Start-ups and corporates: a good match

Probably everyone is familiar with Apple’s garage start-up history. What had been a crazy vision back then, is now one of the world’s most successful companies. Speaking in start-up terms, Apple was a pioneer: an innovative idea that society was not ready for yet. While start-ups are often good at spotting new trends and changes in consumer behaviour, it is the big companies that have the money and market share to make an impact. This is where the advantage of start-ups cooperating with big corporates lies.

A strong partnership: RePack and Zalando

A great example of this concept is RePack and Zalando. In 2019, the Finnish start-up and Green Alley Award winner announced their cooperation with fashion retail giant Zalando which is aiming to become a sustainable fashion platform. The company is committed to generating 20 percent of its gross merchandise volume with more sustainable products by 2023, as well as only working with partners who align with its ethical standards. One aspect of Zalando’s sustainability commitment is reducing the amount of packaging it produces.

Christof Trowitz, Business Developer for Austria, Germany and Switzerland at RePack, explains: “We established business relations with Zalando already a couple of years ago. And when the time was right for them, we were able to offer our expertise and best practice experiences.”

For Zalando that meant starting a test run with RePack’s sustainable packaging. Along with Zalando, RePack has also started working together with Otto, Tchibo and the Avocado store.

Awards and accelerators for promoting change

Sulapac, a Finnish start-up and another Green Alley Award winner, develops sustainable packaging made of wood and natural adhesives. In 2019, Sulapac and Stora Enso announced the launch of the first biodegradable drinking straws. The straw decomposes fully, without leaving any permanent microplastics behind. Moreover, it comes with outstanding usability: it doesn’t get soggy and can be used for up to 24 hours.

“For a small start-up, achieving global reach is not easy, and therefore it is valuable to partner up with big players, like we have done with Stora Enso. We believe in the power of cooperation in a wider sense: we have to take an interdisciplinary approach and work together with all stakeholders across industries and sectors to drive the circular economy,” explains Sulapac CEO Suvi Haimi.

The 2020/21 Green Alley Award could lead to interesting partnerships for your start-up. Remember the application phase is still open until 17 November!

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