Why are we looking for “Global Pioneers”?

As we look into the world of tomorrow, we are facing challenges on our planet that centre on our limited natural resources, the pollution of environment and climate and the demographic change. In this world, only a sustainable economy, one which accounts for environmental and social considerations as well as economic needs, can have a long-term future. This is why we, as a leading environmental service provider and raw materials supplier, see ourselves particularly challenged to make a contribution to sustainable development.

It is important for waste management companies just as for any others, to think about the continued existence of traditional business models and focus on the future. We want to participate in global developments – not just as a bystander, but as an active shaper.

The current situation

The increasing amount of garbage that is produced is a global problem. The 2018 World Bank report What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 estimates a global waste generation of 3.40 billion tons per year, compared to today’s 2.01 billion tons. While OECD countries take great efforts in waste reduction and dematerialization and will reach their “peak” of waste reduction in the following years, countries in other parts of the globe are still expected to grow in their waste generation over the next decades. This is because there is a positive correlation between waste generation and income level. Waste generation in low- and middle-income countries is expected to increase by 40 percent or more by 2050, compared to 19 percent in high-income countries.

The problem is especially pressing in regions like East Asia and Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. Countries with fast economic development, high population growth and increasing urbanization will face a particularly high increase in waste generation.

Facing these problems, which have never been dealt with before, we are in need of new solutions and approaches, beyond what we already do and know. We are convinced that solutions to the problems of the waste management industry will also be developed by today’s developing countries where the peak in waste generation is yet to come. With our programme Global Pioneers we want to identify these solutions at an early stage, support them and, where possible, transfer them to other countries and markets. This way, we can address this challenge together more effectively.

How is “Global Pioneers” going to work?

Global Pioneers is a two-phase programme that gives ALBA and its partner organisations a world-wide overview of promising developments in the field of waste management, logistics and energy.

Each year, ideas can be proposed using the online application and a pre-selection of the most promising ideas is made. More information on the projects will help us make a selection of max. 10 projects that will be invited to join us for workshops and the award ceremony in Berlin where the possibility for a funding of max. € 25,000 is waiting.


In addition to the financial support, ALBA will provide help with the development of business and financial plans and make connections with valuable partners, who can take the businesses to the next level. The projects will be accompanied for over a year and will receive know-how and support from Global Pioneers and the BluehouseLab, which is ALBA’s own innovation lab.

In the second phase, an investment of max. € 100,000 will be made to support one of the companies from the first round to help them implement their next steps.

ALBA is looking for young start-ups and founders whose business ideas offer solutions in the fields of sustainability, waste management, waste disposal, recycling or related fields like logistics, supply chain and energy. This way, we may find innovative ways to solve the pressing problems and relieve the burden on our planet.