Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL), the country’s leading FMCG (FMCG) manufacturing and marketing company, has jointly launched the ‘Transform Climate Challenge’ programme. The company is partnered with the UK Government and Ernst & Young-EY, The Sajida Foundation, The British Asian Trust. The aim of this ‘Impact Accelerator’ is to make Bangladesh climate resilient and increase plastic circularity through innovative business ideas. This information was given in a notification on Friday (November 3).
Experience working on Unilever, UK Government and EY’s ‘Transform’ programme, which has already positively impacted the lives of over 10 million people; Among them are 3 million Bangladeshis.
Sajida Foundation and The British Asian Trust have jointly implemented the ‘Transform Climate Challenge’; This joint partnership aims to collaborate with social innovators in the agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors and work together to implement plastic circularity.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cook, Chairman and Managing Director of UBL Javed Akhtar and representatives of UBL’s senior officials and partners of the initiative attended the event titled ‘Transform Climate Challenge’ held at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh.
Under the ‘Transform Climate Challenge’, innovative businesses will receive over Rs 5.5 crore for capital, business monitoring and linkages across the corporate value chain. This Impact Accelerator program will identify and select Bangladeshi organizations working on plastic waste collection and processing and capacity building for plastic recycling and help advance their work.
Entrepreneurs can apply from November 1, 2023 and successful applicants will be awarded grants of up to Tk 90 lakh per enterprise to test and expand their projects, learning, exchange and networking opportunities with other grantees from Unilever and EY through ‘Transform’.
The program will use data from EY’s research to understand how plastics are recycled in India and Bangladesh. The new report highlights the impact of increased plastic waste production, inadequate waste management infrastructure, limited recycling facilities and insufficient public awareness of the problem. The report also states that we need innovative solutions to use plastics in the right way and lack resourcing of financially viable business models to achieve long-term sustainable solutions.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cook said, “Partnership and innovation are the two main issues of the transform model. This model empowers entrepreneurs who know and work with their communities. The UK Government’s grant funding, Unilever and EY’s experience and network of social enterprises will contribute to tackling key environmental challenges by making a positive impact through collaboration.”
Javed Akhtar, Chairman and Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL), said, “Our experience has shown that tackling complex plastic waste management challenges requires seamless solutions from innovative startups and new businesses. Working collaboratively with innovators is key to increasing circularity. While our initiative promotes systemic change to keep plastics in the recycling loop, we recognize that tackling plastic pollution is a collective effort. This partnership between the UK Government, Unilever and EY reflects a collaborative spirit, leading to the innovation and expansion of ‘Transform’. Through the ‘Transform Climate Challenge’ program jointly run by the Sajida Foundation and the British Asian Trust, entrepreneurial organizations will not only receive grants but also valuable advice and guidance. I congratulate this team for creating a holistic program in establishing the concept of sustainability in the country. Innovative companies that ‘transform’ are already finding new, solvable solutions to problems around the world and across the Unilever supply chain. We are proud to expand the model through the ‘Transform Climate Challenge’ and look forward to hearing more from more Bangladeshi innovators who are capable of making a difference from the ground up.”