This time last year, we launched Unilever’s Positive Beauty vision, setting out how we will take action through our brands to champion an industry-leading new era of beauty that’s more equitable, more inclusive and more sustainable.
We want to ensure our brands not only do less harm but also do more good for people and the planet, and collaboration will be vital. Accelerating our science and technology partnerships and programmes will play a crucial part in bringing our vision to life.
That’s why today we’re launching a challenge to find the next generation of biodegradable and sustainable cosmetic ingredients and packaging materials that deliver incredible benefits to the millions of people who choose our products every day – and to the planet.
Through our Positive Beauty Growth Platform, we’re searching for the very best startups, scaleups and academic spinouts to partner with our teams. The aim? To bring brilliant and sustainable, functional ingredients that work with nature to our beauty and personal care portfolio.
An invitation for innovation
We’re inviting innovators and entrepreneurs to pitch their big ideas for biodegradable and sustainable solutions for hair care, skin care and deodorant products and packaging to a panel of Unilever experts.
Selected businesses will be invited to explore partnerships or potentially pilot their concepts within our Beauty & Personal Care business – a €20 billion portfolio which includes brands such as Dove, Vaseline, Rexona, TRESemmé and many more.
“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,” says Unilever’s Chief Research & Development Officer Richard Slater.
“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,” he adds.
Co-creating for sustainable growth
Collaborating with disruptive new players 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.Richard Slater, Unilever Chief R&D Officer
The call-out for biodegradable beauty concepts is the second challenge set by the Positive Beauty Growth Platform since it went live in September 2021.
The first invited startups and scaleups who specialised in the rapidly growing arena of social commerce to apply, and almost 300 businesses got in touch. A panel of Unilever experts shortlisted the entries down to 33 candidates: seed-stage to billion-dollar businesses from Silicon Valley to Singapore.
Five applicants are now in conversations to kick off pilot projects with our leading beauty and personal care brands:
- California-based Firework (Opens in a new window), which creates shoppable video and engaging livestream events embedded into websites
- UK-based Playrcart (Opens in a new window), whose shoppable media technology enables viewers to buy products instantly via online ads
- Poland-based inSTREAMLY (Opens in a new window), a business with a global reach connecting brands with micro-influencers in the gaming live-streaming sector to reach new audiences through play
- Indonesia-founded Avana (Opens in a new window), which offers brands an opportunity to sell across multiple platforms with one centralised dashboard
- And Israel-founded Anzu.IO (Opens in a new window), an advanced in-game advertising solution, with ads that blend seamlessly into video games.
The Positive Beauty Growth Platform is proving an effective catalyst not just to find the greatest startup innovations but also to drive these connections and change at scale.Baz Saidieh, Global Head of the Unilever Foundry
Baz Saidieh, Global Head of our collaborative innovation network the Unilever Foundry (Opens in a new window), says: “The Positive Beauty Growth Platform is proving an effective catalyst not just to find the greatest startup innovations but also to drive these connections and change at scale. If this new challenge is half as good as our first, we should be in for some stunning collaborations.”
If you want to enter the Positive Beauty Growth Platform Challenge, these are the next steps and key dates:
- Submissions open at 12 noon (GMT) on Wednesday 9 March.
- Two Unilever Open Forums, where experts from Unilever will present further details about the ask and host a Q&A session, will take place on Wednesday 23 March at 10:00 and 16:00 (GMT).
- Submissions close on Monday 11 April at 23:59 (BST).
- The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 12 May.
- Virtual live presentations for the top six applicants will be held during the week beginning 23 May between 13:00 and 14:30 (BST).
- Partnership discussions will take place during Q2 and Q3 2022.