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Unilever invites start-ups to partner on sustainable beauty solutions

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Business |Beauty

Image: Unilever

Unilever, which owns beauty brands including Dove, Vaseline and Tresemmé, is inviting start-ups, scale-ups and academic spinouts to partner with them on a new entrepreneurial challenge focused on sustainable beauty solutions.

The Unilever Foundry, Unilever’s collaborative innovation network, is looking for start-ups who can bring “brilliant functional ingredients that work with nature” to its beauty and personal care products and packaging.

The initiative is part of Unilever’s Positive Beauty Growth Platform, which aims to champion a new era of beauty that is equitable and inclusive, and sustainable through cutting edge science.

The Growth Platform’s second challenge aims to find the next generation of biodegradable and sustainable ingredients and packaging. Unilever is looking for materials that “deliver incredible benefits to consumers,” while supporting its vision to do more good for the planet and help achieve its ambitious goals to protect and regenerate nature.

Interested companies will have the opportunity to present unique biodegradable and sustainable cosmetic ingredients or packaging solutions to the Unilever beauty leadership and expert practitioners. The leading ideas will then be given the chance to explore partnership opportunities within Unilever’s beauty and personal care business, worth 20 billion euros.

Unilever chief research and development officer, Richard Slater, said in a statement: “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. 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.”

Unilever Foundry, global head Baz Saidieh, added: “Start-up-led partnerships are an important pillar to drive growth and innovation. The Positive Beauty Growth Platform is proving a catalyst of finding the greatest start-up innovations and powering experimentation at scale. If this call-out is half as successful as our last challenge, we should be in for some stunning collaborations.”

Start-ups wishing to apply for the second challenge have until April 11. Virtual live challenge presentations will take place from May 23-27.