Grønn: Sustainable goods.

Guatemala City, GuatemalaGuatemala City and Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We create high quality, hand made glasses manufactured by mothers that live around Guatemala's City landfill, upcycling glass bottles. We work in partnership with an NGO (Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios) that provides education for kids at risk of falling in gangs or drugs, through employing mothers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if reducing poverty and violence while creating economic opportunities was as easy as drinking from a grønn glass?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Guatemala lacks a functional recycling platform. Guatemala city's landfill is surrounded of unemployment, crime, drug usage and distribution with virtually no opportunity for single mothers to get a decent job, nor for their kids to get education and opportunities for the future. Most of these kids get education in a local NGO, but their mothers do not have jobs to provide for their families. (Most women in the area are single mothers).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Grønn recollects glass bottles from restaurants from Antigua Guatemala, transports them to NGO's facilities where they are cut, hand-sanded and polished to create upcycled glasses and planters. The NGO (Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios) works with kids that have been targeted to be at risk of falling in gang activity or drug use/distribution. Grønn employs their mothers so kids can have better opportunities and a brighter future. If mothers can provide for their families, while giving example to their kids of work and perseverance it is more likely for kids to continue studying and be productive in Guatemalan Society. Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios helps educate kids, Grønn employs mothers and together we reduce future violence in Guatemala.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We create impact in three primarily areas: - Society (People): We want to employ women, mostly single mothers that are struggling to provide a better future for their kids. Since education is fundamental for the kids well being, though a partnership with an NGO we can be sure kids get education while their mothers can provide enough for them to live well. Our goal is to give back healthy families to society. - Environment (Planet): We only recollect glass from 5 restaurants. Imagine if this could be bigger. We could collect tons of discarded bottles, making sure most get upcycled and the rest gets recycled, all while creating more job opportunity. - Economical (Profit): We can have a sustainable business model while creating profit.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We currently have 3 women that work with us. One has been working for almost a year and her economic situation has improved. She went from having less that $2 a day to around $9.5 a day. Making around $280 - $300 a month. The remaining two are our trainees and we except them to reach this point soon. We want to be able to establish a great company and to work in our dream job, we want to Develop Guatemala through business. In the future we hope to see at least more than 10 mothers being benefited next year. Just this year we managed to collect up to this day more than 5000 glass bottles, that otherwise would have been discarded on a landfill. Our goal is to duplicate this amount every year. We also want to have a recollection system for glass and recyclable materials. We can have a sustainable business model while creating profit, while we give back to society and to the planet.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

- Partnerships with other social businesses and NGOs. - Increase presence in Social media, showing the impact that a purchase can have. - The product to be sold in Guatemala's biggest Home Decor store (CEMACO) while having producers talk to others about it. - We have seen the project spread from mouth to mouth in this last year, so we want to include more information about the impact, within the product itself. - We aim to increase our presence in Social Media and on the radio. - Start exporting on 2016 - Create a catalog for companies that want sustainable advertisement products

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Since we are a sustainable business, we rely entirely on revenue to continue functioning. Some of our best clients this year have been businesses and schools that want greener products to represent them, so we want to have a specific area dedicated to this opportunities. We want to be in several stores in Guatemala City, and in other two national cities. We aim for exporting our products and their history next year.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Very few projects can address a social problem while creating sustainable development. Grønn, through its revenue, can address both a social and environmental problem that Guatemalan population have.

Founding Story

In 2012, 2 of Grønn’s co-founders had the opportunity to live for 5 months in Norway, changing their perception of Guatemalan Society, being able to see the real needs of the country. Coming back we worked in different projects, only finding that they were not sustainable. We started creating glassware from discarded bottles in a garage as an idea for a green product, thinking that we needed something more to reach sustainability on the long term. We met Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios (NGO) in December 2014, and talked with them about wanting to bring economic opportunity to the landfill area. We later started with mothers in financial need. We have been working since then on building grønn


__Workers__ 1- Aarón Bendfeldt (Co-founder) 23 years old. Chemical and Environmental Engineering Student at Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala Part-Time grønn worker. Currently oversees: Sales, Production. 2- Stacy Escobar (Co-founder) 22 years old. Manager's assistant at Rijk Zwaan Guatemala Agricultural Science Student at Universidad Rafael Landivar Part-Time grønn worker. Oversees: Sales, supplies, events. 3- Hubert Bendfeldt (Co-founder) 27 years old. Industrial Engineer from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala PMP - Project Manager Professional Part Time Grønn worker. Oversees: Orders, finances, logistics, budgeting. 4- Andrés Castaño 33 years old. Industrial Engineer from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala Master in Logistics & Distribution CRM at Kimberly Clark Part-time grønn worker. Oversees: Marketing, pricing strategy, distribution. 5- Nathalie Szejner 26 years old. Graphic Designer from Universidad del Itsmo Master in editing. Outsourcing. Overseed: Social Media, Design. __Board Members__ 1- Greg Lowden Iniciativa Guatemala Founder and Director (NGO) 2- Juan Carlos Molina Director of Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios (NGO) ______ This last year has showed us the potential that the idea has, leaving us wanting to expand and accelerate our business. We have been keeping track of our income, expense and revenue to further understand how each part of the business functions and behaves, while also trying to increase the production of the product. Starting next year, we will have one person fully dedicated to the project (Andres Castaño) while having 4 others part-time working on it. Our plan is to create a good structure to be able to function optimally. Creating a good recollection platform, an efficient production line and have sufficient distribution channels. We have found that Facebook can help us direct our costumers to events where we participate or to the stores that are selling out product. All the talents exist, but now that we have a team that can help the project develop as needed we need funding to continue with our goal to establish the first sustainability-centered business in Guatemala.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Online search.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder. Director.

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

1. Philip Wilson - Mentor
CEO of Ecofiltro
(( // ))
Phillip Wilson <>
Ecofiltro is a company that sells and donates water filters in Guatemala. They are widely recognized inside Guatemala.
Mr. Wilson has been helping us with contacts and ideas for our business. Through him we have had the opportunity to work for BAYER Guatemala, Colegio Americano de Guatemala, and some other schools and companies. He has believed in the project and helps us primarily with contacts and with spreading the word. We are also having a promo together for Christmas, creating funding for educational programs to continue in the landfill area.

2. Juan Carlos Molina - Partners
Director of Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios (NGO)
(( //

Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios is established in front of Guatemala City's landfill. They work with kids at risk of falling in gangs or drug, also with history of abuse in their families.

Juan Carlos has helped us create the impact we need in the community. We believe that though this partnership we will be able to bring back functional families that can contribute to the development of Guatemalan Society. Guatemaltecos Extraordinarios can work with the kids, helping them heal and grow personally, while grønn can continue to bring economic opportunity to the area.

3. Greg Lowden - Advisor
Director and Founder of Iniciativa Guatemala
(( // ))

Greg helped us in early stages of the process. Helping us understand the impact that grønn could have in Guatemalan society and specially at targeting how we could become financially sustainable.