Nov 22, 2021
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John Lewis launches £1 million product sustainability challenge

Nov 22, 2021

The John Lewis Partnership is looking for environmental “innovators”. In a bid to end the high street’s ‘throwaway culture’, the UK retail giant has launched a £1 million ‘Circular Future Fund’.

The scheme challenges academics, charities and start-ups to come up with initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the disposable nature of clothing, food and gadgets, reported The Guardian newspaper. 

The fund is aimed at identifying innovators that are challenging the industry’s outdated “make… use… throw away” model.

Marija Rompani, the group’s director of ethics and sustainability, said that it required a “different kind of thinking” to tackle the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.

“We live in a world of finite materials and we need to start protecting them before it’s too late,” she said. “This is why we’re particularly looking for projects that are regenerative and can eliminate waste or pollution from the design stage.”

Winning ideas for the fashion sector could include creating more sustainable production methods or materials.

Part funded by the sale of 10p plastic bags in stores, John Lewis said it hoped to unearth “scalable” ideas that could be shared, “helping to accelerate the transition towards a more circular economy”.

Applications for the fund, which will offer individual grants of £150,000-£300,000, will close on 9 January 2022. It said bids are being invited from academia, charities, social enterprises and businesses that are less than five years old. An independent panel will review them in March with the grants awarded the following month.

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