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P&G India sets up ₹200 crore fund to invest in startups focused on sustainability

Procter and Gamble India, the local arm of one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, has set up a 200-crore environmental sustainability fund to offer sustainable solutions, such as plastic-free packaging and environment-friendly logistics services, in partnership with Indian businesses.

The announcement is in line with P&G’s global sustainability goals aimed at creating a positive impact on the environment and society, the company said on Thursday.

P&G will invest in startups or companies whose sustainable business solutions, spanning logistics, packaging, supply chain, etc., can benefit its consumer goods business.

“Environmental sustainability is a key pillar of our citizenship efforts, and embedded in our business strategy,” said Madhusudan Gopalan, managing director and chief executive officer, P&G Indian Subcontinent.

“We know that solving the biggest challenges requires collaboration that enables people, planet and businesses to thrive. We are delighted to set-up the environmental sustainability fund to collaborate with external partners in India, that are offering cutting-edge environmentally sustainable solutions in line with our strategy,” said Gopalan.

The sustainability fund is an extension of the company’s multimillion-dollar Innovation Sourcing Fund, which was launched last year to invest in Indian startups.

So far, P&G has invested 200 crore through its Innovation Sourcing Fund. It has collaborated with organizations providing supply chain solutions, raw material and packaging innovations, and productivity ideas. “We have already invested more than 200 crore on implementing innovative solutions in collaboration with external partners from across India,” Gopalan added.

P&G had received over 1,000 applications from startups, small businesses, university incubation centres and large organizations in 2018. It has invested in ideas that could help its business grow in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The company declined to share the names of businesses it has invested in.

However, it added that P&G will continue to invest in innovative solutions via the innovation fund.

Its focus on finding sustainable solutions for its business comes at a time when consumers the world over are seeking to engage with more responsible brands.

As a result, companies are rushing to reduce their carbon footprint, find alternatives to toxic plastic packaging, and even invest in ethical sourcing, amid a global push to be more environmentally conscious.

On Thursday, P&G also launched the second edition of ‘P&G vGROW External Business Partner Summit’—a platform to identify and collaborate with businesses and individuals offering industry-leading solutions.

“We are confident that this year, through ‘vGROW’, we will be able to identify and implement transformational sustainable solutions from partners across India that will lead to a positive impact on the environment while creating value for the company, partners and consumers,” Gopalan added.

The second edition of the two-day summit was inaugurated on Thursday.

This year, it is focused on identifying and implementing “step-changing environmentally-sustainable solutions like packaging innovations, renewable sources of energy and reducing carbon footprint”, the company said.

P&G isn’t alone though to capitalize on India’s growing startup ecosystem.

Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer giant Unilever, has made several investments in India

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