Materials companies Woola and ReLeaf and shipping specialist LivingPackets are finalists of the LVMH Innovation Awards this year. We take a closer look at how these innovations are applicable to packaging.
Some 18 finalists were selected among 1,320 applications from 75 countries for the 2023 LVMH Innovation Award. Spotlighting innovative start-ups, the awards span six categories, with three finalists in each category. We highlight three of the start-ups with particular relevance to the luxury packaging industry.
Operational excellence: LivingPackets
French delivery solutions specialist LivingPackets is a finalist In the Operations Excellence category, which focuses on logistics and innovative technologies for industry 4.0. LivingPackets’ flagship product, THE BOX, is positioned as “intelligent, secure and reusable packaging”. Its embedded sensors measure parameters including temperature, shocks and pressure, and the parcel and its transport conditions are trackable at any given moment. Made entirely of PP, it can be folded down to maximize storage and can be reused hundreds of times, says the supplier. At end of life, its modular design enables reuse of core elements such as the locking system. The boxes are recycled to make new ones, with the company boasting a 78% recyclability rate.
Thanks to its locking system that alerts the sender to infraction attempts, THE BOX is particularly suited to transporting luxury goods. CEO and Co-founder Denis Mourrain says that LivingPackets is already working with several companies – the names of which remain confidential – in developing THE BOX to respond to specific issues in the luxury sector.
"Demand for reusable packaging is global. Considering smart and reusable packaging is the key to secure deliveries and creating customer services to encourage the reuse reflex, which is essential to save the planet. Being a finalist this year for the LVMH innovation award 2023 is an opportunity to work with one of the major players in French savoir-faire in an indispensable sustainable evolution," Mourrain tells Luxe Packaging Insight. He adds "It is a major expression of interest that rewards four years of big investments in hardware and software R&D to offer a successful logistics service. Participating in the final is also an opportunity for us to benefit from a very good visibility to offer a little more impetus to the habits of reuse in the supply chain, in favor of more sustainable logistics.”
Sustainability & Greentech: Releaf Paper, Woola
A finalist in the Sustainability & Greentech category, Ukrainian-French startup Releaf Paper recycles urban green waste into fiber to produce paper for the packaging industry. “The heart of our manufacturing is technology for extracting fiber from fallen leaves. We partner with several big European cities which supply us with volumes of leaves required for year-round manufacturing. After cleaning the leaves, we produce natural pulp to make paper,” Releaf Paper CEO and Co-founder Alexander Sobolenko explains. In the luxury industry, this paper could have various packaging applications, such as wrapping paper, bags and boxes.
As for future development, Releaf Paper began construction on a €3.5m cellulose factory in France this year. Company executives expect that after piloting with LVMH, the group could become a strategic partner for Releaf Paper.
Estonian company Woola, which gives new life to waste wool, is also a finalist in the Sustainability & Greentech category. Its material made from sheep wool scraps is positioned as an alternative to plastic bubble wrap for e-commerce packaging in the cosmetics, jewelry, electronics and wine and spirits segments.
“The award is a vehicle for discovering, supporting and recognizing innovative solutions to real-life problems, and plastic waste is arguably the biggest sustainability challenge the world is facing today. The plastics industry is broken for two reasons: dependency on fossil fuels and single use mindset. We need to get rid of both to make packaging more sustainable,” says Woola co-founder Anna-Liisa Palatu.
Woola offers three protective packaging solutions. Bottle Sleeve is a wool wrap and Bubble Wool is an alternative to bubble wrap. Both blend wool mixed with a bio-based binder. Wool Envelope is a mailer with a recycled paper outer sleeve and wool interior. Organic cosmetics specialists Mademoiselle Bio and Kadalys and sunglasses brand Binocle are among the companies already using Woola as a packaging solution.
The LVMH Innovation Award ‘Grand Prize’ winner will be announced at VivaTech technology show in Paris on June 15th. All finalists will showcase their solutions at LVMH’s booth at the event. The finalists will also join the luxury group's La Maison des Startups business acceleration program.