Amazon Launches Second Edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator

Amazon today announced the launch of the second edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, and has opened the period for start-ups focused on sustainability to present their candidacies to participate in the program. The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is an initiative launched by Amazon, the EIT Climate-KICa leading European center for innovation on climate change, and WRAP, the UK’s leading climate action NGO, focused on developing a circular economy. The program is open to start-ups dedicated to creating sustainable products and, for the first time, also to those that develop technologies capable of helping the industry to recycle more efficiently.

The 12 start-ups chosen to participate in the first edition of the Accelerator raised more than 5 million euros and saw their sales grow on and off Amazon by more than 250% after their participation in the program. The participating start-ups were selected from more than 1,300 applications from more than 50 countries. Among them was SURI, a UK-based start-up that designs, manufactures and sells reusable and repairable electric toothbrushes, with replacement heads made from plant-based materials. According to its co-founder, Mark Rushmore, the Accelerator contributed “a huge value” to his company, and helped his business pass «from having no income to billing more than a million pounds in a short time«.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a personalized 12-week program designed to help entrepreneurs overcome the challenges of creating and growing a sustainable business. The program includes face-to-face and virtual workshops led by experts, specialized tutoring, a tailored curriculum, and access to a wide network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC will work collaboratively to guide participating Accelerator start-ups through an Impact Forecast Climate Impact Assessment, where they will learn how to self-assess the climate impact of their business and develop strategies to improve their business. environmental footprint. Participants will also receive a grant, Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits, and free office space. This year’s edition will focus on start-ups in two key areas:

  • Recycling Technologies: Recycling is a fundamental step to develop a more circular economy, in which product components can be reused, thus minimizing the need to extract more raw materials. For the first time, the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is looking for start-ups that develop promising technologies capable of helping the recycling industry take a leap forward. This includes the development of new technologies that serve to address recycling challenges that have yet to be resolved, or that significantly improve existing tools, such as advanced sorting machinery or data systems for waste management.
  • Consumer products: The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is also open to start-ups dedicated to creating products that contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. These products must be quantifiably more sustainable than those already on the market. For example, those made with more recycled or upcycled material, or those made with less carbon emissions. In addition, they must help consumers reduce, reuse or recycle. Participants in this category will work with the Amazon Launchpad team, helping them refine their business strategy and scale.

One of the entrepreneurs participating in last year’s edition, Colin Hutchinson, from the company Leaf (United Kingdom), describes the program as an “enhancer of business life”, and Christina Antonie Reh, from the company Baybies (Germany), states that “it has been an incredibly fruitful journey. We have learned a lot about growth, and through the program we have refined our marketing and sales strategy to be able to expand into new markets.”

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Innovation is in Amazon’s DNA, and through the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, we are looking for sustainability-focused entrepreneurs who are ready to grow their businesses and revolutionize their industries.“, said Mariangela Marseglia, general director of Amazon in Spain and Italy. «The Accelerator is open to entrepreneurs from all over Europe, and I would love to see the talent and innovation of Spain represented among the shortlist.«.

We are thrilled to be working with Amazon to help expand their sustainability efforts through the program.“, has declared Richard Swannell, Interim CEO of WRAP. “Your support as an expert company will bring invaluable value to many start-ups that are at a critical point in their development, and will help accelerate our next generation of sustainability innovators. Our vision is of a prosperous world where climate change is no longer an issue, and this program will contribute to sustainable product development and improved recycling infrastructure. Both are critical to achieving the much-needed circular economy.”

«We need radical collaboration between industry, business, and policy and finance makers, to connect innovative solutions with each other and to shape new markets that enable courageous systemic change.said the Dr Kirsten Dunlop, Executive Director of EIT Climate-KIC. “Our Accelerator programs pose innovation challenges that encourage entrepreneurs to put this systemic change at the core of their business solutions. From the EIT Climate-KIC we are looking forward to this new edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, which will bring new solutions capable of generating large-scale systemic implementation opportunities.”

The start-ups that are selected to participate in the second edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator will receive a financial boost through a free capital grant of 12,000 euros, and 25,000 dollars in AWS Activate credits. In addition, they will meet and work with Amazon leaders and scientists from the Sustainability, Circular Economy, Product Sustainability and Climate Pledge Fund teams, and have free access to workspaces at Amazon’s London and Berlin headquarters. Participants in the Consumer Products category will also receive free access to Amazon Launchpad for one year, including account management and marketing through the Amazon Launchpad online store. Upon completion of the program, both the Recycling Technologies and Consumer Products categories will have the opportunity to present their business to a group of investors, helping them network and secure further funding.

Amazon, EIT Climate-KIC and WRAP have assembled a team of experts in start-up creation and sustainability to be part of the selection committee, including:

  • Kirsty Macdonald, Director of Investments at JamJar Investments
  • Bettina Gilbert, Head of Technical Support and Financial Mechanisms at WRAP
  • Ben Honan, Investment Manager at Climate-KIC
  • Phoebe Wang, Investment Partner at Climate Pledge Fund
  • Rich Loretto, Director of Circular Economy at Amazon
  • Cyrus Wadia, Head of Sustainable Products at Amazon

The committee will also act as a mentor throughout the entire process.

The submission deadline for requests to participate in the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is open until March 17, 2023. Selected start-ups will be announced in spring.

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