The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has launched The Circular Future Fund – an initiative that will award £1 million, over one year, to projects that demonstrate innovations related to the circular economy.
The group, which runs John Lewis and Waitrose, has partnered with environmental charity Hubbub to support the chosen projects and measure the impact of The Circular Future Fund grants.
According to the retail organisation, it is seeking ideas that challenge “the outdated ‘make…use…throw away’ model”, which retail and consumerism has been built on over much of the last century.
Raised from sales of 10p plastic bags in its retailers’ stores, The Circular Future Fund will provide grants between £150,000 and £300,000 – and is calling on ideas that rethink waste management, find creative ways to shift consumer mindsets, propose new business models or accelerate greener, more circular behaviour.
Applications for The Circular Future Fund close on 9 January 2022. John Lewis Partnership is calling for ideas from academia, charities, social enterprises, start-ups and businesses less than five years old, across three different categories: food; textiles; and household products, technology and services.
An independent panel of experts consisting of circular economy experts, grant giving and innovation, as well as a senior representative from John Lewis, will meet in March 2022 to review submissions and the grantees will be announced in April 2022.
Marija Rompani, director of ethics & sustainability at the partnership, 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.”
She added: “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.”
Saskia Restorick, director at Hubbub, commented: “There are some exciting innovations happening right now and it’s fantastic that the John Lewis Partnership is creating this fund to back some of these.”
[Image credit: John Lewis Partnership]