Thai start-up solving fashion's waste problem beats over 1,000 applicants to win SEED Award
A Thai start-up which helps solve the problem of industrial fashion waste by upcycling dead-stock fabrics, has today been hailed as one of the winners of the SEED Low Carbon Awards (SEED Awards). SEED was founded as part of a global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Founded in 2018 by entrepreneurs Amorpol Huvanandana and Thamonwan Virodchaiyan, Moreloop prevents surplus fabrics ending up in Thailand’s landfills by selling them to fashion designers or small-medium enterprises and repurposing them as products for corporate clients. By 2021, Bangkok-based Moreloop had prevented 317,001kg of CO2 emissions by using 60,000 yards of repurposed fabric to create 180,000 new products. A 70 per cent-women-led company and supplying partner companies which are also majority female-led, Moreloop contributes to female empowerment by creating direct employment opportunities. With SEED’s support, Moreloop can test its circular economy marketplace model in other countries across the region.
Four Thai enterprises were also selected as runners-up of the SEED Awards, including:
- Happy Grocers, which promotes sustainable agriculture methods such as organic, permaculture, foraging, vertical farming and farming using digital technology;
- Carenation, which creates paper and digital wreaths and other digital funeral services for local Thai communities;
- Find Folk, a one-stop service for sustainable tourism in Thailand; and
- GooGreens, a smart waste management platform which enables individuals to sell their rubbish in return for rewards.
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentarian State Secretary in the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), which is the primary sponsor of the SEED Low Carbon Awards, commented: “Micro and small enterprises play a vital role in the transformation to a decarbonised, more sustainable development. Many of these enterprises contribute greatly to this transformation. The SEED Awards are instrumental for scaling such enterprises, equipping the founders with the tools, knowledge and networks they need to maximise their impact within their local communities and beyond.”
The SEED Awards ceremony, taking place today at the UN's High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will also see SEED present its 'Green Recovery Snapshot’ findings, which calls on governments, donors, and financial providers to increase targeted support for MSMEs as they stimulate economic growth in a post-COVID world. MSMEs are responsible for creating seven out of ten jobs across emerging markets, and green and social MSMEs deliver environmental and social impact through their activities, products, and services, making them essential actors in achieving a green recovery.
Winners of the SEED Awards will be awarded matching grants of between EUR 10,000 - 15,000 (382,000 – 573,000 baht), and will receive tailored one-to-one advisory services for up to a year to scale their operations, as part of the renowned SEED Accelerator programme. In line with the principle of ‘awarding the best and moving the rest’, 39 runners-up will also be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing their investment readiness.
SEED’s Director of Operations, Rainer Agster, added: “The calibre of SEED Award entries this year was outstanding, and we extend our congratulations to all nine winners and 39 runners-up. We hope the enterprises identified and promoted by the SEED Awards will be a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across emerging economies. Through the SEED Awards, we will support 48 enterprises in 2021, and through our other programmes, several hundreds more. For each of those, however, there are thousands more eco-inclusive enterprises furthering SDGs which can be amplified with the right support. Therefore, we strongly encourage policy makers and financial actors to take a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and start or scale support programmes for them.”
SEED’s Coordinator for Thailand, Supapim Wannopas, said: “Moreloop demonstrates the critical role small-scale entrepreneurs play in developing Thailand’s circular economy, in this case by drawing on the power of data to create a marketplace for surplus textiles. Not only does it reduce landfill and greenhouse gas emissions, Moreloop also helps create a more diverse market by predominantly working with woman-led businesses. SEED is proud to support Moreloop and the Thai runners-up, Happy Grocers, Carenation, Find Folk Co., and GooGreens, in showing other MSMEs that low-carbon businesses can be both profitable and sustainable.”
Of the 2021 SEED Awards cohort, 69 per cent of enterprise leaders are 18-35 years-old and 52 per cent are female-led enterprises. Since their inception in 2005, the SEED Awards have awarded 311 enterprises in 40 countries and have facilitated the disbursement of over EUR 1 million in grants. Each individual SEED enterprise has saved an average of 7,300 tonnes of CO2, generated more than 9,399 kWh of renewable energy, and created 28.4 jobs, out of which 32 per cent are offered to people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP).
For more information on the winners and runners-up, please visit the SEED website.
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