KPMG Nature Positive Prize of $100,000 granted to winning venture, ULUU.
Four amazing finalists to share a pool of tailored services (valued at $200,000) to help scale their businesses:
- Agronomeye – agri Digital Twin and ‘source of truth’ to measure and optimise natural capital.
- AirSeed – tree-planting drones, machine learning and biotechnology seed pods to regenerate land at scale.
- Ecocene – technology toolkit (SaaS) that delivers ecological insights and intelligence to accelerate nature positive outcomes.
- ULUU – carbon negative and home compostable plastic-alternative made from sustainably farmed seaweed.
The KPMG Nature Positive Challenge competition phase, launched on 31 March 2022 to help ventures that accelerate positive outcomes for nature and biodiversity, has concluded with today’s announcement of the four finalists and the ultimate prize recipient.
KPMG Australia confirmed ULUU as the overall winner, awarding it the inaugural KPMG Nature Positive Prize of $100,000 for its carbon negative plastic alternative. Made from sustainably farmed seaweed, it is also home compostable. WA-based ULUU and the three other finalists – Agronomeye, AirSeed, and Ecocene – will each receive access to a pool of tailored support valued at $200,000 to help scale their businesses, drawing on KPMG’s expertise in a wide range of consulting, tax, and accounting services.
KPMG Australia had an overwhelming response to its inaugural Nature Positive Challenge with more than 50 Expressions of Interest (EOIs) received from ventures working to solve nature and biodiversity-related challenges. The four finalists were selected based on their exemplary responses to the criteria – the business model, leadership team, innovation, nature positive impact, and scalability of their solution.
The Judging Panel was made up of six experts in the areas of natural capital, biodiversity, climate tech, impact investing and innovation. They considered the pitches of each of the finalists for the KPMG Nature Positive Prize of $100,000 – and awarded the Prize to the solution they felt was the most disruptive, and with the potential to have the most significant impact for nature and society.
“We are delighted to announce ULUU as the winner of the first ever KPMG Nature Positive Challenge,” said Andrew Yates CEO KPMG Australia. “ULUU stood out because of its unique application of synthetic biology to solve a massive environmental challenge: plastic. The judging panel was impressed by the science behind ULUU, and by the team’s approach to building a carbon negative supply chain with positive social and economic impacts.”
Andrew Yates also acknowledged the very high calibre of all the entries. “The challenge created tremendous interest and response,“ he said. “The EOI’s we received covered a wide range of nature positive solutions and sectors - including Indigenous fire management projects, plant-based proteins, AI. and blockchain eco-technologies. I would encourage those who were not successful this year to continue their work and commitment as there is no doubt every single venture has the potential to shape a nature positive future.”
Carolin Leeshaa, KPMG Australia’s Global Leader Natural Capital & Biodiversity, and one of the judges of the KPMG Nature Positive Challenge, commented that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of solving one of the biggest, most intractable and complex of challenges like biodiversity loss, yet the winners rose to the challenge.
She said: “What really stood out for us was the remarkable innovative spirit of Australian start-ups and their commitment to make it real. The KPMG Nature-Positive Challenge is a celebration of the outstanding entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and vision of all Australian ventures. The potential has only just begun to be tapped. What this also shows is that together our actions can move us forward towards a nature-positive future.”
She highlighted that the four winners covered integral themes in the nature positive movement, including reforestation, restoration, regenerative technology, and resource circularity.
ULUU co-founder Dr Julia Reisser said that being awarded the KPMG Nature Positive $100,000 Prize money would make a huge positive difference to the next vital stage of development of the business: “As a young startup with a mission to replace plastics with materials that are good for the world, to win the KPMG Nature Positive Prize is a huge endorsement of our vision. The prize money, and the advisory support from KPMG, will be instrumental in helping us hone our strategy and ensure ULUU delivers the significant environmental and social impacts we believe it can.”
“Companies of the future will have a positive impact on nature and society – and we are excited that the judges see our potential to replace fossil fuel-generated plastics, starting with outdoor apparel whilst supporting seaweed farmers in emerging economies like Indonesia and the Philippines,” she added.
More broadly, KPMG emphasised that the Nature Positive Challenge represents the start of a significant long-term investment by the firm to support positive environmental outcomes based on regeneration, resilience, and resource circularity.
“Given the high calibre of the entries we received, and the huge potential of the four finalists, it is my hope KPMG’s actions will shine a spotlight on what is possible, and the results will encourage more eco-startups to flourish,” said Andrew Yates.
He confirmed all four ventures would have the opportunity to feature their solutions and expand their networks with beneficial industry, business, science, knowledge, and community partners at a KPMG Nature Positive Showcase event to be held in September 2022.