John Lewis and Hubbub launch the £1M Circular Future Fund to encourage a more circular economy in the food industry

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

Retail giant John Lewis Partnership have joined the environmental action charity Hubbub to open applications for the new Circular Future Fund today – a prize of £1M, which will be awarded to projects that are reducing waste and increasing product lifespan.

The Fund is open to early-stage start-ups under five years old, charities, social enterprises and academia who are actively trying to come up with new approaches that differ to the traditional linear economy which emphasises buying, using, and throwing away the products we buy.

The prize money will be granted to projects dealing with textiles, household products, technology and services, as well as food. For projects focused on food, potential ideas the judging panel are looking for include smart solutions and ways to reduce food waste in the full supply chain and addressing developments in consumer’s consumption awareness and actions. 

Director of Ethics and Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, Marija Rompani, said: “Climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution are unquestionably among the biggest challenges we will face in our lifetime and tackling them will require a different kind of thinking. 

“By creating this fund, we’re hoping to unearth some of the world’s leading innovators, who have built their business models, products and services around the concept of circularity.

“We live in a world of finite materials and we need to start protecting them before it’s too late. This is why we’re particularly looking for projects that are regenerative and can eliminate waste or pollution from the design stage and ultimately protect nature.”

The judges making up the independent panel who will review applications, range from representatives from the circular economy, grant giving and innovation, to John Lewis & Partners’ senior representatives.

They will meet to pick the winners of the grant in 2022 and announce the results in April 2022.

Sales of 10p plastic bags helped to provide the funding for the grants of between £150,000 and £300,000.

The applications for the Circular Future Fund are open from today and will close on 9 January 2022.

John Lewis Partnership launched their circularity and waste commitments back in October of last year, which aimed to halve food waste levels in supply chains at Waitrose as well as in their customers’ households by 2030.

To apply visit The Circular Future Fund website.

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