Estonian sustainable packaging company Woola that uses wool to replace plastic bubble wrap was proclaimed a winner in the Sustainability and Greentech category at the annual LVMH Innovation Award competition in Paris; the French luxury goods giant created the award to recognise promising startups.
Woola uses wool that would otherwise be burned or buried to replace plastic bubble wrap for shipping fragile goods.
“We are thrilled to be recognised as a Sustainability and Greentech category winner of the LVMH Innovation Award,” Anna-Liisa Palau, the CEO and cofounder of Woola, told Estonian World. “The plastics industry is broken for two reasons: dependency on fossil fuels and single use mindset. Replacing plastic is a tough fight since we are new in the market. This recognition from LVMH lends us the trust we need to reach more companies. This is highly valuable to us,” she added.
Palau founded Woola in 2020, together with Jevgeni Shirai and Katrin Kabun – the founders were running an e-commerce business and experienced the packaging problem first-hand. The lack of sustainable and scalable protective packaging subsequently led to re-discovering wool.
According to Woola, the startup has launched in major European markets and its packaging solutions are already being used by companies such as Mademoiselle bio, Kadalys and BioGaia.
More than 1,300 startups vying for award
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commonly known as LVMH, is a French multinational holding and conglomerate specialising in luxury goods, headquartered in Paris. The company controls 75 luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Tiffany, Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, Tag Heuer and Hennessy. As of June 2023, LVMH was Europe’s most valuable company.
LVMH created the Innovation Award in 2017 to recognise promising startups from France and other countries. More than 1,300 startups from 75 countries were vying for this year’s award, with over 250 in the Sustainability & Greentech category alone. Just 18 startups were chosen as finalists.
The award ceremony recognised seven startups, including Estonia’s Woola. The grand prize was presented by LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault to the London-based startup Save Your Wardrobe, a tech-enabled clothing care and repair platform.