SB Innovation Open London

Sponsored by:
Dragon Rouge
Premier Media Partner:
triple pundit
Technology Provider
You Noodle

The SB Innovation Open arrived in London to catalyze the progress and impact of the next generation of better brands featuring the startups who, given the right support and exposure, can contribute to a flourishing future economically, socially and environmentally. Our finalists benefited from a week of introductions to influential brands, minds, experts and designers at the Sustainable Brands London event.

Final 4 have been announced here!



Meet the previous finalists:

Fenugreen FreshPaper


Isidore Electronics Recycling


Fenugreen is taking on the massive global challenge of food waste with its simple FreshPaper innovation (25% of the world’s food supply is lost to spoilage, resulting in massive energy and resource waste). Low-cost, compostable, and infused only with organic spices, FreshPaper keeps produce fresh 2-4 times longer.


Isidore is an electronics recycling company that serves as an on-the-job training and employment program for previously incarcerated people in Los Angeles.






With offshore manufacturing, brands have lost critical visibility into supply chain factories—but when workers are abused, they’re still liable. LaborVoices gathers real-time information on working conditions in overseas factories, directly from workers’ mobile phones. LaborVoices helps brands and workers collaborate with suppliers to reduce the risks of noncompliance.


Starting in Haiti with plastic, Thread transforms trash in the poorest countries into jobs for the poor and exportable, useful stuff consumers love.


The Timeline

sbio london logo

  • Sept. 1, 2013 Entry form opens - Submit a business plan and 1-2min video explaining your company mission and methods.
  • Sept. 29, 2013 Entry form closes
  • Sept. 30, 2013 Public vote begins - A shortlist of entries will be presented for the SB community to vote for who they want to see make it to the Innovation Open finals.
  • Oct. 4, 2013 Public vote closes
  • Oct. 7, 2013 Public vote winner announced and confirmed to pitch at the finals
  • Oct. 13, 2013 Judges top 3 announced and confirmed to pitch at the finals
  • Nov. 18, 2013 The pitch! The 4 finalists will pitch their ideas to our esteemed panel of judges. A live vote will be held to pick a 'People's Choice Winner' and the judges will determine the overall 'SB London'13 Innovation Open Winner'.
  • Celebrations and commiserations ensue along with all of the regular networking that goes on throughout SB London '13.


The Prizes

4 Finalists

Philip Wilson, ecofiltro, Overall Innovation Open winner 2012

  • A full conference pass to SB London
  • Table space for 2 days at the Sustainable Brands London Expo.
  • Pitch to the full SB London audience, filled with influential brand representatives and thought leaders
  • Promotion leading up to the conference through SB News & Views
  • One on one time with our expert panel of judges
  • Two days worth of networking opportunities
  • Company description published in conference event guide

For the Overall Winner

  • Golden SB ticket to grant access to any SB Conference in 2014
  • Expert consultancy time with Dragon Rouge who design strategies, initiate the creation of new products and services, create identities and communications – and engage people in making their companies great
  • More prizes to be announced soon! Sign up for updates


How to Win



In delivering environmental or social benefit, coupled with identified impact metrics (for example, "our business innovation helps customers lower their carbon footprint by XX% compared to the product we're disrupting", or "our innovation will help customers increase savings by XX% and keep their money local, leading to more stable local economies.")

Team quality

Particularly as it relates to demonstrated track record and understanding of systemic issues of sustainability

Economic scalability

Growth and impact potential

Above and Beyond

Bonus points for disruptive innovation. The idea has approached the issue from a new perspective and is offering a solution that will truly shift the market as we know it.


The Judges

Fiona Bennie
Head of Sustainability,
Dragon Rouge

Fiona leads Dragon Rouge's work on sustainability embedding it across strategy, design and innovation.

Her work helps our clients to generate long-term value from brand-led, sustainable innovation - integrating sustainability from start to finish, throughout projects, to ensure the outputs are pioneering for the brand and fit for a sustainable, low carbon future.

In her previous role, Fiona led innovation projects at sustainable development NGO, Forum for the Future, for 4.5 years. She has worked with a number of clients on sustainable innovation and the development of future scenarios including, Bupa, Unilever, Sony, Akzo-Nobel, Marks & Spencer, Levi Strauss & Co. and Kimberly-Clark.

Fiona holds an MA in Strategic Design from the Milan Politecnico and a Postgrad Diploma in Sustainable Development from Imperial College.

Follow her on twitter @fiona_bee

Jo Confino
Executive Editor,
Guardian Sustainable Business

Jo Confino is an executive editor of the UK Guardian, chairman and editorial director of Guardian Sustainable Business and sustainability consultant to parent company Guardian Media Group (GMG).

As a journalist for the past 24 years, he has worked on regional and national newspapers and websites. He was Wall Street correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and subsequently finance and business news editor for the Guardian.

As well as producing an award-winning annual sustainability audit for GNM, the first one in the sector to be independently verified, he launched one of the world's first interactive sustainability reporting websites. He managed a unique multi-stakeholder development project in the village of Katine and supports the new Guardian global development website.

He has completed an Msc in REsponsibility and Business Practice at the University of Bath and is also an executive coach. Jo is on the management board of environmental justice NGO Capacity Blobal and is also a trustee of the charity Theatre for a Change.

Eli Rabek
Partnerships Director,

Eli is the Partnerships Director at YouNoodle, a role which pairs him with universities, companies and organizations around the world in the development of business plan competitions and innovation challenges. His favorite days are those spent helping organizations support their entrepreneurs by designing programs that provide tools and resources for their growth.

Before YouNoodle, Eli worked in Madrid and later in San Francisco for Opinno, a global network of innovation centers located in the main technology hubs around the world. While at Opinno, Eli collaborated with M.I.T.'s Technology Review magazine to host the TR35 Young Innovators Awards in Spain and Latin America. On days when he wasn't all-consumed by the excitement of learning about amazingly innovative TR35 projects, Eli worked with Opinno's Open Innovation Strategy Group on consulting projects for large companies.

As an undergraduate, Eli served as Co-President of the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES), where he helped launch two of the largest university business plan competitions in the United States, distributing $100,000 in awards to the top ventures. Eli graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering.

KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz
Sustainable Brands

KoAnn is a seasoned business-to-business media executive who’s involvement with the intersection of environmental and human issues in business dates back to the mid-1980s when she launched international conferences on improving log utilization, reducing Waste Paper, and eliminating ozone-layer destroying chemicals (CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons). Throughout her career she has been engaged in testing the connection between purpose driven leadership and competitive bottom line performance. As a result, her teams have consistently outperformed peers in both growth and profitability. Since 2003, she has devoted her full attention to the emerging field of social and environmental sustainability, launching Sustainable Life Media in 2004. She has helped various media entrepreneurs and NGO's including Sierra Club and establish their own paths to effectiveness and economic sustainability. In 2005, she produced the First International Conference on Cradle to Cradle Design in Practice with Bill McDonough, Michael Braungart, Peter Senge and others. In 2006, she launched what has now become and in 2007, the widely respected Sustainable Brands Conference. The Sustainable Brands community has grown dramatically each year, and has become the premier international community of sustainable business innovators, with engaged community members represented from all continents.

Prior to founding Sustainable Life Media, KoAnn founded Organizations That Work a management consultancy focused on her passion for helping companies deliver breakthrough financial performance through purpose-driven leadership and improved organizational alignment and learning. Prior to that she served as Sr. Vice President of Miller/CMP Media, a multinational B2B media company, where she launched and built a $50million division focused on serving various emerging technology markets including the Computer Game Development market and others. While there, she launched several product brands, spearheaded a corporate rebranding initiative, and brought systems thinking and organizational learning principles to the executive level management team of the company.

KoAnn has attended graduate level programs in business management and sustainability at Cornell and Wharton, and currently sits on the Advisory board at the Center for Sustainability at Pennsylvania State University. She regularly speaks to corporate, academic and professional audiences about sustainability as the basis of a new renaissance of business innovation and value, as well as the role brands must play and the steps they must take to survive and lead the way to a flourishing future. She lives with her husband Steve on the San Francisco Peninsula and is most proud of her two sons, Josh and Jake, who are each pursuing their individual passions in music, physics and philosophy.

Christopher Sveen
Director of Business Development,
Monday Morning Sustainia

Christopher Sveen works on international partnerships, new business development and overall strategy in relation to Sustainia core competencies within Advocacy (Sector Guides), Solutions (Sustainia 100), and the Communication platforms. He will be expanding and developing our current and emerging project portfolios, implementing a comprehensive investment and client member strategy as well as the expansion of our international partners and cooperative concept development programs. Christopher’s key strengths lies within finance, business development, strategy design and investor relations. He is passionate about CleanTech, sustainability, and international climate policy.

Christopher joins Sustainia after cofounding Novarena Technologies Ltd. (now UBQ Materials Ltd.), an innovative recycling technology company able to convert substantially unsorted municipal solid waste into a thermo-plastic like composite material. This novel material can be utilized for the production of commercially valuable compounded composite materials and final consumer ready products. Prior to his start-up experience, Christopher worked in real estate acquisitions and development for Affirmative Equities Company LLC, a real estate investment boutique in New York.

Christopher holds a BSBA in Entrepreneurship & Finance from Babson College, an undergraduate program that is #1 in the US for entrepreneurship.


Interested in being involved with this year's SBIO? Contact Ben Pawsey, [email protected] / 415.626.2212 if you are interested in participating, sponsoring or promoting the event.

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