Amazon Sustainability Accelerator returns to find leading start-ups in recycling innovation

EIT Climate-KIC, Amazon and WRAP, a leading UK climate action NGO, have launched the second Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, inviting early stage, sustainability-focused start-ups to apply for the programme.  

The Accelerator is open to start-ups who are creating more sustainable consumer products and, for the first time, those developing technology that can help the industry recycle products more effectively and efficiently. 

Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a 12-week bespoke programme designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business. The programme includes expert-led virtual and in-person workshops, specialised mentorship, a tailored curriculum, and access to a network of like-minded founders.

Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC will work in collaboration to guide Accelerator participants through a Climate Impact Forecast where they will learn how to self-assess their business’ climate impact, and develop strategies to improve their environmental footprint.

The validated assessments of the 2022 cohort reported a total emissions reduction of 8.4 kt of CO2 equivalent which amounts to not driving 1,800 petrol cars for a year, or running 2.3 windmills for one year. These entrepreneurs now know the basics of life cycle assessment and can continue to know, grow and show the positive climate impact of their innovations.

“We need radical collaboration between industry and business, policy makers, and financiers to both connect innovative solutions to one another and shape new markets to bring about bold systemic change, said Dr. Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, EIT Climate-KIC. “Our Accelerator programmes set out innovation challenges that encourage entrepreneurs to put these systemic challenges at the very heart of their business solutions. At EIT Climate-KIC, we look forward to this new edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator and to the new solutions that will create opportunities to connect into large-scale, systemic implementation.”

This year’s Accelerator will focus on start-ups from two key areas:

  • Recycling Technologies: Recycling is a critical step toward building a more circular economy, where product’s materials can be reused, thereby minimising the need to extract more raw materials. Now, for the first time, Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is seeking start-ups with promising technologies that can help the recycling industry leap forward, including new technologies that tackle yet-to-be-solved recycling challenges, or technologies that significantly improve on existing tools, such as advanced sortation machinery and waste management data systems.
  • Consumer Products: Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is also welcoming start-ups building physical products that help people live more sustainably. The products must be quantifiably more sustainable than existing products, such as being made with more recycled or upcycled materials, made with reduced carbon emissions, and helping consumers reduce, reuse or recycle. Participants will also work with the Amazon Launchpad team to help them refine their business strategy and help them scale.

This year’s participants will receive a financial boost through a £10,000 [€12,000] equity-free grant and US$25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits. Participants will meet and work with Amazon leaders and scientists from its Sustainability, Circular Economy, Product Sustainability, and Climate Pledge Fund teams, and receive access to free office space at Amazon’s headquarters in London and Berlin. Participants in the Consumer Products cohort will also receive free access to Amazon Launchpad for one year, including account management and marketing via the Amazon Launchpad storefront.

At the end of the programme, both the Recycling Technologies and Consumer Products cohorts will have the opportunity to pitch their business to an audience of seasoned investors to help them build connections and raise further funding. 

Amazon, EIT Climate-KIC, and WRAP have brought together a team of start-up and sustainability experts to serve on the selection committee, including:

  • Kirsty Macdonald, JamJar Investments, Investment Principal;
  • Bettina Gilbert, WRAP, Head of Technical Support and Financial Mechanisms;
  • Ben Honan, Investment Manager, Climate-KIC;
  • Phoebe Wang, Climate Pledge Fund, Investment Partner;
  • Rich Loretto, Director, Circular Economy, Amazon; and
  • Cyrus Wadia, Head of Sustainable Products, Amazon.

The committee will also serve as mentors throughout the Accelerator.

Applications for Amazon Sustainability Accelerator are open now. The deadline for applications is 17 March 2023 and successful applicants will be announced in the Spring.

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