Unilever unveils innovation competition winners

The development of modular water sanitation infrastructure; an iron-deficiency educational programme and a water-saving shower have been announced as the three winning ideas from Unilever's global innovation crowdsourcing campaign.

The Unilever Foundry campaign, launched in June this year, encouraged peer-to-peer collaboration to create solutions to sustainability issues in the areas of sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. One hundred and fifty ideas were submitted across the three categories.

“The Unilever Foundry ideas platform enables the general public to share ideas and develop solutions which help to make sustainable living commonplace,” explained Unilever’s senior vice president of sustainable business development and communications Sue Garrard. 

“Good ideas can come from anywhere, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the initial response to the three launch challenges. In addition to recognising and celebrating these ideas, we’re now looking at how we can support these innovators to bring these ideas to life.”

Winning ideas

The winner of Improving Access to Sanitation category was Saurabh Saraf’s, whose ‘Waterhubs’ idea involves the development of a modular water and sanitation infrastructure that will provide resource recovery, water treatment and shower and laundry services for urban slums.

In the Improving Global Nutrition category, Onyinye Uche’s idea of a partnered education programme with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – Nigeria’s mandatory year-long programme – for tertiary graduates to educate others on iron deficiency and anaemia and the importance of eating iron-rich food.

And in the Imaging the Shower of the Future category, Yehuda Goldfisher’s winning idea involved a shower solution which incorporates two buttons: the first button wets the body before soaping, while the second button introduces a longer burst of water to wash the soap off while restricting water consumption.

The three winners now have a chance to work with Unilever or collaborate with one of the company’s partners to develop their ideas and begin to bring them towards a commercial reality.


The innovation categories cover a range of issues that will be addressed as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were officially adopted worldwide last week.

The Foundry forms part of the delivery of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, a 10-year commitment to double the size of the business while reducing its absolute environmental impact.

Unilever will launch the next round of its Foundry campaign in two weeks. 

Matt Mace

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