The UK government and broadcaster Sky have partnered up to provide £6m in financial backing to ten green firms developing environmentally-friendly products
With society becoming increasingly environmentally-conscious, more and more firms have sprung up across the world to develop products for the green economy.
To help these companies grow, major governments and eco-friendly investment funds have been introduced to provide a measure of support.
Earlier this year, the EU’s European Investment announced it would invest at least €10bn ($11bn) over the next five years to “accelerate the transition to a sustainable and circular economy” across Europe.
Meanwhile, the UK government set up a £4.7m ($5.6m) plastic grants scheme, in an effort to help boost the recycling of packaging and textiles.
It also recently announced a partnership with Sky Ocean Ventures – an investment fund run by broadcaster Sky – to put money into ten eco-friendly innovators.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Trailblazing UK businesses are giving us all the choice to buy more sustainable clothing, packaging and cosmetics that are better for our environment.
“Consumers have shown they are keen for green and we’re committed to championing those innovative companies that lead the way in this, protecting the planet while at the same time opening up huge opportunities for the UK economy.”
From an advertisement firm investing in paper bags to a developer of environmentally friendly microbeads, we take a look at some of the companies on the partnership’s investment list.
UK green firms
Founded in 2016, Bagboard is an “advertising platform with a social conscience”, aiming to replace all single-use plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives.
It has developed a network of more than 2,000 independent retailers in London, across industries ranging from grocery and convenience to cafes, gift shops and electronics.
Founded by University of Edinburgh graduate Benjamin Ayres, the firm is targeting expansion into more cities in a range of countries with the ambition of creating a global community of people who want to engage with advertising.
Choose Water was co-founded by Durham University graduate James Longcroft in 2015, and is an ethical and social enterprise set-up to provide Scottish drinking water to the rest of the UK.
The company, which has been working with Sky Ocean Ventures since July 2018, has developed a range of plastic-free biodegradable carbon neutral bottles.
It also works closely with charity Water For Africa on an effort to provide clean-water infrastructure across West Africa.
Set up by friends Celia Pool and Alec Mills in 2015, DAME is a developer of eco-friendly, reusable tampons.
The company initially started by selling plastic versions of the products, but were shocked at the amount of plastic produced, so developed what it claims to be the first reusable applicator and chemical-free biodegradable tampons, called D.
In 2018, the two friends crowdfunded the idea and received backing from 5,000 men and women across 53 countries to develop the product.
As of 2019, DAME says it has saved more than 100 million pieces of plastic.
Flexi-Hex is a cardboard packaging company initially set-up to create sustainable sleeves for the board sports industry.
Founded by Sam and Will Boex in 2017, the firm has since expanded to develop solutions across a wide range of commercial and industrial sectors.
Flexi-Hex say its “unique” honeycomb design gives the packaging a high level of compression resistance, making it “surprisingly strong and durable”.
HDWool is part of the innovations division of H. Dawson Wool, an international wool supplier founded in 1888.
Designed to develop products with the lowest carbon footprint in mind, the company says its insulation has been manufactured to prioritise waste recovery.
The material was developed as an ecological alternative to standard garment insulation products and graded as 100% renewable and biodegradable.
Founded by Giovanna Laudisio, Janet Scott and David Mattia in 2018, Naturbeads are natural and biodegradable microbeads produced from renewable and sustainable resources.
Developed at the University of Bath, the products have been developed to replace microplastics in items such as suncream or lipstick.
The team says the biodegradables could reduce microplastic pollution in oceans, as the traces from suncream, cosmetics and other personal care products would not be made from plastic.
On the funding, CEO Laudisio told science website Phys: “We are thrilled to start our first project thanks to an InnovateUK grant and the support of an investor like Sky Ocean Ventures that shares our mission of reducing plastic pollution and understands the challenges of a deep tech start-up like Naturbeads.”
Dr Karen Scofield Seal and Dr Charlie Bavington set up the seaweed product based company Oceanium in 2018.
The London-based firm develops seaweed-based products to provide sustainable solutions, due to the increasing demand for marine safe packaging.
Oceanium creates products in three separate fields, these being Nutraceuticals, compostable marine safe packaging and what it describes as “nutrient rich foods”.
Founded in 2017, Petit Pli is a clothing company designed to “address the wasteful nature of fashion”.
Set up by current CEO Ryan Mario Yasin, the company was initially inspired by aerospace engineering, with the product made specifically for young children.
Designed to expand with growth of the child, Petit Pli’s product can be worn from nine months to four years old.
On the funding, Yasin said: “Petit Pli is over the moon to win the unique research and development funding call supported by Sky Ocean Ventures and Innovate UK.
“Gaining capital support – a share of £2m ($2.4m), from InnovateUK and Sky Ocean Ventures will enable us to grow our R&D wing, allowing us to continue engineering designs which solve human needs – not just desires, by merging innovation with sustainability in the wearable sector.”