17 innovations accelerating the transition to a circular economy

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emanuela Orsini, Digital Content Specialist, World Economic Forum Geneva


  • The Circulars Accelerator Cohort 2021 is supporting innovators to scale their ideas for a more circular economy.
  • The circular economy, which aims at reducing and eliminating waste and continuing to use safe resources, can help us create a more sustainable world.
  • The Circulars Accelerator, led by Accenture, is collaborating with UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s digital crowdsourcing platform to showcase their 17 innovators.

The world faces unprecedented challenges caused by our current approach to production and consumption. The resulting waste from plastic, textiles, food, electronics, and other industries has an enormous negative impact on the environment as well as on our overall health. In 2019, over 92 billion tonnes of materials were extracted and processed, contributing to almost half of global CO2 emissions. This underlines why the shift towards a circular economy, promoting the elimination of waste and the continual safe use of natural resources, is critical to forging a more sustainable future.

In an important move to catalyze ecosystem action on the circular economy, The Circulars Accelerator launched its very first cohort of circular innovators, Cohort ’21 in February. The Circulars Accelerator (an evolution of the highly successful Circulars Awards) is a bespoke, action-oriented program that supports trailblazing circular innovators across the globe to overcome their barriers to scale. It is led by Accenture, in partnership with Anglo American, Ecolab and Schneider Electric. The World Economic Forum and UpLink – a leading digital platform for scaling innovation and driving progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals – are key collaborators of this initiative.

Over the next few months, Accenture, along with partners and supporters, will provide the Cohort with support to scale their impact through advisory sessions, innovation coaching and through brokering introductions to leading experts and investors to further accelerate growth.

The 17 innovators constituting The Circulars Accelerator’s debut Cohort ’21 are driving sustainable innovation across geographies and industries:

  • Algramo offers an omni-channel cross-brand platform technology which enables brands and retailers to sell consumer goods products for the most affordable prices.
  • BanQu is a platform which closely follows raw materials and finished goods from source to shelf to the hands of the consumer, providing supply chain traceability and financial security to workers across the value chain.
  • BIOHM is a biotechnology company revolutionizing the circular construction industry by creating building materials and manufacturing methods from sustainable and natural materials.
  • Circularise has developed a blockchain technology solution to help stakeholders across supply chains trace raw materials from source to product, ensuring no sensitive data risk exposure.
  • Deep Branch is a carbon-recycling platform that transforms carbon dioxide into high-protein animal feed ingredients.
  • Eon offers a Connected Products Platform, Protocol and Network solution which powers circular commerce across fashion and retail by connecting products across their entire lifecycle to reduce waste.
  • Excess Materials Exchange (EME) is a digital matching platform which finds high-value options to reuse or recycle different types of materials or waste for companies.
  • Hello Tractor runs a tractor contracting platform in emerging markets by connecting farmers to fleet owners through an IoT-enabled software.
  • Kiverdi uses NASA-inspired tech to convert CO2 into people and planet-friendly nutrients and bio-based materials.
  • Maeko has developed composting solutions onsite for homes and businesses, reducing food waste from landfills.
  • Mint Innovation has provided low-cost and sustainable processes to recover valuable precious metals from waste streams such as electronics or cars.
  • Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) shapes and molds plant materials including waste into natural compounds, used across different industries.
  • Recykal facilitates transactions for all stakeholders across India’s waste management and recycling value chain to promote more efficient recycling of plastic waste.
  • S4S Technologies converts farm food waste to value added products using their patented solar-powered dehydration technology, so that farmers and rural women can preserve their produce for up to a year without chemicals.
  • SokoFresh has created a scalable and replicable cold storage as a service solution to eliminating post-harvest food loss in smallholder farmer value chains.
  • StixFresh has developed an easy peel and place sticker for fresh fruits which extends shelf life and reduces waste.
  • Wasteless helps supermarkets and online grocery stores recapture the value of their perishable products and reduce food waste via AI-powered dynamic pricing.

Cohort ’21 have joined the growing community of UpLink innovators who are benefiting from collaborating through the platform. Beyond the Cohort’ 21, The Circulars is driving collaboration on circular economy across the ecosystem through the new Circulars Community Action Group on UpLink. Circular entrepreneurs are encouraged to join the Action Group and get involved in this dynamic community. This network enables innovators, experts and others to share solutions, ideas, and fresh perspectives to design for circularity, reduce waste, and transform production and consumption processes, to truly enable the creation of a regenerative global system over the coming decade, The Decade to Deliver.

Join the Circulars Community on UpLink today to access opportunities within the circular ecosystem and be a part of this critical conversation, at this crucial time.

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