Frankfurt Airport - 15th July.
Koepala is in the midst of a journey. This as a cliched opening statement can mean many things, In a business sense we are moving towards a more sustainable packaging solution, a more sustainable value chain and increased co-creation. It can also mean that we are travelling, which indeed we are - this article being written waiting for a connection in Frankfurt Airport as we travel on to Torino.
All true, however this piece is about a pretty exciting journey we are on with the European Commission. This is a journey to find a socially innovative solution that challenges the use of plastic in society. The competition called the European Sustainable Innovation Competition (EUSIC) is a European wide call for solutions and ideas that challenge the reliance on single use plastic and that delivers a social impact. For Koepala that is perfect, at least we think so anyway!
This article will give an overview of the competition, why we have entered and what we hope are the outcomes. It goes without saying, that as with every bit of content we put out we would like you to connect with us and ask us questions - and this is just the same.
What is EUSIC?
The European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC), is a Competition run by the European Commission across all European countries, now in its seventh year. It invites entrants to enter innovative and creative solutions on around a central topic. For 2019 the theme is on challenging plastic waste, which leads very succinctly on to...
Why have Koepala entered?
The 2019 Competition is titled Challenging Plastic Waste and seeks the most innovative projects, products, services, business models and collaborations that tackle plastic waste. We’re looking for ideas from one or more of the following fields:
- Reducing the consumption of single use plastic products
- Recycling, reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste
- Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment
- Changing consumer behaviours, retail and wider business practices to reduce levels of plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
- Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains to reduce plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
- Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy or that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics
Now, we at Koepala think we fit this brief pretty much perfectly.
We also believe that social innovation and co-creation is vital to solving the environmental and societal challenges we are facing. Competitions like EUSIC bring together some of the brightest minds from across Europe. For this year's edition over 500 entries were submitted to the panel of esteemed judges. Koepala are among 30 projects chosen to go through to the semi-finals. And, for some added bragging rights Koepala are one of the only 2 Nordic entrants to make it through.
Gentle regional rivalries aside, there are further benefits to our entry...
What are the benefits?
We have entered this competition because of what it represents. It shows a collaboration and a concentrated commitment from across the ecosystem to do something about the plastic crisis. Even if we do not win the end prize - we deem the wider co-collaboration co-creation and open innovation benefits to be far greater. Just a quick look at the other entrants, think tanks and organisations involves shows this is a very inspirational 'class' to be involved with.
Further to this the competition is centred around delivering a development plan. We are working hard to ensure that we gain maximum benefit from the opportunities afforded to us at every stage, as they will really help us to refine our offering.
Beyond the holistic benefits, if we are successful with the competition we shall be credited with a €50,000 prize - which we will be looking to put to good use to drive our sustainable business forward.
Who else is involved?
As mentioned there are 29 other amazing concepts, start-ups and business ideas that are joining us at the semi-final stages in Torino. All the entrants can be found here:
Well, to bring this article full circle, we are on a journey to Torino at the moment to take part in an academy & networking event. Then the hard work begins to submit our development plan before 14 August. Then who knows, maybe it will open some more doors for us in the next few months.
However more than that it adds a further degree of inspiration to our mission and goal. To see that there are more and more ideas entering the market with a real drive to make a difference. To be included in the conversation makes us want it even more.