National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures award US$1.3 million as the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge Winners are announced

National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures award US$1.3 million as the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge Winners are announced

December 16, 2019
Press Release: Sky Ocean Ventures

Three teams from Chile, France, and Germany have been announced as the winners of the National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge

Launched in February 2019, the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is a competition that asked problem solvers from around the globe to develop novel solutions to tackle the world’s plastic waste crisis.

Selected from an impressive group of nearly 300 teams from around the world, the winners and two runners-up in the three categories will share a US$300,000 prize purse to implement their ideas to reduce the amount of single-use plastic reaching the ocean.

The three winning teams have been recognized for their work in addressing the global issue of plastic pollution by providing alternatives to single-use plastic products, encouraging businesses to adopt a sustainable circular economy approach and developing visualizations to depict the issue of plastic pollution to catalyze action.

The winning teams for each track are:

Circular Economy: Algramo
Algramo is developing packaging/distribution technology to enable top consumer brands to sell their products for the lowest possible costs in convenient, smart, reusable packaging — currently piloting with Unilever Chile.
Country: Chile

Design: Qwarzo
Qwarzo develops an unprecedented paper technology providing a 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable solution to replace fully and cost effectively single-use plastic in numerous applications, like coffee stirrers, cutlery, straws and other packaging.
Country: France

Data Visualization: #PerpetualPlastic
#PerpetualPlastic creates physical data sculptures out of flip-flops washed up on Bali’s beaches that represent the paths and fate of all plastics ever produced.
Country: Germany

The runners-up were chosen for their visionary approaches to tackling the challenge of plastic pollution. In the design category, EcoFlexy was recognized for its exciting and novel materials and Astu Eco was recognized for its focus on job creation and empowerment for women.

The circular economy runners-up were Kecipir and Returnity, whose projects showed great promise in terms of scalability and potential for impact.

“The passion, dedication and ingenuity of the winners of the National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures Plastic Innovation Challenge give us confidence that we can turn the tide on the plastic waste crisis,” said Michael L. Ulica, president and COO of the National Geographic Society. “We are proud to support these innovators as part of our commitment to investing in solutions that will lead to meaningful change in the outlook for our ocean.”

Further to this, Sky Ocean Ventures has made offers of investment to Algramo and EcoFlexy, representing US$1 million in aggregate investment to support the further development of their ideas.

The companies will also receive commercial and strategic support from Sky to help them build their businesses as part of the unique Sky Ocean Ventures impact investment fund. These entities are leading by example by joining Sky’s campaign in the fight against single-use plastic and have demonstrated the dedication required to help turn off the plastic tap.

“Sky Ocean Ventures and National Geographic launched this competition to find diverse and transformational businesses just like Algramo and EcoFlexy,” said Jamie Rowles, head of investments, Sky Ocean Ventures. “Each of them has the dedication and commitment to help tackle the ocean plastics crisis. We’re looking forward to working with them to develop their products and get them to market.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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