John Lewis launches £1m sustainable innovation fund to tackle ‘throwaway’ culture

The John Lewis Partnership has created a £1m fund inviting academics, charities and start-ups to pitch sustainable ideas
The Circular Future Fund is focused on food, textiles and household products.
// The John Lewis Partnership has created a £1m fund inviting academics, charities and start-ups to pitch sustainable ideas
// The fund is aimed at academia, charities, social enterprises and businesses that are less than five years old

The John Lewis Partnership is launching a £1m fund that will channel cash into projects with the potential to end the high street’s “throwaway” culture.

The department store giant, which operates both the John Lewis and Waitrose fascias, is inviting academics, charities and start-ups that have ideas with the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the food, clothing and gadgets we buy, to pitch for a share of the money.

Those successful will the be given grants of £150,000 to £300,000.


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The fund is aimed at academia, charities, social enterprises and businesses that are less than five years old.

The Circular Future Fund is focused on food, textiles and household products. Winning ideas could have the answer to food waste in the supply chain or consumers’ homes, or, with the fashion industry a big polluter, a more sustainable production method or material.

John Lewis, which raised the £1 million from the sale of 10p plastic bags in stores, said it hoped to unearth “scalable” ideas that could be shared and in doing so accelerate the transition towards a more circular economy.

John Lewis director of ethics and sustainability Marija Rompani said: “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.”

Applications for the fund will close on January 9, and an independent panel will review from March with the grants being awarded in April.

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