The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever have joined the Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) 100+ Accelerator programme, to fund and pilot sustainable innovation in supply chains.

Launched in 2018, 100+ Accelerator is a global incubator programme that works to solve supply chain challenges across water stewardship, circular packaging, upcycling, sustainable agriculture and climate action. Over the last two years, the programme has accelerated 36 companies in 16 countries. These start-ups have raised more than $200 million and are scaling globally to achieve the programme’s mission, to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable options and, ‘to do business the right way, not the easy way.’             

In addition to funding pilot programmes, 100+ Accelerator provides ‘hands-on’ support to start-ups by assigning dedicated teams to help test out new technologies in large global supply chains. The addition of Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever will expand this and further establish the value proposition of the AB InBev 100+ Accelerator brand and mission.         

Examples of the programme’s successes to date include: supporting the development of one of the UK’s first mindful drinking movements; the implementation of green cleaning technology, to reduce water and energy use in brewing operations in Colombia; traceability and insurance for smallholder farmers in Africa and South America; the collection of more than 1000 tons of glass waste in Brazil; the use of recycled electric vehicle batteries to store renewable electricity in China; upcycling saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the US; and the first solar thermal system to be installed at an AB InBev plant.

Tony Milikin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer at AB InBev, said, ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever join us as founding partners in the 100+ Accelerator.

‘Together, we are striving to supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding and accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable. Sustainable business is smart business, and we are working to solve huge problems that no one company can handle alone. With our combined global reach, we can accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future.’

Brian Smith, president and chief operating officer at Coca-Cola, said, ‘Sustainability is foundational to how we conduct business and shape our strategies. We are committed to working with partners including innovators to bring more sustainable solutions to market by leveraging our size and scale. We are pleased to be a partner of the 100+ Accelerator.’

Patricia Verduin, chief technology officer at Colgate-Palmolive, added, ‘Colgate’s purpose is clear – we are reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets, and our planet. We know that we can achieve our purpose faster and more effectively with equally committed partners like AB InBev, Coca-Cola and Unilever. By becoming a founding member of the 100+ Accelerator, we are elevating sustainability, expediting the innovation process and ultimately maximising our collective impact.’

Embedded within the programme is also a focus on social challenges, which are inextricably linked to progress on the environment. From its infancy, the 100+ Accelerator has developed global partnerships including One Young World and Female Founders Alliance, as well as dozens of local and regional relationships to build a pipeline of diverse founders.

Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, commented, ‘The 100+ Accelerator allows industries to work together to propel sustainable innovation. Partnerships like these are critical for transforming global supply chains towards a greener future.

‘The programme’s social inequality component is also aligned with Unilever’s values; this year, we made commitments to ensure that everyone who directly provides us with goods and services receives a living wage by 2030, we’re increasing our spend with suppliers from underrepresented groups and committed to train 10 million young people. Through the power of our companies combined, I’m excited about the impact that the program will bring. We need to tackle climate change and social inequality to provide a world that is positive and healthy for people and the planet.’