The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), in collaboration with consumer product formulators and preservative manufacturers/suppliers, recently launched their Challenge to find new, safe, and effective preservatives, preservative boosters, or multi-functionals for use in personal care and household products. There are concerns about the impact of some preservatives on human health, particularly because of their widespread use. Therefore, the Seeker organizations desire preservatives with improved environmental health and safety profiles.
This Challenge gives all Solvers the unique opportunity to gain visibility and receive feedback on their preservatives as well as the potential to partner with the Seeker organizations. Finalists will be invited to present their technologies and network with representatives from the Seeker organizations of this competition. Seekers expect to award three to five cash prizes from a prize pool of $175,000, with a minimum award of $25,000. No Intellectual Property transfer or licensing is required to receive an award for this Challenge.
We recently spoke with Monica Becker, the GC3’s Co-Director & Collaborative Innovation Project Lead, about this Challenge.
For those not familiar with the GC3 and the companies sponsoring this Challenge, can you tell us a bit about your organization’s work and the role the sponsors play?
Started in 2005, the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) is a cross sectoral, business-to-business network of more than 100 companies and other organizations working collaboratively to accelerate the application of green chemistry across industry sectors and supply chains. Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.
We have two categories of sponsors for the competition (see list below). Category 1 sponsors are product manufacturers (aka formulators), retailers, an environmental organization and a state agency. These sponsors have been participating in the design of the competition and will be involved in evaluating and judging the submissions. The formulators are eager to help bring new safe and effective preservatives to market so that they can procure and use them in their products. They are open to providing feedback to solvers and willing to partner to assist solvers’ development efforts.
Category 2 sponsors are preservative suppliers. They are eager to connect with developers of preservative systems at the end of the competition (finalists and non-finalists) to explore opportunities to partner, invest, license or otherwise enter into mutually beneficial business arrangements with solvers. They will not be judging submissions.
Both Category 1 and 2 sponsors will be at the event for finalists at the end of the competition to meet the finalists and to learn more about their technologies, companies and interests in partnering or investment.
Why are the GC3 and the sponsors seeking new and safe preservatives? Can you explain why this is important to the industry?
Preservatives are substances that are added to products to prevent them from spoiling. These chemicals work by retarding microbial growth and preventing product degradation. In addition to being used in foods, preservatives are added to household and personal care products. Concerns have been raised about the safety of some preservatives that have been in wide use and the impact of repeated contact with these chemicals on human health.
A number of product manufacturers and retailers such as Target, Walmart, and CVS are restricting the use of certain preservatives that have been widely used in products that they sell, creating a critical need for the development, commercialization and scale-up of new, safe preservative systems.
The GC3 and the competition sponsors desire new and effective preservatives, preservative boosters and multi-functional chemicals with improved environmental health and safety profiles for use in personal care and household products.
Can you describe the impact a successful preservative would have?
Preservatives, boosters and multi-functional chemicals awarded in this competition will provide product formulators with new safe and effective ingredients that they can use in their products to keep them free of microbiological agents – bacteria, yeast and mold – that can spoil products and cause harm to consumers. These preservative systems will contribute to the efforts of product formulators to create products that are safe for people and the planet.
The opportunities for Solvers in this Challenge go beyond the award. Can you describe what all may be offered to submitters with promising preservatives?
In addition to a cash award, this competition is designed to provide multiple solvers, with promising solutions, an opportunity to gain significant visibility for their work, technologies, and organizations as well as opportunities to secure partnerships or investments with companies that have an interest in bringing new technologies to market and scale.
Do you have any final words of advice for Solvers wanting to participate?
There is a very significant market demand for new preservative technologies, as you can see by the number and market size of the companies that are sponsoring the competition. We have designed an open and flexible competition to encourage anyone with a promising solution to enter. We encourage you to provide as much evidence as you can to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of your solution. Every submission will be given thoughtful consideration.
All competition submissions will gain significant visibility and receive feedback, whether or not they are chosen for award. We encourage you to enter!
About the Sponsors
This Challenge is sponsored by: Babyganics, Beautycounter, Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Kao USA, Method – People Against Dirty, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Reckitt Benckiser (RB), SC Johnson, Unilever, Target, Walmart, Dow Microbial Control, Lonza, Schülke, Thor, Environmental Defense Fund and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.