- Don-Alvin Adegeest
When Adidas teamed up with Parley for the Oceans last year, launching a collection of trainers and clothing made from recycled ocean plastic, both the fashion industry and government took notice.
This month the UK government launched a new investment for businesses to tackle the ocean plastics crisis, making 6 minion pounds available in grants and private investment.
There is a market for ethical fashion
many studies have shown shoppers will consider buying ecological or sustainable apparel as long characteristics such fit cost and styling are also considered. there is a niche for producing quality stylish good price with leading ready-to-wear fashion companies taking action about sustainability publishing their corporate responsibility.
But simply publishing a list of factories in order to be transparent about production, is not going to save the planet.
According to the United Nations more than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the water every year, killing up to 1 million sea birds and 100,000 mammals, turtles and fish. Unless significant action is taken, the amount of plastic in the seas will triple by 2025.
To tackle the plastics problem, Innovate UK and Sky Ocean Ventures have joined forces to offer simultaneous public and private funding.
Innovate UK will provide up to 3 million pounds in grants to enable the UK to lead the fight against waste, catalyse new ideas and quickly get products and services to market. Part of this is from the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund – a 20 million pound programme led by UK Research and Innovation.
Sky Ocean Ventures will offer the same amount in private investment. Set up by Sky, the firm looks to support young companies and create meaningful change by highlighting environmental disaster caused by plastic pollution in the oceans.
The first part of the funding competition is inviting applications from projects that reduce plastic waste and pollution of wider environment and promote a circular economy.
Which research areas can fashion companies tackle?
Fashion brands and companies could develop new, sustainable polymer materials or sustainable plastic alternatives; support circularity through improved resource use and design; new recycling processes, including collecting, sorting and processing of waste plastics and increasing the value of recycled polymers.
In order to be considered, applications should identify where revenue generation and growth will occur in the UK as a result of the innovation being developed and exploited.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry said: “Heart-breaking images of wildlife suffering due to plastics waste have been a stark reminder that harmful pollution can have a devastating impact on our oceans. That is why, this time last year, the Prime Minister committed us to eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. We are investing more than ever before to find alternative materials to harmful plastics. We want innovators and businesses to get behind this too, helping us find new ways to cut down waste and pollution while growing their business to have global impact.”
Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said: “Plastic waste has created a crisis that needs a global resolution. We need businesses, investors, government and researchers pulling in the same direction, creating workable solutions that people will be able to see on the shelves before it’s too late.”
Fred Michel, Group Director, Impact Investment and Sky Ocean Ventures, added: “Our aim is to enable entrepreneurs to support innovative new ideas at the earliest stages with both investment and mentorship. We will use the reach and voice of Sky’s platforms to highlight their solutions and help consumers change behaviours.”
How to enter
The first part of the competition is now open and the deadline for applications is 13 March 2019. For more information on how to apply visit the Innovation Funding Application page.
Photo credit: Adidas x Parley for the Ocean