ITC collaborates with Invest India to launch Sustainability Innovation Challenge

The main idea is to promote single-use plastic substitution

ITC collaborates with Invest India to launch Sustainability Innovation Challenge
ITC collaborates with Invest India to crowdsource innovative ideas for single-use plastic substitution and automate waste segregation Photo Credit: Unsplash

ITC Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD), a leading manufacturer of paper, paperboards, and specialty paper in the country, has collaborated with Invest India to launch the ‘ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge,’ which would support innovative startup ideas on sustainable packaging and smart waste management solutions. This win-win partnership will enable ITC-PSPD to leverage India’s rich startup repertoire while also supporting the country’s startup ecosystem.

ITC PSPD, through the Startup India portal, is inviting responses from startups towards challenges laid out by the company to find sustainable and smart technology-based solutions that can substitute single-use plastics and automate the waste segregation process with smart technology-based solutions to improve efficiency and speed.

The startups selected for the ‘ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge’ will be offered incentives at various stages of the program. This includes expert mentorship, paid pilot opportunity, and assistance in testing and certification at the ‘Development Stage.’ This will be followed by support to enable market expansion and capacity building through funding opportunities in the ‘Early Market Play Stage.’ Additionally, startups at the ‘Late Stage’ will get procurement opportunities and could be evaluated, on a case-to-case basis, for funding and acquisition opportunities as well. The deadline to submit proof of concept is 28 February 2022.

 ITC PSPD will automate waste segregation through its innovations

Commenting on the initiative, Vadiraj Kulkarni, chief executive officer of ITC PSPD, said, “Disposal of plastic and non-biodegradable waste continues to pose the biggest challenge in solid waste management in India. The problem is further aggravated due to inefficient segregation of post-consumer waste at the source, which leads to a lot of waste ending up in landfills which are highly polluting.”

“We, at ITC, believe that businesses, both big and small, with their immense managerial and innovative capacity, can come together to contribute significantly towards finding innovative and sustainable packaging and waste management solutions leading to transformative changes in the society. This philosophy manifests in the new ‘ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge’ which underlines our ongoing engagements with the startup ecosystem through collaboration with Invest India to crowdsource out-of-the-box ideas for phasing out single-use plastics by 2022.”

Deepak Bagla, managing director and chief executive officer, Invest India, said, “We look forward to accelerating efforts towards a more sustainable economic growth through the ITC Innovative Sustainability Challenge. Innovative startups will showcase Made-in-India solutions that propel India towards a circular economy. On behalf of Invest India, I invite startups to be part of India’s growth journey.”


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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