world’s sharpest thinkers to solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive will jointly fund and support AB InBev’s 100+ Accelerator program to crowdsource and pilot innovations focused on water stewardship, sustainable agriculture, circular packaging and renewable energy.
“Sustainability is foundational to how we conduct business and shape our strategies,” said Brian Smith, president and chief operating officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “We are committed to working with innovators to bring more sustainable solutions to market by leveraging our size and scale. We are pleased to be a founding partner of the 100+ Accelerator.”
Leveraging the size and resources of the four consumer packaged goods (CPG) multinationals, the multi-year initiative will fast-track a shift toward sustainable solutions by helping passionate entrepreneurs launch and scale solutions faster.
What Is the Accelerator Program?
Launched in 2018, 100+ Accelerator is a global incubator program that aims to solve key supply chain challenges across water stewardship, circular economy, sustainable agriculture and climate action. The program’s first two cohorts piloted 36 eco-friendly innovations in 16 countries – from the first solar thermal plant in Africa, to recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity in China, to upcycling saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the United States – with participating startups raising more than $200 million.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever join us as founding partners in the 100+ Accelerator,” said Tony Milikin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer, AB InBev. “Together, we are striving 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.”
Startups can submit applications at www.100accelerator.com from April 22 to May 31, 2021. The three partners will select a total of 20 to 25 ideas, of which Coca-Cola will support three to five with up to $100,000 funding apiece. In addition to funding pilot programs, the 100+ Accelerator provides hands-on 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.
“In today’s interconnected world, none of us can solve the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time,” said Ben Jordan, senior director of environmental policy, The Coca-Cola Company. “We believe that partnerships like this and collective action are needed to deliver both a more sustainable business and a sustainable future, and that we must look outside our company.”
Coca-Cola’s Commitment to Sustainable Innovations
Since launching its World Without Waste sustainable packaging platform, Coca-Cola has actively engaged the startup community for inspiration and innovation. The company has hosted events in innovation hubs including Silicon Valley, Paris, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro to build on the work of its internal R&D team – which focuses on a longer-lead innovation pipeline – with fast-to-market solutions.
Additionally, the company is an inaugural investor in Circulate Capital, a fund launched in 2019 focused on ventures, infrastructure and innovations preventing the flow of plastic into oceans. To date, Circulate Capital has raised more than $100 million and invested in six companies in India and Indonesia.