At this year’s Disruption Summit Europe, we’ll reveal and rank the 50 most disruptive companies in the UK. The Disruption50 Index considered each business’s disruptive potential in a three-tier judging process, leveraging our expert network and the power of AI. Applications came from across industries, but seven of the companies all have one thing in common: social impact.
It’s never been more important for businesses to show that they serve a purpose beyond profit. Here, we look at how these Disruption50 finalists deliver social impact in their sector.
Provenance helps brands and retailers to share key product information with their customers and partners. Through blockchain and open data, Provenance’s platform allows buyers to learn more about the products they spend their money on, and where those products have come from. Any claims made by a company – for example, that materials are ethically sourced – can be verified by Provenance’s ‘Trust Engine’, which gathers data from across the supply chain.
Provenance also works with non profits and certification bodies so that standards can be trusted whenever they are shared by an organisation. Ultimately, Provenance is making a social impact by encouraging businesses to be more open about their supply chains. This enables customers to make ecologically and ethically positive choices.
In an ageing society, finding adequate and affordable care for the elderly is a growing challenge. Private, residential care can be prohibitively expensive, not to mention undignified for the individual in question. Even when a carer can be found, they may be ill suited.
Elder‘s tailored service addresses this problem by matching those who need care with carers who share similar hobbies, interests and personality traits. Not only does this mean that elderly people can live independently and remain part of society, but it reduces the strain on residential care and public health services.
Another huge global concern is the climate emergency, thrown into the spotlight by hard hitting documentaries, media campaigns, and drastic legislation. Plastic is seen as one of the biggest culprits of environmental damage – at least, when it isn’t recycled appropriately.
Advanced Sustainable Developments is a waste packaging business that forms partnerships to fund, develop and construct high impact plastics recycling plants. The company creates flakes and pellets of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that manufacturers can use to make products without sourcing virgin plastics. Advanced Sustainable Developments hopes to change the global recycling industry by building a circular economy ecosystem.
There are countless examples in which knowing the exact location of a person or place is critical. In many instances, this information is the difference between life and death. Emergency rescue teams working in remote locations, for instance, rarely have a reliable post code. Another less life threatening situation might be attending a meeting in an unfamiliar location. The post code might take you to a building, but if that’s a shared office space with hundreds of meeting rooms, it won’t be much help.
what3words has assigned a three word address to every three metre square area on earth. Once an individual or business has downloaded the app, they can share the three words with other users. The company’s aim is to create a global standard for communicating location. what3words also ties in neatly with the voice economy by working with voice controlled devices. There is less chance of mishearing three specific words than a string of letters and numbers, leading to more accurate mapping.
OLIO is a surplus sharing app that distributes unwanted food – and other non-food items – within local communities. One of the biggest concerns for global governments is how to provide enough food for an ever increasing population. A third of all food produced in the UK is thrown away. Much of this food is still edible, so finding a redistribution solution could drastically reduce hunger.
OLIO aims to tackle this problem by providing a platform where surplus food can be shared. Say you’re going on holiday and have a fridge full of opened milk. You can’t take it with you, so you leave it to go off or tip it down the drain. Through OLIO, you can share the milk with other app users. So, instead of going to waste, the milk is used by someone who needs it. Not only does this reduce the amount of wasted food – it also helps people with tight grocery budgets to feed themselves and their families.
In the UK, only one per cent of the 14 million disposable cups used per day are successfully recycled. Through its returnable packaging service, CupClub brings the circular economy to hot and cold beverage containers. The startup, which was awarded the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2017, is building the infrastructure needed for businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their waste.
Once a CupClub container has been used and deposited at a return point, it is picked up, washed, and re-delivered in the most sustainable way. The company’s goal is to make is easy for businesses to ‘do the right thing’, and ultimately eliminate single use plastics.
Change Please is a social enterprise based in London that tackles the problem of homelessness through the city’s appetite for quality coffee. In order to become a coffee roaster or barista, prospective employees have one specific CV requirement: homelessness.
As well as providing the London living wage of £10.55, Change Please provides its workers with housing and healthcare. The aim is for employees to become independent and ultimately support themselves. Change Please also meets high ethical and sustainable standards by sourcing its coffee beans from socially impactful farms, and using 100 per cent biodegradable cups.
Join us at Disruption Summit Europe on the 10th of September to meet the UK’s 50 most disruptive companies.