The Eco Warriors that Tagged Web Summit 2018 (Part 1)

If you didn’t get your ticket or the Web Summit Lisbon 2018 program passed you by, don’t worry: here are the best eco warriors and talks of this Web Summit Lisbon 2018.

TIPA-Corp - “How we hacked plastic”

TIPA-Corp’s founder, Daphna Nissenbaum, showed how she developed her concept of “plastic” - a material that shares some of the properties of normal plastic (transparency, flexibility, and food compatibility) but is completely biodegradable and compostable in six months.

The speaker warned that the worldwide recycling rate for plastic is 9% and still 75% of these are disposable.

Although being slightly more expensive (from 0,01€ to 0,04€ per package), the material used in Tipa-Corp packaging doesn’t entail logistic changes in the supermarkets, as it can be used by the same machines and has the same shelf life (expiration date).

Web Summit 2018 - TIPA-Corp Plastic

With 7 approved patents, they are already contacting thin film companies to create a global change. Despite the fact that the first generation of “plastic” only supports dry or low moisture foods, the second one, that will be launched next year, might be used in water bottles.

They have worked with the Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza to make it the first supermarket without conventional plastic.

China’s boycott of plastic imports, the European Union’s focus on Circular Economy and the disposable plastic ban in Portugal appear to be the right steps towards a more sustainable future.

Ana Salcedo - Zero Waste Lab

This Web Summit, Ana Salcedo presented the Zero Waste Lab project, in which she intends to develop collaborative solutions to live without plastic.

During the time she was on stage, she talked about the projects she has been developing for a year and a half, addressing 3 areas with different partners:

  1. Education and Awareness;

The Oceanário de Lisboa project aims to sensitize students to the preservation of marine wildlife and to the use of disposables that end at the sea.

  1. Experimentation and Technology;

The PlasticOCircular project was tried at the Boom Festival in Idanha-a-Nova, by challenging festivalgoers to bring plastic trash and turn it into beads for bracelets, through a 3D printer.

The project ECO WATER intends to avoid the massive production of disposable bottles by filling big bottles with filtered water at Pingo Doce stores. Ana pointed out that this is not the ideal solution since it’s more sustainable and 10 times cheaper to drink tap water (according to DECO). ;)

  1. Societal Change.

Awareness through art, with the collaboration of Xico Gaivota - manufacturing art through plastic collected in the ocean.

Tony Milikin (Anheuser-Busch Inbev) - “Raising a Glass to sustainability”

Beer production uses many resources and activities: from water to barley (since it is planted, packaged and transported).

The energy consumed is so high that until 2025 AB InBev is committed to getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources in its entire internal energy footprint, 10% distributed through direct electricity consumption, 33% through packaging and 25% through transportation.

This way, AB InBev, as the world’s largest consumer of packaging, by requiring new packaging to incorporate a percentage of recycled material, oblige their suppliers to reuse and value the packaging they produce.

In regards to energy, by treating the water waste they isolate the hydrogen, which they use to fill hydrogen lorries making zero CO2 emissions through transportation.

Web Summit Lisbon 2018 - Sustainability Goals 2025 Infographic

“Sustainability is our business”, Tony Milikin.

At the innovation level, they annually present the 100 challenges that the company faces, supporting the startups and researchers who want to solve them.

One of the fairest applications they support is BanQu, in which it is possible to trace what percentage was given to farmers through crypto-currencies, paying them a fairer amount and reducing the influence of intermediaries.

Finally, Tony Milikin promoted the idea that a company that does not link sustainability to its economic growth is bound to fail and that AB InBev is an example that this change is possible maintaining a profitable business - in 2017 AB InBev had a turnover of 60 billion dollars.

This was the first part of our selection of eco warriors at this Web Summit Lisbon 2018. In the next article, we will talk about some more inspirational cases we heard on Web Summit, such as Patagonia’s history and a debate with Christiana Figueres, one of the leaders of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

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