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Accelerating the benefits of sustainable emulsifier technology

“SDG Accelerator” is the name of a new UNDP programme designed to speed up the achievement of its 17 global sustainability goals – and emulsifier technology may have a role to play in this promising initiative.

Supported by a wide range of companies and non-commercial interests, the UNDP is working hard to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015 by their stated 2030 deadline. Helping to drive this is a new initiative called SDG Accelerator, a programme currently in its pilot phase in Denmark and which, if successful, will be rolled out to the rest of Scandinavia before eventually going global.

Speeding development 

SDG Accelerator aims to accelerate the development of innovative business solutions that can help meet the SDGs. To do so, the UNDP is partnering with the Danish Industry Foundation, Deloitte Consulting and 14 diverse companies ranging from Much More Water A/S, whose BlueBox affordably turns contaminated water into drinking water without chemicals, to RGS Nordic, which, among other things, handles a significant portion of Denmark’s construction industry waste.


Emulsifiers join the race

Emulsifier technology is in the spotlight, too, with sustainable emulsifier manufacturer Palsgaard A/S featuring in the SDG Accelerator line-up. Emulsifiers are used in many different fields, from producing food to asfalt. In recent years, however, the company, which invented the modern food emulsifier, has been working to apply safe and sustainable food emulsifier technology to some rather surprising new fields.

Claus Hviid Christensen, CEO of Palsgaard’s independent innovation company, Nexus A/S, is convinced that sustainable emulsifer advances can be applied to help achieve a number of the SDGs. Speaking off the record (many of the potential uses are still under wraps in the company’s labs), he lists application after application, primarily focusing on the ability of emulsifiers to combat the wide-ranging negative effects of fog formation and static electricity in everything from greenhouses to robotics.

“The sustainable emulsifiers we’re producing as food ingredients and which we are now also producing as raw materials for the polymers used in food packaging are, quite literally, safe enough to eat,” he states. “They’re sourced from RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) raw materials and produced in carbon-neutral plants, too. And for me, these aspects are a necessary starting point for any ingredient to join the SDG effort.”

Claus goes on to explain that, assisted by the partners and innovation processes in the SDG Accelerator programme, Palsgaard aims to identify how best to introduce the discoveries its scientists have made to the world, going far beyond its normal business areas of food and food packaging.

“There’s tremendous potential in these ideas,” says Claus. “But delivering that potential within a relatively short time frame requires a well-considered strategy that can match Palsgaard’s current business model to the SDGs. So there’s a great deal of work yet to be done and many choices to be made, and this is where we expect to get a lot of benefit out of the SDG Accelerator programme.”


Unique opportunity

The SDG Accelerator is a two-year programme that offers participating companies a unique opportunity for developing innovative solutions with a significant business potential and impact on the SDGs. Their work will be communicated to inspire other companies and make visible how the new global agenda for sustainable development can be operationalised in a business context, creating business benefits and impact on the SDGs.

Find more information about SDG Accelerator here.

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