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SAP.iO Foundry Paris Launches Its New Program: Sustainability in the Service Industries

January 11, 2022 — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today launched a startup program focused on sustainability as part of the 7th edition of SAP.iO Foundry Paris. Eight international startups have been selected by a jury of SAP experts, partners, customers and investment funds to join the program.

SAP.iO Foundry Paris, SAP’s startup acceleration unit in France, has already supported more than 50 startups. In three years, SAP has achieved the goal set at the #ChooseFrance summit with the French government in 2018 to support the startup economy.

This new program focuses on four topics related to different issues concerning sustainability in the service industries:

  • Responsible design and production
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Resource recovery and re-use
  • Responsible consumption

Sébastien Gibier, Director of SAP.iO Foundry Paris, said: “SAP.iO has always been a great incubator for startups. This year, the focus on sustainability will allow scale-ups to amplify their impact. SAP France is delighted to continue this program focused on innovation. We are particularly pleased to have met our objectives set with the government.”

Over the next 12 weeks, startups will have access to one-on-one mentoring from SAP executives, exposure to SAP® technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world.

The following startups are participating in the SAP.iO Foundry Paris program:

  • ACTRADIS assists companies in the compilation, verification and digitization of documents on a sharing platform.
  • bloXmove is a decentralized mobility blockchain platform that provides easy-to-integrate interfaces for verifying identities and credentials, smart contracts and revenue distribution.
  • Cozero offers a digital carbon action platform covering the end-to-end carbon management process of companies to optimize their environmental and economic footprint throughout the supply chain.
  • HESUS provides solutions for the transport and treatment of soil and construction waste, while reducing their environmental impact.
  • Leanpath provides a comprehensive food waste prevention platform – including measurement, discovery and automation tools – enabling partner customers to reduce food waste by 50% or more in more than 40 countries.
  • Liftango guides international organizations and cities in planning, launching and implementing shared mobility projects. It solves parking, congestion and zoning problems by improving the efficiency of transportation services through on-demand transportation technology.
  • Madaster offers a cloud platform that provides a single point of access to leverage real estate data to meet environmental, regulatory, health and financial ambitions throughout the lifecycle of the object.
  • TotalCtrl creates digital products in collaboration with restaurants, hotels, municipalities and individuals to eliminate manual processes, streamline food inventory management, easily generate monthly cost of goods sold and accounting reports.

About SAP.iO
SAP.iO delivers new partnerships and products for SAP by accelerating and scaling startup innovation as well as incubating employee businesses. SAP.iO brings together innovators from all regions, industries and sectors to transform the way businesses work. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped 380+ external startups and internal ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access to innovation. For more information, visit http://sap.io/.

SAP.iO Foundry Singapore Launches Sustainability Startup Program in Asia-Pacific and Japan

November 25, 2021 SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today launched a sustainability-focused virtual startup program at SAP.iO Foundry Singapore. Six international startups have been selected by a jury of SAP experts and partners to join the program.

New ideas and innovative solutions are essential to uncover the impact of emissions and waste across every facet of a business. The selected startups use next generation technologies to drive sustainability outcomes for companies across Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ), in areas such as climate action, circular economy, and socially responsible supply chains.

Over the next 13 weeks, the startups will have access to curated mentorship from SAP executives, exposure to SAP® technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world.

“Achieving our sustainability goals will require all of us to work together at pace, as our planet’s time is running out,” says Paul Marriott, President SAP Asia Pacific and Japan. “Initiatives such as this SAP.iO Foundry program are critical in identifying, enabling, and promoting innovative solutions that can change how our customers’ business is run, and ultimately the impact we have on the world. This program not only helps start-ups accelerate their growth, but it’s also one of the quickest ways to bring the latest innovation to thousands of our customers globally.”

The following startups are participating in the sustainability in APJ program:

  • Ambee helps people to breathe clean air using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to analyze air quality, soil, micro weather, pollen, and more.
  • CarbonClick is a carbon credits marketplace that allows customers to purchase audited carbon offsets, as well as measure and reduce their carbon footprint.
  • givvable helps businesses to discover and track sustainability credentials, attributes and initiatives of suppliers.
  • Resync is a cloud energy management company which manages renewable assets, building energy and industrial energy.
  • Unabiz drives data-driven business efficiency through sensors, manufacturing and cloud platform services for smart metering, smart facilities management, smart logistics and supply chain.
  • WePower connects corporate energy buyers and retailers with green energy generators so all businesses, regardless of size, can purchase locally produced green energy at competitive rates with full transparency.

About SAP.iO
SAP.iO delivers new partnerships and products for SAP by accelerating and scaling startup innovation as well as incubating employee ventures. SAP.iO brings together innovators from every region, industry, and line of business to transform how businesses run. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped 330+ external startups and internal ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access innovation. For more information, visit https://sap.io/.

The fashion takeaways from COP26

Just before the official launch of the climate conference, members of Prince Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Fashion Taskforce — which includes the chief executives of Chloé, Mulberry, Vestiaire Collective, Selfridges and others — committed at the G20 meeting in Rome to begin using a technology they say will revolutionise transparency in the industry. The digital ID technology was enabled in part by startup Eon, and is anticipated to both inform customers of the sustainability credentials of their products and accelerate progress towards circularity.

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Conscious Fashion Campaign: NY Announces 10 Women-led Honorees

In collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and PVBLIC Foundation, the campaign showcases women who are shaping the new era of fashion for people and the planet.

Navigating to Zero with Startup Innovations in Sustainability

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland under the co-presidency of the United Kingdom and Italy. The focus of the conference is to work towards securing global net zero by mid-century keeping 1.5 degrees within reach, adapting to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilizing finance, and working together to accelerate an action plan. It is a topic that is of utmost importance and we see action being taken globally across all types of businesses and industries to use innovations to support more sustainable ways to live and do business.

 From consumer to enterprise to federal government action

An economic transformation is underway that can be attributed to new sustainability practices, a call to action that is changing the future of business. Regulatory committees, investors, consumers, and employees increasingly call for more socially, environmentally, and economically responsible goods and services. The market is seeing consumers requesting sustainable products and services through their buying behavior. Evidence to which we can see in the numbers. According to a STERN Center for Sustainability Business report, products marketed as sustainable grew more than five times faster than conventionally marketed products and three times faster than the CPG market. When given choice, today’s consumer is more likely to select the more environmentally responsible option.

Sustainability has become a critical topic for enterprises to reduce emissions and waste, increase circularity, and use socially responsible practices throughout product lifecycles. Simply put, business leaders are listening to the customers’ call to buy sustainable products and are looking to address how to make sustainability profitable. Accenture’s CEO study confirmed that 99% of CEOS from companies with $1+ Billion in annual revenues believe sustainability is important to the future success of their business. When it comes to the workforce, research into workplace priorities of Millennial and Generation Z employees has found they rank sustainability as a leading concern when evaluating the companies they choose for employment. Sustainability matters, from the products you make and how you make them, to the type of talent you can attract can all hinge on your company’s sustainability model.

Even federal governments are stepping in to take action. Recently an alliance of German companies, including SAP, called for more tangible measures for climate protection from the federal government. The companies said in a joint statement that Germany must be put on a “clear, reliable and predictable path to climate neutrality.” Besides SAP, other participants include Allianz Insurance, Eon, Bayer, Adidas, General Electrics, Deutsche Post, and Ikea. With governments requesting action, there is a huge opportunity to engage technologies that optimize carbon emissions, increase operational efficiency by activation of circular business processes, and connect with socially responsible partners to help organizations make better informed decisions.

Among CEOs that see sustainability as a driver in the future is SAP’s own Christian Klein, stating, “Sustainability is no longer optional but has become key to the long-term success of any business. It’s about defining new competitive advantages, lowering risks, building resilience to pricing regulations, gaining ground with investors, and being ahead of emerging consumer demands.” Earlier this year, SAP launched its Chasing Zero movement focused on using the power of technology to create a world of ZERO emissions, ZERO waste, and ZERO inequality. In support of SAP’s initiative and in response to new sustainability requirements of the market, SAP.iO engages globally with the latest startup innovations to deliver on the vision of helping customers gain insights into their carbon footprints, material flows, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

We run programs to accelerate startups focused on sustainability.

From the consumer to the enterprise to federal government action, our startup innovation has it covered. The SAP.iO team has the privilege of partnering with startups whose technology assists organizations as they shift their priority towards sustainability. During our partnership with these companies, we bring them together with SAP customers and can learn firsthand what resonates and what solutions meet the industry’s ever-changing needs. Alone this year’s fall / winter cohorts support a wide variety of sustainability goals:

  • Foundry Singapore’s Future of Work Program focuses on helping customers increase the value of their workforce by developing, managing, engaging, and empowering their people to develop a skilled, healthy & inclusive workforce.
  • Foundry Munich’s New Mobility Program is helping customers manage connectivity in transport, fleet management, charging and battery management, and automated and autonomous driving. Solutions that enable incremental steps towards sustainable mobility for urban, sub-urban and intra-urban mobility needs.
  • Foundry New York’s Sustainability in Retail & Consumer Program helps customers in the Retail, Consumer Products & Fashion industries drive sustainability across the value chain, including circular packaging, responsible & ethical sourcing, and responsible design & production.
  • Foundry San Francisco’s Sustainability in Energy & Natural Resources Program supports customers in the Energy and Natural Resources industries build sustainable businesses, improve experiences, and manage their environmental footprint and sustainability goals, including compliance, regulation, tracking, & carbon trading.
  • Foundry Paris’s Circular Economic Program helps drive circularity for customers in service industries such as passenger & cargo travel and engineering construction and operations by helping redefine the design, production, demand, and supply of products through their use cycles for reusability, waste reduction, and new value creation.

What we’ve seen:

This past spring SAP.iO Foundries Berlin & Munich teamed up with Accenture on a Sustainability focused startup program to help address critical challenges across industries and create a positive impact on both society and business. The main objective of our collaboration was to attract the world’s most talented founders by providing the perfect environment to grow their business. Combining Accenture’s industry expertise and specialized skills, with leading SAP technologies, expert mentors, and APIs, we will be able to jointly identify innovative use cases and startups that have the potential to transform our global economy into one that benefits all stakeholders. You can take a closer look at the innovative companies that participated here. In working with Accenture and our startups we were able glean important information which we compiled in our thought leadership paper entitled: Sustainability: The Next Digital.

Drive sustainable impact with SAP.iO startup solutions

How is this done? How do we begin to steer the ship in a direction that will meet all our sustainability goals? In working with SAP customers and SAP.iO startups, we’ve seen that the desire to impact this matter coupled with the innovative technology needed to turn the tide, but it must be looked at as a journey instead of a destination. Industries and companies are at different stages of maturity, with requirements in other areas across teams. The challenge is how to make sustainability profitable.

The good news is as an SAP customer you can act now; you don’t have to wait; we can help move you along this journey faster. How? We start by initiating an innovation session to define and prioritize the critical sustainability areas. Then we leverage our experience and startup ecosystem to discover innovative solutions specifically for your business and provide the opportunity to meet with startups to learn about their solutions. Then you can pilot and implement startup solutions that will help achieve your sustainability ambitions.

This post was originally published by Alexa Gorman on LinkedIn. To learn more about SAP.iO sustainability programs, you can visit sap.io/sustainability.

How Startups Are Monetizing the Booming Food Waste Business

Tech platforms Misfits Market, Too Good to Go and Goodr connect food companies with opportunities to divert their waste and improve their bottom lines at the same time.

Why it matters:

  • Nearly one-fourth of the food produced in the U.S. ends up going to waste, which also results in wasted resources spent by businesses to produce and transport food items.
  • Reducing food waste represents a tremendous opportunity for helping people in need and protecting the environment, while boosting food companies’ own profitability and sustainability.
  • Technology platforms such as Misfits Market, Too Good to Go and Goodr are successfully scaling up their operations as they tackle this challenge from different angles, seeking to provide benefits to both food businesses and consumers.

A handful of technology startups are seeking to tackle the challenge of reducing food waste at the grower, retailer, restaurant and consumer levels by matching surpluses with willing buyers.

Misfits Market, Too Good to Go and Goodr are leaning into the booming food waste management business, which generates an estimated $34.22 billion in global sales, and is on track to expand at a 5.4% compound annual growth rate over the next few years, according to Grand View Research.

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SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco Kicks off Sustainability in Utilities, Energy and Natural Resources Program

October 21, 2021 SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) launched a sustainability in utilities, energy and natural resources industries focused startup program at SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco. Six startups have been selected by a jury of SAP experts, partners, customers, and investment funds to join the program.

The startups in the program are using next generation technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and internet of things to help businesses become more sustainable by providing deeper insights into processes, greater transparency and reducing waste in the supply chain. Over the next 16 weeks, the startups will have access to curated mentorship from SAP executives, exposure to SAP® technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world.

The following startups are participating in the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco Fall 2021 program:

  • Bidgely accelerates a clean energy future by enabling utilities and consumers to make data-driven energy decisions.
  • Camus Energy empowers utilities and energy providers with system-wide visibility, forecasting, and advanced controls to balance local renewable supply with flexible demand for a distributed, zero-carbon future.
  • Empower incentivizes transparent and traceable collection, sourcing and recycling of plastic waste globally.
  • OilX is the world’s first digital oil analyst. It leverages satellite technology and AI to create a digital twin of the oil supply chain, from well-to-wheel.
  • Singularity Energy is a data and analytics company that helps customers reduce their carbon emissions.
  • SupplHi covers the vendor management activities from vendor scouting to vendor qualification, vendor performance evaluation and assessment of vendor financials, compliance and sustainability.

About SAP.iO
SAP.iO delivers new partnerships and products for SAP by accelerating and scaling startup innovation as well as incubating employee ventures. SAP.iO brings together innovators from every region, industry, and line of business to transform how businesses run. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped 330+ external startups and internal ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access innovation. For more information, visit https://sap.io/.

SAP.iO Foundry New York Launches Sustainability in Retail and Consumer Industries Program

October 19, 2021 SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) welcomes a new cohort for its startup program focused on sustainability in retail and consumer industries at SAP.iO Foundry New York. Seven startups were selected to join the program by a jury of SAP experts, partners and customers among hundreds of startups.

The startups are using next generation technologies to drive sustainability across the value chain in areas such as reusable packaging, responsible and ethical supply chain as well as circular economy. Over the next 16 weeks, the startups will have access to curated mentors, exposure to SAP® technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world.

The following startups are participating in the SAP.iO Foundry New York sustainability in retail and consumer industries program:

  • Algramo offers a circular platform that encourages consumers to buy in a more convenient, affordable way with zero waste and connects people, brands and retailers to change consumption habits.
  • Ecocart calculates the carbon emissions of business activities, then programmatically offsets those emissions by funding impactful certified carbon offset projects like planting trees or building windfarms.
  • Everledger leverages blockchain and internet of things technology to offer transparency into supply chains for clarity on quality, origin, sustainability footprint and compliance standards.
  • EVRYTHNG helps customers run their business differently with real time data intelligence from each of their products, end-to-end from factory to consumer and beyond.
  • Inspectorio provides a dynamic and risk-assessment based quality compliance program for digitization, automation, transparency and traceability.
  • LimeLoop is a platform for sustainable shipping including reusable packaging, real time tracking, and predictive analytics.
  • Specright delivers a purpose-built platform for specification management that changes how brands, suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers manage data and collaborate to bring products to market.

About SAP.iO
SAP.iO delivers new partnerships and products for SAP by accelerating and scaling startup innovation as well as incubating employee ventures. SAP.iO brings together innovators from every region, industry, and line of business to transform how businesses run. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped 330+ external startups and internal ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access innovation. For more information, visit https://sap.io/.

SAP Startup Spotlight: Streamwise D.I.

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Streamwise D.I.

Paul Hatten, CEO of Streamwise D.I., has over 25 years of experience driving corporate strategic international business management roles within the global water and wastewater sectors in high value Australian and U.S. companies. The companies he has managed include BioGill Group and Anue Water Technologies. He holds an Associate of Engineering Applied Science Construction Hydraulics from Technical and Further Education Queensland and is currently completing his Master of Business Administration from La Trobe University Melbourne. In this interview, Paul Hatten will talk about what Streamwise D.I. has to offer, how it is connected to SAP, and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: What does Streamwise D.I. offer?

Paul Hatten: Streamwise D.I. is an enterprise-grade artificial intelligence (AI) software solution to drive digital transformation in industrial applications through data automation and decision intelligence. Our target market is the wastewater management of industrial operators across multiple verticals including food and beverage (F&B), mining, chemical distributors, and water authorities. Streamwise D.I. delivers value to enterprise customers by lowering operational costs, improving compliance, reducing operational risk, and increasing data transparency. On average, our solution reduces the operating expenses of wastewater operations by 60 percent through significant savings on chemical, asset management, compliance and energy costs.

How does your solution work?

Hatten: An industrial operator, such as a food and beverage manufacturer, with complex wastewater operations may have high operating costs, overuse of chemicals, and be out of compliance. They engage Streamwise D.I. to improve their operational efficiency and lower costs. The first step is to install sensors and probes on site at the wastewater treatment facility and install the ‘Monitor & Learn’ capability at the client site. The second step is an online analysis and deep dive into the operations data in order to identify inefficiencies and calculate the expected savings across asset management, energy, chemical use, and compliance. The third step is to fully utilize the power of Streamwise D.I.’s artificial intelligence capability to unlock decision intelligence and set optimization targets. The fourth step is reducing operating costs, often by around 60 percent, and to calculate the value-share pricing.

Why was Streamwise D.I. founded?

Hatten: Our founder and Chief Technology Officer, Alastair Lockey, has over 30 years of experience in technology innovation in wastewater management globally, with previous roles at global water giant Ecolab. Alastair saw opportunities to significantly improve data transparency and data analytics in wastewater operations through new software solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities to automate decision-making and reduce operating costs.

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This Is A Eureka Moment For Sustainability: Affordable Products

Once upon a time, we easily traded-off product sustainability for reasonable prices, quality, and safety. Now we expect companies to bake sustainability into business as usual, and startups like Simreka have the technology to make it happen. Its cloud-based simulation software helps manufacturers experiment faster to create more sustainable products.

“We are accelerating the design and manufacture of products that are both cost-effective and sustainable,” said Dr. Akshay Patel, co-founder and CEO at Simreka. “Companies can quickly collect and analyze data including materials, manufacturing processes, quality and performance standards, pricing, safety and compliance, and carbon emissions to simulate design options. With these insights, leaders can make product design decisions that will best meet business targets.”

Simreka’s customers are primarily consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and chemical materials manufacturers in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Mexico. Professionals in product research and development (R&D), supply chain, materials, quality assurance, sustainability, and manufacturing operations are relying on the software’s AI-based algorithms to answer critical questions like should we develop this new product, redesign an existing one, select this particular material, or take another manufacturing approach? The company also provides data from public sources to support customer decisions.

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Bringing Sustainability To The Fashion World

When we think of the world of fashion, sustainability is one of the last words we’d associate with it.

However, Queen of Raw wants to change that. Queen of Raw has built a software platform to help organisations discover, buy, and sell material that would otherwise go to landfill, or be burned. Given that around $120 billion of material is wasted annually, there’s a huge potential for savings.

Listen to this podcast as Stephanie Benedetto and Phil Derasmo, Queen of Raw’s CEO and COO/CTO respectively (and the company co-founders) to come on the podcast to tell me how they’re cleaning up fashion’s supply chain.

Pexapark launches first renewable PPA pricing tool to account for technology and local weather conditions

Provider of software and advisory services for post-subsidy renewable energy sales, Pexapark, has announced it has added a new pioneering feature which accounts for site- and technology-specific production to its renewable energy pricing system, PexaQuote.

PexaQuote currently supports developers and investors managing over 250 GW of global renewable energy investments as the industry pushes further into a subsidy-free future. The renewable energy PPA market is expected to exceed 10 GW this year, with over 5.5 GW already signed across 68 deals since the start of 2021. According to Pexapark’s ‘PPA Times’ report, this rapid growth is being driven by the entry of large corporate buyers, which are setting new records for volume of PPAs across Europe.

However, as the market is becoming more mature and offerings more structured, many renewable energy companies must now deal with increased analytics demands to master the complexity of PPAs, and thereby reduce structuring and execution losses amidst heavy competition for limited liquidity. Renewable energy companies have also continued to battle against opacity around price data in the market, limiting their ability to accurately value potential PPAs for new assets. Among others, site- and technology-specific characteristics are key price determinants when assessing the correct market value in any PPA transaction.

PexaQuote accounts for and adjusts prices in line with all relevant factors such as a given site’s local weather properties and production profile based on type of renewable energy technology in line with the chosen PPA structure.

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BP completes nationwide rollout with Too Good To Go

The Too Good To Go app lets consumers buy surplus food and drink from retailers, restaurants, pubs, and producers to stop it from going to waste. Consumers simply download the free Too Good To Go app and search for nearby businesses with unsold produce. They then purchase a ‘Magic Bag’ and collect it at an allotted time.

The surplus food app has now been successfully rolled out to all 292 company-owned and operated bp M&S Food Stores across the UK, having launched an initial pilot in Scotland and Essex in August 2020.

Since August 2020, the partnership has saved more than 138,000 Magic Bags of food from going to waste. The BP Magic Bags contain a mix of short-dated fresh groceries, food-to-go items, deli items, and ambient produce from M&S Food, Wild Bean Cafe, and other in-store ranges.

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Turn Waste Into Value With Analytics

Trusting your data, telling stories about your success and knowing that every act, no matter how small, can help win the fight against waste was some of the advice shared by Queen of Raw and Topolytics, two gamechangers in waste management at the recent SAP Sustainability Summit panel discussion about orchestrating ecosystem innovation for impact.

“Zero waste can only be achieved with the help of data,” said Michael Groves, Founder and CEO of Topolytics, a data analytics business for waste managers. “Data shows public and private players exactly what is happening to their waste and will help them build better intervention options and create closed loops for recovery.”

Groves was one of the people on the boat hosting the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit (OPLS) in 2019, a research expedition to better understand the scope of plastic pollution and to develop cross-industry solutions and partnerships to solve this global challenge over the next decade.

Seeing is believing

Whenever the ship approached clumps of sargassum seaweed, the participants would stop their meetings and jump into zodiac boats with their snorkeling gear. But they didn’t see any fish. And at first, they didn’t see much plastic either. That’s because it’s often not visible. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small particles that are caught in seaweed and ingested by marine creatures.

“What you don’t see is the real problem,” says Groves, winner of the Circular Economy 2030 challenge sponsored by SAP and Google that year. A geographer who was appalled by the amount of plastic he encountered in South East Asia long before people began talking about the crisis, Groves believes waste is still not getting the attention it desperately needs.

While we may not actually see the damage, the data is irrefutable. An alarming 60 percent of waste produced in cities around the world gets dumped or leaked into the environment, and an equally alarming 61 percent of people globally don’t have access to proper waste management infrastructures. It’s a thorny problem because the waste value chain is very complex and opaque, with many private and public sector players and a significant informal sector around the world. To make matters worse, there is a huge mix of materials, each requiring different methods of recovery and recycling.

Realizing that money follows data, Groves developed a solution that uses analytics and machine learning to follow trash as it travels. Clear data and insights are fundamental to spurring investments in new infrastructure and innovation in the sector. With useful data available about what waste is where and in what quantity and quality, companies can then procure this waste much more effectively and bring the materials back into their production processes through platforms like SAP Ariba software.

Debunking myths

“Many companies think they know what’s going on with their waste, but they are usually surprised by the truth,” he says. “There is huge potential to unlock economic and social value that is currently just draining away!”

One person helping fashion retailers stop the drain is Stephanie Benedetto, co-Founder of Queen of Raw, a marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles, from organic cotton to some of the highest quality luxury deadstock fabrics that would otherwise be burned or buried.

Benedetto was inspired by her childhood experiences growing up in an immigrant family in the Garment District of New York. Her grandfather would collect unused clothes from the neighborhood and repurpose them into beautiful, fashionable items for local sale. It was a profitable, sustainable business that inspired her when she later became a corporate attorney on Wall Street, specializing in technology and sustainability. When the crash came in 2008, she decided to start her own company.

When Benedetto first started talking to brands and retailers about sustainability years ago, it was seen as nice to have. People responsible for sustainability were new in the position, and they did not have big budgets. Her first big challenge was debunking the myth that sustainability has to cost a lot of money.

She realized that retailers became paralyzed when faced with objectives such as becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2030. “You wouldn’t know where to start on day one if you heard that. It’s too much, too fast,” she says. “We go to the retailers and help them pinpoint the valuable waste in their supply chain. We look at their unused inventory and their deadstock. We help them sell it on the marketplace, and we provide tools to minimize waste going forward.”

Once the retailers are making money on their unused inventory, she explains, they can start putting their savings into doing other good work such as paying their workers better wages and using innovative technology and sustainable materials without increasing overall capex expenditure.

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