- Bupa launched the eco-Disruptive global talent and innovation programme seven months ago.
- Bupa squads in four countries engaged with 900 eco start-ups and partnered with 18 to develop viable solutions across six challenge areas that positively impact the health of the planet and the health of people.
- As the first winner, Bupa will invest in Circoolar to continue to develop its pilot focused on turning plastic bottles into fabric, making ethical and sustainable uniforms for healthcare professionals.
London, 2 December 2021
Spanish start-up Circoolar is the first winner of Bupa’s first global eco-Disruptive talent and innovation programme. Circoolar received the most votes from Bupa’s employees worldwide for its pilot focused on making ethical and sustainable uniforms by turning plastic bottles into fabric. Australian start-up AirSeed and the UK’s Upcycled Medical were the runners-up.
From an initial 900 start-ups, Circoolar was one of 18 selected from Spain, Chile, Australia and the UK to work with Bupa squads and receive funding to develop viable pilot products or services that positively impact the environment and human health.
Recognising the link between the health of the planet and people’s health, eco-Disruptive focused on six challenge areas: climate change and carbon reduction; sustainable transport and clean air; the circular economy and responsible consumption; biodiversity; healthy cities and citizens; and education and behaviour change.
Iñaki Ereño, Bupa’s Group CEO, said: “eco-Disruptive shows how we can disrupt traditional thinking and harness agile ways of working to create solutions to some of the big challenges our planet is facing. Huge congratulations to Circoolar and the Bupa team who’ve worked together to develop this pilot. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve achieved in such a short period.”
“This first eco-Disruptive programme has exceeded all our expectations. It has become a movement within Bupa. Our people have been energised and inspired by the amazing solutions our squads and partner start-ups have developed. A huge thank you to everyone who took part. We’re already planning to make this a bigger programme in 2022.”
Nigel Sullivan, Bupa’s Chief Sustainability & People Officer, added: “Plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from production to refining and the way it is managed as a waste product. The innovative work that Circoolar is doing will play an important role in minimising this impact. This is important to us given the clear links between planet health and human health.
“Bupa has just started a journey to become a net zero business across all emissions by 2040. This is an ambitious target and we know that no organisation can secure a sustainable future alone. This means we need to learn from each other, pilot new ideas and innovate together.”
Luis Ribo, cofounder of Circoolar said: “Circoolar’s participation in Bupa’s eco-Disruptive programme and what we have learned from it has really helped accelerated our path to commercialisation. Each of our uniforms prevents waste from 18 plastic bottles ending up in the ocean or landfill, and we guarantee they will be recycled at the end of their useful life. They’re sustainable and designed to be zero waste, and also ethical, as they are made by vulnerable women at risk of exclusion who are learning new skills”.
Jamie Requejo Garcia-Abril, Bupa eco-Disruptive team member said: “I’ve had an amazing experience participating in eco-Disruptive. I’ve learnt so much from my colleagues and the start-ups and I feel really proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to develop solutions that can make a real difference to the health of our communities and planet.”
Bupa will invest a further £200,000 to help Circoolar produce their ethical and sustainable uniforms for healthcare professionals across all Bupa countries. Bupa will also invest in the two other finalist start-ups. This work will help Bupa to further deliver against our Net Zero ambitions and fulfil our purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.
We will confirm the next stage of eco-Disruptive in the near future.