On Thursday 18 November 2021, B4Plastics was awarded the $2 million USD 2021 Curt Bergfors Food Planet Prize for our work in developing biomaterials for degradable fishing gear within the Glaukos project. This is a huge recognition for B4Plastics, as it confirms our potential as biotech scale-up. The excitement of the B4P green team upon receiving the Food Planet Prize is immense. Check out the live reaction of Stefaan De Wildeman, founder and director of B4Plastics, on the announcement of this news as representation of this feeling HERE. And find out more about the story of B4Plastics within the Food Planet Prize in this video.
The Food Planet Prize originates from the Curt Bergfors Foundation, and aims to grant funds to game-changing initiatives that tackle the challenges that our food systems pose to the health of people and the planet. The prize money awarded this year was $2 million USD per winner instead of $1 million USD, summing up to a total of $4 million USD, and making this the world’s biggest environmental award. “By doubling the amount of money tied to each of the prizes, we intend to accelerate the winners’ ability to reach their full potential and contribute to a sustainable food planet that can support us all”, says Curt Bergfors, Founder of the Curt Bergfors Foundation.
Innovative solutions are rewarded by the Food Planet Prize that enable a transition to sustainable food systems within a ten-year timeframe. Out of almost 400 contestants, B4Plastics and GreenWave were selected along with 4 other finalists, who each brought innovative and game-changing perspectives to the competition. The other finalists were Agrisea (Canada), Air Protein (USA), ColdHubs (Nigeria), and The Savory Institute (USA). We are honoured to be considered alongside these organisations and companies, whose work and ideals inspire and match our passion for a more sustainable future. We stand alongside GreenWave for the final prize with great pride, as both of our companies work to improve marine ecology with innovative solutions that provide the scalability potential to tackle specific food related perils on a global scale.
More specifically, B4Plastics was selected as one of the two winners of the prize for our efforts within the Glaukos project where we target two of the main problems with the ocean environment today: (micro)plastic pollution and ghost fishing gear. The Glaukos project is an EU Horizon 2020 BBI JU funded project which aims to develop mechanically strong, biodegradable and biobased textiles for fishing nets and textiles. In this project, the role of B4Plastics is to develop a novel biopolymer fibre with a mechanical strength that matches the technical performance of the application requirements, while incorporating sufficient biodegradability to reduce microplastic accumulation.
B4Plastics will use the prize money to speed up the introduction of our innovative polymer products into test campaigns for specific applications, especially focusing on those which ensure a shift to sustainable food systems. Next to that, we will implement it to boost the optimization of the technologies we are using to produce our biomaterials, allowing to predetermine the lifespan in water of a fishing net, for example. Our ecological polymers will be implemented across multiple markets, to disrupt our society’s dependence on fossil fuels, and inspire a meaningful change in the materials around us. Our ideas with this prize do not stop at ecological polymers for our oceans, but expand wider into materials for agriculture, food packaging, and food-chain based applications.
Finally, we want to express our genuine gratitude to Mr. Bergfors and the Jury, for seeing our potential as ecological game-changers, fighting for a better planet. With this opportunity, B4Plastics can go above and beyond: providing sustainable solutions for a world in an ecological crisis. First up with the support of the Food Planet Prize: biodegradable fishing gear!