Bupa's eco-Disruptive programme awards Circoolar

By Helen Adams
A new eco-Disruptive programme from Bupa has awarded Spanish sustainable supply chain company, Circoolar, for its uniforms made from plastic bottles

Earlier this year, Bupa launched eco-Disruptive, an initiative to show its firm intent to become more planet-conscious and to encourage others to follow through on their sustainable promises. 

Bupa’s first global eco-Disruptive talent and innovation programme has awarded Spanish start-up Circoolar as its winner. 

Circoolar uses plastic bottles and turns them into fabric, used in uniforms.


Bupa’s eco-Disruptive challenge 

“Eco-Disruptive shows how we can disrupt traditional thinking and harness agile ways of working to create solutions to some of the big challenges our planet is facing”, said Iñaki Ereño, Bupa’s Group CEO. “Huge congratulations to Circoolar and the Bupa team who’ve worked together to develop this pilot. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve achieved in such a short period.”

Recognising the link between the health of the planet and people’s health, eco-Disruptive focused on six challenge areas: 

  • Climate change and carbon reduction
  • Sustainable transport and clean air
  • The circular economy and responsible consumption
  • Biodiversity
  • Healthy cities and citizens
  • Education and behaviour change


Bupa will invest a further £200,000 to help Circoolar produce their ethical and sustainable uniforms for healthcare professionals across all Bupa countries. 


Clear links between healthcare and the planet

This first eco-Disruptive programme has exceeded all of Bupa’s expectations.

“Our people have been energised and inspired by the amazing solutions our squads and partner start-ups have developed”, continued Ereño. “A huge thank you to everyone who took part. We’re already planning to make this a bigger programme in 2022.”

“Plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from production to refining and the way it is managed as a waste product”, said Nigel Sullivan, Bupa’s Chief Sustainability & People Officer. “The innovative work that Circoolar is doing will play an important role in minimising this impact. This is important to us given the clear links between planet health and human health. Bupa has just started a journey to become a net zero business across all emissions by 2040. This is an ambitious target and we know that no organisation can secure a sustainable future alone. This means we need to learn from each other, pilot new ideas and innovate together.”

“Circoolar’s participation in Bupa’s eco-Disruptive programme and what we have learned from it has really helped accelerated our path to commercialisation”, said Luis Ribo, cofounder of Circoolar. “Each of our uniforms prevents waste from 18 plastic bottles ending up in the ocean or landfill, and we guarantee they will be recycled at the end of their useful life. They’re sustainable and designed to be zero waste, and also ethical, as they are made by vulnerable women at risk of exclusion who are learning new skills”.  

“I’ve had an amazing experience participating in eco-Disruptive”, said Jamie Requejo Garcia-Abril, Bupa eco-Disruptive team member. “I’ve learnt so much from my colleagues and the start-ups and I feel really proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to develop solutions that can make a real difference to the health of our communities and planet.”


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