Are you looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Want to intern for a socially responsible company? Or find inspiration for your startup? With the rise of innovation and technology, it is interesting to learn about the different solutions entrepreneurs have developed to combat the causes of climate change and provide consumers with easy fixes to reduce their impact on the environment. As students at IE, we are encouraged to practice entrepreneurship and social responsibility; here are several examples of sustainable startups in Spain that you should know about.
This startup, created in Barcelona, partners with supermarkets in order to reclaim “ugly” fruits and vegetables to then sell the fruits and vegetables online at an 80% price reduction. This is a great way to combat food waste, an issue which is commonly dismissed. Wasting food is a waste of money and resources, and leads to inefficient distribution. “According to a study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food loss and waste accounts for about 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that in perspective, if food loss and waste were its own country it would be the world’s third-largest emitter, only exceeded by China and the United States.” Although the website is being remodelled at the moment, you can visit their instagram page to keep updated on their launch in Madrid. Not only are you helping the environment by purchasing the unbought foods, you are also saving money, which is a perfect deal for students.
“At least 99.5% of all public tap water in Spain is safe to drink according to international water quality standards. But there are issues such as taste, odor chlorine by-products, microplastics and local pipe contaminants.” If you don’t enjoy drinking tap water and find yourself spending money on hundreds of plastic water bottles a week, TAPP Water has created water filters you can attach to any tap at home. Additionally, if you like traveling, you can pack the filter in your suitcase and use it anywhere in the world. The starter pack costs 59 euros and comes with one cartridge (which needs to be replaced every 3 months). So, overall, you will definitely be saving money in the long run as well as cutting down on your plastic purchase. Plastic bottles are very harmful for the environment, from the moment they are made using crude oil to the end of their use where they usually end up in landfills. If you find yourself regularly buying plastic water bottles I highly suggest you try this filter out and if you don’t enjoy it there’s a 45 day return period!
This next startup is a perfect example of innovating to solve problems. Their main goal is to find solutions to modern day problems by utilizing the natural environment in a sustainable way. One of their most interesting projects entails developing a way to generate electricity from plants in a way that is 100% renewable and doesn’t interfere with the plant’s life. They hope that the technology they have developed can be used to power the electricity in parks or areas with a high density of photosynthesis activity. However, this is only one example of the technology they have come up with. They are also developing a way for plants to become light switches and biological batteries powered by the natural environment. I highly recommend taking a look at their website to see all the projects they are working on.
This next startup is perfect for those of us that love shopping and fashion, but find it difficult to find sustainable and transparent brands. Ethical Time is a spanish born online store which carries different sustainable brands so that you can explore a variety of clothing with the reassurance that it is sustainable. Although the prices are higher than those of fast fashion brands, they offer free shipping to all areas in Spain and will also offer a longer lifetime for the clothes as they are made with sustainable processes and not mass produced. Although they don’t have the widest selection of items yet, they are still developing more partnerships with sustainable brands and you can surely find all the basics in the store.
Last but certainly not least, Liight is a startup app that uses gamification; creating a “game” out of fulfilling tasks, to encourage its users to make sustainable changes to their daily lives. If you use public transport, recycle or use a bike, Liight rewards you with points that you can accumulate and redeem for actual rewards such as items or gift cards to restaurants, the cinema and stores. It’s a really easy-to-use app that can incentivize you to reduce your carbon footprint while also saving money. It’s a win-win situation for any student and for the environment too.
Overall, these five startups are great examples of using creativity to solve modern day problems. They are great solutions for students to utilize for inspiration and for their own personal goals to live more consciously.