Whilst it is well known where the best startups ecosystems can be found in general, such information is missing in the case of sustainability startups. Sustainable or green startups encourage social good by leveraging technology to create environmentally friendly products and services. They aim to create a sustainable and financially viable future, focusing on mid-to-long-term sustainability rather than just short-term profits.
In today’s business climate, gone are the days when eco-friendly businesses struggle to find investors, and the public is generally apathetic to a business’s social responsibility. As a result, sustainable startups are beginning to receive financial support from venture capitalists, impact investors, and other like-minded entrepreneurs who understand not only the importance but the social value of sustainable businesses.
With so much outspoken support for green initiatives globally, it is now time for young entrepreneurs to capitalise on the ‘green revolution’ and leverage eco-conscious business practices for long-term financial growth that sparks positive social and environmental change. We have carefully released a selection of startups that are innovating for a more sustainable future and have strong growth potential. These represent the most UK scaleups contributing to the UK reaching its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Olio is a free app that connects neighbours to ensure that surplus food and other items are shared instead of wasted. The location-based app and website let users list and post photos of unwanted food items that will otherwise go to waste. Founded by businesswomen Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One in 2016 in north London, Olio has flourished into a global sharing movement with 1.8 million users worldwide sharing over 3.4 million portions of food. This is the equivalent of preventing 2,898 CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere and eliminating 9,852,126 car miles from the road.
CupClub is a London-based platform for brands and retailers to manage and track reusable consumer packaging for the Food and Beverage industry. On a mission to reduce single-use plastics from circulation, CupClub enables customers to halve CO2 consumption by switching to reusable packaging. CupClub manages its end-to-end reuse system by charging customers a flat per order fee to collect, sanitise and redistribute their packaging. CupClub serves the world’s largest food delivery company Just Eat Takeaway, NextGen Consortium brands (Starbucks, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Yum Brands, Nestle, Wendy’s) as well as leading foodservice company Baxter Storey, Cushman & Wakefield, and retailer John Lewis & Partners.
LettUs Grow is an indoor farming technology provider based in Bristol. Their aeroponic farming technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms deliver higher crop yields, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, and make farmers’ lives easier. The products also enable people to grow to produce nearer to consumption, which reduces the carbon footprint left by fresh produce.
Wild offers a sustainable deodorant subscription service. What’s exciting about Wild is, in its infancy, it has already amassed over 200,000 followers on social media and 5,500 five-star reviews on Trustpilot – which highlights the popularity and potential this natural, refillable deodorant brand has. Wild’s deodorant service comes with a stylish, durable case made from aluminium and recycled plastic.
Unpackaged offers food with zero waste. Launched as a market stall in 2006 by Catherine Conway, it now has nine London stores where customers can purchase food in bulk and package it in their own reusable containers. Unpackaged also runs a thriving consultancy service for businesses looking to shift to a zero-waste retail business model. It recently worked with Waitrose & Partners to launch Waitrose Unpacked.
Bulb generates renewable energy from solar, wind, and hydro sources and supports global carbon reduction projects such as the building of wind farms in India and rainforest protection in Sierra Leone. It was founded by Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka after they grew frustrated with the inefficiency and unsustainability of the traditional energy industry. It now supplies 1.3 million people with affordable, renewable energy from its vibrant East London base.
Library of Things
Library of Things aims to reduce buying and encourage borrowing instead. Founded by Emma Shaw, Sophia Wyatt, and Rebecca Trevalyan, it offers hundreds of items to borrow – from waffle irons to sewing machines – as well as local events and volunteer opportunities! The Library of Things helps people feel more connected to their communities and reduces wasteful consumerism. Using the Library of Things, 60% of borrowers say they’re more likely to repair or recycle items than replace them.
TALA produces sustainable, vegan, and affordable gym wear. TALA was founded in 2019 by social media influencer Grace Beverly, who identified a sustainable gap in the activewear industry. TALA offers sustainable gym wear at a similar price to its competitors, such as Gymshark.
The bottom line? Entrepreneurs will continue to enter the green industry because support from more conscious consumers and investors continues to grow. You can help them win over impractical and environmentally harmful corporations by supporting eco-friendly businesses. One voice at a time, we can globally make a positive impact on Earth.