USD 2 million to support start-ups and innovations in Waste Management

H&M Foundation and Social Alpha have joined hands to launch “Techtonic – Innovations in Waste Management”, a nationwide grand challenge in India to identify and curate locally designed, disruptive innovations addressing problems in waste management and improving the livelihoods of waste pickers.

Through “Techtonic – Innovations in Waste Management, H&M Foundation and Social Alpha aim to create an enabling ecosystem stack for innovators and entrepreneurs developing waste management solutions with a focus on supply chains efficiencies, logistics traceability and waste to value systems. Waste pickers are a vital part of the waste management system, and waste management and material recycling are an essential component of a circular economy. H&M Foundation see an urgent need to support innovations in order to speed up the process of creating value out of waste. 

“With H&M Foundation’s entrepreneurial heritage and spirit, we see it as both essential and inspirational to use technology and innovation to create social change. New ideas are needed for positive development, and waste management and material recycling are fundamental components of a circular economy. We are happy to support this innovation challenge and are excited to see what impact it will have,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation.

“With H&M Foundation’s entrepreneurial heritage and spirit, we see it as both essential and inspirational to use technology and innovation to create social change.”

Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation

The five winners of Techtonic will join the first cohort of Social Alpha Waste Innovations Accelerator and receive support in their lab-to-market journey. The Accelerator is supported by H&M Foundation by 1 million USD (10 million SEK). Social Alpha is then matching this sum by investing another 1 million USD in the top three innovations in which they see the greatest potential.

 “We believe that climate action can be catalysed by accelerating entrepreneurial solutions to waste management challenges. Deep science and technology innovations will provide the much needed impetus to create circular economic models and enhance livelihood opportunities for millions of waste warriors engaged in this sector. We are delighted to partner with H&M Foundation to nurture entrepreneurship for social, economic and environmental impact – which represents a unique triple bottom-line paradigm,” says Manoj Kumar, Founder and CEO, Social Alpha.

In solidarity with waste pickers


Techtonic – Innovations in Waste Management is part of a new multi-partner collaboration where H&M Foundation addresses improvement in the quality of life of waste pickers in Bangalore. The initiative, called Saamuhika Shakthi, aims to build systemic change in the waste management ecosystem. It is unique in the way that it takes a holistic approach to improve the living conditions of waste pickers and support them in various aspects such as social security, education etc. and by working with different partners from different sectors.  

“H&M Foundation has always wanted to take a systems change mindset in how we work, our ambition is to address root causes instead of the symptoms of social problems.”

Maria Bystedt, Strategy Lead, H&M Foundation

“H&M Foundation has always wanted to take a systems change mindset in how we work, our ambition is to address root causes instead of the symptoms of social problems. We also believe that change is best achieved when a diverse group of people join forces and commit to a common agenda to solve complex challenges. By bringing together eight fantastic partners to work towards the same goal, we are confident that we can achieve more and contribute to creating long-term positive change,” says Maria Bystedt, Strategy Lead, H&M Foundation.

The other partners within Saamuhika Shakthi are BBC Media Action, LabourNet, CARE, Hasiru Dala, Save The Children, WaterAid and the Nudge Foundation.

The last date to apply to Techtonic – Innovations in Waste Management is January 31st, 2021. Get more information and apply here.

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