Sustainability is more popular than ever. Yet as the number of sustainable brands, initiatives and organisations continues to grow, the sector’s current crop of solutions, however nice, have not yet had a big enough impact to drive substantial change in the direction of sustainability. We need scale.
To Enviu, one of our key goals for 2021 is about accelerating the speed at which we can reach scale. As we continue to ideate, build and validate our market driven solutions with the invaluable support of foundations and investors, we will work purposefully to build new partnerships with major industry players. Through these new partnerships we can connect our proven, scalable solutions to existing supply chains and rapidly accelerate the speed at which our world changing companies can reach a truly meaningful scale, enabling them to drive the transition towards a circular and inclusive economy.
Our starting point, designing for scale
The very nature of how we design our business models leaves us well positioned to leverage such partnerships. When we set out to ideate and build world changing companies, scalability is at the forefront of our design process. We choose key intervention points in a value chain that not only maximise our immediate impact, but maximises the potential for implementation at scale.
Illustrative of this, our Zero Waste Living Lab is tackling our plastic pollution crisis by building ventures that replace single-use plastics at the source with reusable and alternative delivery systems, skipping the need for plastics entirely, rather than attempting to clean them up once they’re already polluting our environment.
These ventures are designed to be implemented at scale via rapid growth or replication – inspiring market participants to adopt our proven innovations. The business models behind both Koinpack’s reusable home goods packaging and Qyos’ reuse vending machines are strong examples of this concept, both of which can be implemented across various product ranges and cultural contexts to maximise their impact. Not by accident, but by design.
However, though the potential for scale is there, real difficulty lies in finding transition funding to bridge the gap from promising social enterprise to investor ready organisation. This problem is not unique to Enviu, but a challenge for the sector as a whole. Yet there are solutions
Why we’re building corporate cooperation to reach scale
If we are serious about helping sustainable solutions reach scale, it’s vital that we capitalise on existing infrastructure to do so, rather than attempt the gargantuan challenge of rebuilding entire systems from scratch. (Which may be impossible if we consider the urgency of the challenges facing our planet.)
Towards the end of 2020 our Zero Waste Living Lab has started partnerships with two of the world’s largest FMCGs, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé. More than just validation of our solutions, these partnerships are clear opportunities for us to reach scale. We can enable a sustainable future by connecting our living lab’s ventures to FMCG product lines and utilizing their well developed supply chains.
We don’t build ventures at Enviu to be considered as just something nice, a wistful look at what could be. We are quite serious about bringing our ventures to a world changing scale.
This is why we will not simply dismiss existing corporates as ‘part of the problem’, as is so often done. Instead, we believe that rather than attempting to supplant their existing infrastructure, we should work closely with established corporates, as we work closely with foundations and funders.
By leveraging our 17 years of venture building experience to ideate, validate and build business models, we can demonstrate to corporates that market driven and scalable opportunities to create impact exist, and can be integrated into their existing business models. Today these players are increasingly willinging to pivot towards circularity and inclusivity and working with them to scale our validated ventures is both the shortest and most realistic path to achieving sustainability at scale.
This is one of our key goals in 2021. To continue to validate ventures, build world changing solutions and grow our relationships with corporate partners. Across all the sectors in which we work, shipping, plastics, fashion and food; we will leverage their means to reach scale and dramatically accelerate the transition toward a circular and inclusive economy.