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

The second Amazon Sustainability Accelerator lhas launched, inviting early stage, sustainability-focused start-ups to apply for the programme. Launched by Amazon, EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation hub, and climate action NGO WRAP, 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 will work with Accelerator participants to complete a Climate Impact Assessment from Impact Forecast, which will help to evaluate their businesses’ potential climate impact and develop strategies to support their businesses to become even more environmentally-friendly. Participants will also receive a grant, Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits, and free office space.

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.

“We are delighted to be working with Amazon to help scale up its sustainability efforts through the Accelerator programme, said Richard Swannell, Interim CEO, WRAP. “This expert support will be invaluable for many start-ups at a critical time in their development and help to fast-track our next generation of sustainability innovators. Our vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem, and this programme will help sustainable product development and improve recycling infrastructure. Both are key in delivering the circular economy we so urgently need.”

“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.”

Participants will receive a financial boost through a £10,000 [€12,000] equity-free grant and US$25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits. They 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.

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