John Lewis_Hubbub_Circular_Future_Fund

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has launched The Circular Future Fund, an initiative that will award a total of £1m over a year to projects that demonstrate trailblazing, scalable innovations that can accelerate the transition towards a more circular economy.

JLP is partnering with environmental charity Hubbub to support the chosen projects and measure the impact of the grants.

The retailer is looking for innovators with a pioneering new approach to challenge the outdated ‘make…use…throw away’ model, whether it’s rethinking waste with new products or materials, finding creative ways to shift consumer mindsets or developing new business models and services.

The fund was raised from sales of 10p plastic bags and will provide grants between £150,000 and £300,000.

Applications for The Circular Future Fund open on 22 November and close on 9 January 2022, with ideas welcomed from a range of organisations including academia, charities, social enterprises, start-ups and businesses less than five years old, across three product areas.

In the food arena, examples of solutions could include full supply chain food waste reduction, smart food waste solutions or changes in consumption awareness and behaviour change.

Textiles, and household products, technology and services are the other areas of focus.

Organisations can apply via The Circular Future Fund website.

An independent panel of experts consisting of representatives from the circular economy, grant giving and innovation as well as a senior representative from JLP will meet in March 2022 to review submissions and the grantees will be announced in April 2022.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at JLP, 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.”