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SB'12 Innovation Open Results

Kicking off the Sustainable Brands ’12 Innovation Open, Sustainable Brands Designer & Creative Manager, Ben Pawsey, addressed the audience, explaining the rules and rewards of the competition. SBIO’s eclectic board of judges, including executives from Recyclebank, PRé North America, Inc, Unilever, Target and a number of other sustainability business leaders, examined entrants’ proposals to establish the first seven finalists. To determine the eighth finalist, SBIO partnered with GOOD Maker, an online production of GOOD Magazine that enables organizations to generate, promote, support, and implement innovative ideas for social change.

The eight finalist received free admission to SB’12, where they will had the chance to network with and pitch to nearly 1,500 sustainable brand business leaders, including a global live-stream audience. After another round of judging, there were now four companies left standing.

Pawsey stated that the winning company would be awarded a free pass to SB’13, consultancy time with investors, designers and communications professionals and other prizes and perks to be revealed at the conference. More importantly, the winner will receive significant visibility, strategic support and recognition from this influential community of brand and thought leaders.

After Pawsey’s introduction, the final four made their respective cases for why they ought to be the SBIO winner.

Solar Mosaic

Solar Mosaic’s representatives first took the stage, telling the audience that solar energy is still one of the most underutilized – only 300,000 Americans live in solar powered homes. Although many people would like to invest in things they are passionate about, like solar, but can’t with today’s complex system. Solar Mosaic attempts to democratize solar investment by creating a marketplace that allows individuals to invest in local solar projects. Through several investments of varying sizes, solar projects are funded and the investors are paid. The company imagines a future where everyone can go solar, if not in their own home, than through hundreds of tiny investments.

PlanetReuse Marketplace

PlanetReuse told the audience that 40% of landfills are filled with waste that comes from building construction and demolition. Although there are 1,1000 reuse centers in the country, none of these stores offer online sales. By 2020, the industry is expected to be worth $1.8 billion without online sales. PlanetReuse developed an all-in-one mobile solution for reuse, offering inventory management, point of sale and e-commerce. By making it easier for people to purchase reuse materials, the company hopes to reduce the landfill from building materials to 30% by 2020.

Ecofiltro

Ecofiltro presented to the audience a social innovation that is already improving the lives of thousands in developing countries. In poor rural areas of the world, access to clean drinking water is one of the leading public health problems that sickens and kills countless people every year. Focusing first on rural Guatemala, Ecofiltro began selling for a mere $2, its simple filter that provides clean drinking water, employing local artisans and potters to make the product. Not only does Ecofiltro provide a cheap, life-saving service for the world’s poorest, but it also engages and revitalizing local economies by providing jobs. Better yet, when the Ecofiltro has reached it end-of-life, the product is 100% biodegradable.

Bike and Park

Bike and Park helps reduce the need for polluting vehicles by making bike commuting easy, cheap and convenient. Customers can rent bikes at Bike and Park stations, ride to another station, drop it off and even shower and clean their clothes before heading on foot to their destination.

After the presentation, the audience was able to vote for their favorite company and the board of judges made their final decision. Later that night at the SB’12 BBQ, the 2012 SBIO winner was announced – Ecofiltro! Bike and Park won the People’s Choice vote.