Incubators for Sustainable Growth: Introducing the 2018 P4G Start-up Partnerships

Launched this year, P4G is emerging as a leading global forum for identifying and incubating innovative public-private partnerships for accelerating sustainable development. P4G, funded by the Danish government and hosted at World Resources Institute, is leveraging the power of partnerships in pursuit of new business and finance models that also implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The 11 P4G Start-up Partnerships were selected following a global competition that attracted 450 applications from 80 countries.

“These partnerships have innovative business solutions and the potential to bring about systemic change that can address many of the important environmental and sustainability issues the world faces,” said P4G Global Director, Ian de Cruz. “They give a flavour of what P4G is and represents a practical next step   in collaboration between the private and public sector in addressing the growth opportunities presented by the SDGs.”


  • Sustainable Food Platform

The Sustainable Food Platform, led by DanChurchAid, along with Arla Foods Ingredients, aims to rethink market-based solutions to promote food security for poor and vulnerable people living in refugee camps and local host communities. The partnership will tap into existing knowledge and bring together local producers with global partners in an “innovation platform,” which will develop and test low-tech and energy-efficient food solutions (e.g. nutritious and affordable products like biscuits and porridge) to promote nutrition and sustainable livelihoods for the poor. The country focus will be in Ethiopia, with links to Uganda and Kenya, where more than 2 million refugees live today.

  • The Food Loss and Waste Action Partnership

The Food Loss and Waste Action Partnership, led by the Food and Land Use Coalition, will build a cross-sector program to reduce food loss and waste in Indonesia. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one-third of all food produced annually for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. In Indonesia, a country of 260 million people, the equivalent of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) per person is wasted, largely before fruits, vegetables, and grains reach consumers.  The Coalition will support partner companies with strategies and practices to implement better storage technologies, improve shipping and distribution, and train staff to help them meet their food loss and waste targets.

  • Towards Large-Scale Digital Decision Support Systems for Farmers

Towards Large-Scale Digital Decision Support Systems for Farmers combines Big Data with food security to better inform real-time decision making for rural farmers in Africa. Focused in Malawi, this partnership through the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, Digital Impact Alliance, and Viamo will allow Malawian farmers to access data especially related to site-specific use of fertilizer. This data platform will be accessible to farmers via voice response and SMS. Consequently, farmers will be able to make decisions on-the-spot and in-the-moment, thus increasing efficiency and supporting productive harvests. Through its connection with P4G, this partnership will invest in streamlining and developing IT architecture that can support many thousands of users in Malawi to enable timely, site-specific advice on a national scale.

WATER (SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation)

  • Business-Humanitarian Partnership

Business-Humanitarian Partnership Lab developed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Grundfos. The partnership will develop a multi-year, business model around sustainable water solutions to refugee settlements and surrounding hosting communities in Uganda, replacing relatively expensive and unsustainable trucking of water with solar-driven water systems linked to better water access and safe water management.

  • Partnership for Blended Finance on Water

The partnership, led by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST)  ASSIST, along with Grundfos, focuses on Vietnam’s drinking water infrastructure by developing blended finance models for greater investment in the sector. The investment will support technologies and practices that reduce the percent of non-revenue generating water from 22 percent to a goal of 15 percent by 2025, which also reduces energy consumption. The partnership also involves a coalition of Vietnam-based organizations and the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).   

ENERGY (SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy)

  • Energise Africa

Energise Africa is the product of the joint efforts of Ethex and Lendahand, two of Europe’s leading online impact investing platforms. The partnership aims to demonstrate how UK-based retail impact investors can provide affordable finance for pioneering solar businesses operating in Africa to accelerate universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Energise Africa makes it possible to start investing with just £50 in solar businesses installing systems in rural, Sub-Saharan African homes – allowing “pay-as-you-go” flexibility to low income households across Africa, bringing clean energy alternatives to families otherwise dependent on kerosene or diesel.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY (SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production)

  • Circular Economy Retrofitting of Chinese Industrial Parks

In 2017, industry accounted for more than 40 percent of China’s GDP. Chinese industrial parks – vast expanses of land set aside to house the factories and systems that keep manufacturing at pace – are large enough that cities are growing around them. While a cornerstone for China’s leading economy, this explosion of industry has incurred negative environmental effects including major contributions to world greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion and environmental pollution. This partnership between the China Association of Circular Economy, Carbon Trust, Anhui Lu’an Yeji Economic Development Zone Administrative Committee and the Overseas Development Institute, aims to solve this problem by introducing new models and best practices in China’s expansive industrial parks to better align with the country’s ambition to become a more “ecological civilization”. The partnership will use circular economy principles – reduce, reuse and recycle – to re-focus industrial processes and lessen the environmental impact of industrial parks. Through alliance-building between national and local governments, businesses and park administration committees, the partnership will gain support for both increased investment in sustainable manufacturing as well as better technical supporting tools for implementation. Initially focusing on a demonstration project at the Yeji Industrial Park, located in Anhui Province neighboring Shanghai, the partnership will develop a model for more sustainable industrial park practices to be scaled across China and eventually on the global stage.

  • Global Distributors Collective

This partnership will support businesses which distribute products that meet the needs of poor consumers, such as solar lights, water filters, clean cookstoves and nutrition products. These technologies and the markets needed to deliver them are essential to achieving the SDGs. However, a collective of last mile distribution companies, hosted by Practical Action with implementing partners BoP Innovation Centre and Hystra, will act as a collective voice for “last mile” distributors to help attract investment, shape policy and create an enabling environment for distributors to thrive.

  • Partnership for a New Plastics Economy in Kenya

This partnership is developed by Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) with support from the South African PET Recycling Company, Retail Traders Association of Kenya (RETRAK), BESIC Group Ltd, Discovery Brands, Ital 3D solutions, County Government of Kiambu, Kenya Climate Change Innovation Center (KCIC), and The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership focuses on plastic waste management in Kenya – 1.3 million kg plastic waste is generated weekly in Kenya. The partnership will increase the use of recycled plastic products and improve the collection of plastic waste through voluntary schemes and policy recommendations. The Danish EPA is engaged in the partnership through a Strategic Sector Cooperation project on recycling of plastic products between the Danish EPA and Kenyan authorities.

  • Vietnam Materials Marketplace

Vietnam Materials Marketplace is a cloud-based materials trading system that directs Vietnam’s booming manufacturing industries towards the circular economy. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing countries in Asia, hosting a thriving manufacturing economy and serving as a hub for much of the world’s material flows. But the amount of materials deposited in Vietnam’s landfills is a significant health and environmental challenge. The Pathway21 Materials Marketplace will help manufacturers reduce both waste disposal and excessive production through an online, cloud-based marketplace where manufacturers can buy, sell or trade materials and equipment suitable for further or alternative use. This model will move industrial waste up the value chain into its highest and best use, reducing environmental impact and using circular economy principles to grow Vietnam’s economy in a sustainable and resilient way.  Through support from The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Materials Marketplace will use proven models from other industry hubs around the world to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance quality of life in Vietnam.

  • Food Delivery Companies for SDG 12
Sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future and leading mobile food delivery service foodpanda are embarking on a joint partnership to eliminate single-use plastic waste from the food delivery ecosystem in Asia. Working together with several food and beverage companies, the partnership aims to develop a shared protocol for reducing the use of single-use plastics, which food delivery companies and their food and beverage partners can easily adopt within their operations. In designing the plastic waste reduction protocol, Forum for the Future will bring its rich experience in catalyzing system-wide transformational change and developing systemic plastic reduction strategies with partners in various industries worldwide – including the influential #OneLess movement to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the City of London. The protocol will be tested in two South-East Asia markets to help ensure that it is designed for easy adoption across all food delivery platforms.

For more information, please contact:

Frank Walter

Head of Communications, P4G

(202) 271-7727

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