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AB InBev launches accelerator for sustainability start-ups: ‘We know we can’t solve all the sustainability challenges alone’

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

AB InBev launches sustainability start-up accelerator 100+ Accelerator

Related tags: Ab inbev, Beer, Sustainability

Beer giant AB InBev today launches its ‘100+ Accelerator’: an accelerator program for start-ups working on the most pressing global sustainability issues. It will select 10 partners in its first round this year; investing $100,000 in each.

The world’s largest brewer is inviting academics, entrepreneurs, scientists and technologies to apply to take part in the accelerator, which starts in October.

AB InBev is looking for applications in 10 areas close to its business: such as smart agriculture; packaging; technology to increase efficiency; and greener logistics.

Leveraging AB InBev’s scale and resources

While many of the largest F&B companies have accelerator programs for start-ups and fledgling ideas, AB InBev’s 100+ Accelerator focuses solely on those that seek to address sustainability challenges.

The accelerator will draw on insights from ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s existing global incubator. It will begin with a pilot sprint for each chosen start-up to validate product-market fit; followed by a structured curriculum focused on integrating with a large corporate partner, and looking at the best practices for scaling up operations.

The 10 focus areas have been drawn on from its 2025 sustainability goals,​ which were set out earlier this year. As part of this, AB InBev already has a number of sustainability projects in motion; but says the accelerator is an acknowledgement that it can’t tackle all the challenges alone.

100+ Accelerator: 10 focus areas

Every Single Drop: ​The UN describes water scarcity as one of the ‘main problems to be faced by many societies and the world in the 21st century.’ How can we address watershed conservation, improve water access, and reduce water wastage?

Smart Agriculture: ​Agriculture science is rapidly advancing and significantly impacting crop yields and crop survivability - yet many growers don’t have access to that technology. How do we bridge the gap between advancement and access - how can we prevent crops from disease and pests, how can we use technology to ensure zero waste occurs in the sorting of malt barley?

Close The Loop: ​The future will depend on a circular economy. What greener alternatives exist for packaging, how can we make sure that collection and recycling of waste is more efficient in developing economies? 

The Future of Brewing: ​We believe the future of brewing will be transformed by new technology and innovation. How can we use technology throughout the brewing process to increase efficiency and reduce waste?

Carbon Action: ​Companies must be proactive in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. What are the cutting-edge renewable energy solutions for farms, how can technology be used to monitor energy and increase efficiency and what new solutions are there for removing carbon from the atmosphere?

Safer & Greener Logistics: ​The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels. How can smart, safe, fuel-efficient logistics transform the supply chain footprint?

Responsible Sourcing: ​Adhering to high ethical standards is the right thing to do and provides for a better, safer world. How can we increase transparency of complex supply chains, and what scalable solutions could enhance responsible sourcing practices?

Empowering Small Business: ​AB InBev works with millions of small business owners across our supply chain. How can we effectively disseminate knowledge and transfer technology throughout our supply chain? How can we promote economic productivity through digital training and financial inclusion?

Waste To Wellbeing: ​The current food supply and how we consume globally is not sustainable. Can the millions of tons of grain and yeast co-product be repurposed and used to help feed those who need it?

All Hands: ​We have 200,000 employees and are ready to make a difference. How can AB InBev improve its working environment to make it more focused on recycling, conserving water and travelling more efficiently?

Find out more at 100accelerator.com

“We defined our 2025 Sustainability Goals earlier this year, focusing on four key areas that are integral to our business; smart agriculture, water stewardship, circular packaging and climate action, which are themselves closely aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,”​ Maisie Devine, global director for 100+ Accelerator, told BeverageDaily.   

“There are a number of internal projects that are already underway, such as our work on boosting British barley crop yields through our Bud Farmers program.

“We want to empower entrepreneurs who are solving problems in their own communities. The 100+ Accelerator will draw on our company’s entrepreneurial spirit and our constant drive to deliver faster, better results.”

maisie devine
Maisie Devine, global director, 100+ Accelerator

"However, we know that we can’t solve all these sustainability challenges alone, so we are engaging entrepreneurs, innovative and scientists all over the world to partner with us to address these issues.

"We are excited to leverage all the resources and scale of AB InBev to fuel the growth of these companies.”

The process

Applications for the accelerator close on September 14 at midnight PST.

Selected winners will be announced later in the month, with the program kicking off in New York City in October and running through to March 2019.

The program will culminate in a Global Demo Day in Leuven, Belgium, where start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch for further funding from 100+ as well as from external investors.

“We are looking to select at least one partner for each of the 10 initial challenges for this inaugural program,”​ said Devine.

“Importantly, the 100+ Accelerator will be an annual program and we have the ambition to solve over 100 of the world’s greatest sustainability challenges, so this is just the first cohort of a longstanding initiative.”

Successful applications will receive mentorship, funding and access to new networks.

“The 100+ Accelerator is about creating collective action: bringing people together to solve complex issues, support new technologies and share the solutions we develop with our suppliers, external partners and other companies. We want to accelerate change for the better.”

ABinBev sustainability agriculture

Applications for the accelerator can be submitted via 100accelerator.com​ 

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