Competition Terms June 2024 International Supply Chain Accelerator: Product Carbon Footprint Measurement Open Call


Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, we accelerate industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy.

We bring together an expert and enterprising community of researchers, startups, scaleups and industry leaders to discover new ways to solve the big challenges limiting the UK’s future potential. Through our specialist programmes and experimental facilities, we make sure that innovation thrives, and the right solutions make it to the real world.

Our goal is to accelerate new possibilities in everything we do and for every business we partner with throughout the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

Digital Catapult works with organisations on projects involving at least one of the technologies from its “Advanced Digital Technology Stack”: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies, 5G/Future Networks and Quantum Technologies.


2.1 The Programme

The International Supply Chain Accelerator: Product Carbon Footprint Measurement is part of the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub programme. This project aims to support UK technology innovators and startups to identify and address industry challenges that will move the market towards greater adoption of carbon accounting. The Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) is the global leader in driving a harmonised approach to carbon measurement across supply chains and convene more than 1000 companies in mainstreaming a common approach.  Sponsored by Unilever and in collaboration with the members of the PACT Technology Working Group and GS1, this project aims to develop solutions that will demonstrate the business case for carbon accounting for thousands of businesses (“Programme”).

The following parties are involved in the Programme:

Industry Partner Representatives

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Avenue du Bouchet 2bis, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, company number CHE-108.244.629 (“World Business Council”)
  • GS1 UK Limited, Hasilwood House, 60 Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom, EC2N 4AW, company number 01256140 (“GS1 UK””)

Industry Challenge Owner

  • Unilever U.K. Central Resources Limited, Victoria Embankment 100, London, United Kingdom

 EC4Y 0DY, company number 00029140 (“Unilever”)

This call addresses the challenge of the Product Carbon Footprint Measurement that covers 2 specific challenge areas:

Challenge Area 1: Secure and standardised data store for Product IDs 

Aim:  Searchable common data store for standardised product IDs.

Challenge area 2:  Efficient and secure PCF access and visibility

Aim: To implement an efficient mechanism to share PCFs between systems of different organisations

2.2 Programme Objectives

The Programme objectives include:

  • Facilitate the collaboration between startups and industry challenge owner with the support of the industry body.
  • Develop 2 prototype solutions addressing the challenges set up by the industry challenge owner utilising advanced digital technologies.
  • Increase industry awareness of the challenges faced in the carbon accounting sector and emphasise the importance of the wide industry adoption of the Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs).

2.3 Programme Judges

During the application stage, the judges will be responsible for scoring the applications according to the process and criteria set out in these Competition Terms. The judges will be chosen based on their experience and expertise. The Programme Judges comprise:

Internal Judges: A number of judges from Digital Catapult will help judge the applications.

And may include any of the following:

Industry Partner Representatives Judges: A number of judges from the World Business Council and GS1 UK .

Challenge Owner Judges: A number of judges from Unilever

2.4 The Programme Partners

The following organisations are partnering with Digital Catapult to deliver the Programme:

Programme Funders: Digital Catapult is working as Innovate UK’s delivery partner on this IUK funded programme.  Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency and is part of UK Research and Innovation.

Programme Industry Partners: During the Project, Programme industry partners, comprising of the World Business Council and GS1 UK, will deliver workshops, host office hours, and provide guidance and expertise to support the solution development process.

Programme Industry Challenge Owner: Unilever as an industry challenge owner sets up and defines the challenge around carbon accounting and product IDs and guides the solution development process providing data and support to the startups and SMEs.

2.5 Applicants & Participants

You are considered an “Applicant” if you apply to this competition.

You are considered a “Participant” if you are successful with your application and complete all pre-Project activities (e.g. signing the Programme Agreement).

Where you are applying on behalf of a consortium:

  • Applicant shall mean each of the members of the applying consortium, for which the Lead Applicant (the party submitting the application) is responsible for each “Applicant”.
  • Participant shall mean each of the members of the successful consortium, for which the Lead Participant (the party submitting the application) will be responsible for each “Participant”.


Participants on the programme will receive the following benefits:

  • MVP funding: Up to £125,000 in grant funding to develop a challenge focused minimum viable product (MVP) and supporting material within the timeframe of the project (including £115,000 of State Assistance see paragraph 9.2).  
  • Access to expertise: Collaborate with technology and subject matter experts from Digital Catapult, Industry Body Representatives, Industry Challenge Owner who will support the development of the Participants’ solutions/MVPs.
  • Pitch training: One-to-one pitching sessions with a coach to support each company to practise and build the narrative and script for the Final Showcase event.
  • Networking Opportunity to participate in the programme networking events, roundtables and introductions to industry leaders, investors and potential customers.
  • Peer-to-peer learning: Be part of a cohort of selected companies made up of talented entrepreneurs from across a different range of sectors, all working towards the greater adoption of the carbon accounting, as well as being part of the Hub ecosystem and network.
  • Showcase event: Opportunity to participate, pitch and attend meetings at the showcase event in March 2025. 
  • Potentially being part of the future Digital Supply Chain Hub Platform: Upon successful completion of the Project, the participant will have the opportunity to join the future Digital Supply Chain Hub Platform to connect with the wider ecosystem.
  • Join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network: Upon successful completion of the Project, the opportunity to join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and which provides additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other Alumni.


Applicants must ensure to comply with the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £115,000 in state assistance.
  • We expect a minimum Co-investment of £125,000 from Participants. There are various categories of co-investment which can be considered. The co-investments cover the value for money and cost to deliver the technology solutions. You can find further information on what co-investment we are looking for in the programme FAQs at the bottom of the programme webpage.
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the majority of their activities in the UK.
  • Applicants must be considered as either an early-stage company or scale up business with a proposed solution/ product/ service at the technology readiness level 4-5 (TRL 4-5) or above.
  • Build an MVP against the industrial challenge working together with the Industry Challenge Owner and Industry Partner Representatives. 
  • The Participant’s team must be able to attend all key events below (please note dates are subject to change):
    • Programme kick-off event (in-person, London) – September 2024
    • Final showcase event (in-person, London) – March 2025
  • Attend the majority (80%+) of the workshops, progress check-in meetings/calls, and/or webinars hosted by the Digital Catapult team from September 2024 – March 2025.
  • Showcase tech solution developed in the programme – Digital Catapult does not take ownership of your intellectual property developed on the programme, however we do require you to present your solution for the challenge at the showcase event and other programme related activities.
  • Applicants must develop solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the advanced digital technology stack: artificial intelligence, immersive, internet of things, distributed ledger technologies and 5G/future networks.
  • Participant agrees to be visibly (name and logo) associated with the programme, whilst on the programme and afterwards as a former participant and beneficiary.  This includes marketing collateral, such as social posts, print and digital materials.


5.1 Minimum Requirements 

  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £115,000 in State Assistance (further details can be found in paragraph 9.2 of the Competition T&Cs).
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be a UK-based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the majority of the activity in the UK.
  • Applicants must be considered as either an early-stage company or a scaleup business with a proposed solution/ product/ service at the Technology Readiness Level 4-5 (TRL 4-5).
  • Applicants must develop solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.

5.2 What we’re looking for

The International Supply Chain Accelerator: Product Carbon Footprint Measurement is aiming to achieve a greater adoption of carbon accounting within the global supply chains and is welcoming applications from startups and innovators developing digital technology solutions that will store and facilitate effective exchange of the Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs).

Tech innovators and startup solutions will leverage cutting edge industry technology. These areas include artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology and advanced identity solutions.

This is an opportunity to join the programme and be at the forefront of digital transformation.

Key sectors that we are targeting include sustainability and carbon accounting.


  • Open Call – Applications Open – Monday 10th of June
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – Friday 12th of July
  • Judging – Phase 1: Assessment – w/c 15th of July
  • Judging – Phase 2: Interviews – w/c 29th of July
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – w/c 5th of August
  • Intended public announcement of successful Participants – w/c 12th of August
  • Programme – Start Date: September 2024
  • Programme – End Date: March 2025 

Note: Dates and activities can be subject to change. Digital Catapult will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible to applicants/participants should any changes arise.


7.1 What information should my application contain?

Applicants must answer all required questions in the full online application form. 

7.2 Who will see my Application?

The following people will see your application:

Catapult Representatives: Relevant Catapult representatives will see your application in order to assess the application, and otherwise in the administration of your application and, if successful, participation in the Programme.

The Programme Judges will see your full application except for your company name and personal information fields.

7.3 Key contact 

Applicant will appoint a main contact for the Programme (“Key Contact”). This person will be Digital Catapult’s main point of contact for the competition and, if successful, Applicant’s Programme activities, including workshop and event commitments, team members’ availability, ongoing activities, and assessment of progress during and after the Programme.

Digital Catapult will use this personal information for the purpose of carrying out due diligence on Applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme and to notify successful and unsuccessful Applicants over their submissions. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by (i) Programme Judges for the purpose of assessing the Applications; and (ii) Programme Partners and third-party service providers for the provision of benefits to the Participants in the Programme, as set out in these Competition Terms.

7.4 Submitting your application

You must submit your application via the Skipso form (“Submission Method”).

All applications must be submitted via the Submission Method by the Application Deadline.  

Once your completed application has been received, Digital Catapult will send you a confirmation receipt by email. If you do not get a receipt within twenty four (24) hours of the next working day, please email with the subject ”International Supply Chain Accelerator: Product Carbon Footprint Measurement Application Submission”.

7.5 Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In addition to your application, you will be required to complete Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey (‘Survey’). Whilst the completion of this Survey is mandatory, please note that your responses to this Survey will be kept separately from your application and will have no effect whatsoever on your application to the Programme.

Digital Catapult (as the Data Controller) will collect and process your personal data, including the following special category data to help Digital Catapult improve its services in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion:

  • Racial and/or ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health (including disability)
  • Religious and/or philosophical beliefs

The data collected and processed may be shared with relevant third parties and/or published but only in an aggregated form, which means you will not be personally identifiable. 

Your personal data will be kept for 15 months from the time you respond to the Survey. Should you apply to another of Digital Catapult’s opportunities within the 15-month period, we will provide you with the option to allow us to re-use the data we already hold, to resubmit the Survey or to delete your Survey data. If you choose to complete the Survey again, we will keep your updated data for 15 months from the time you resubmit the Survey.

Please note you are responsible for the accuracy of the data you share with Digital Catapult, and you agree to inform us if your data needs to be updated. 

For more information on Digital Catapult’s collection, use and protection of your personal data and your rights in regard to your personal data, please see Digital Catapult’s privacy policy ( or contact us at If you have specific queries on our use of your Survey data (including a request to delete your Survey data), please contact us at


8.1 Qualification

The Catapult will undertake an initial assessment of the Applicants against the Programme Requirements.

8.2 Selection process

Stage 1:

The International Supply Chain Accelerator team will undertake an initial due diligence of the applicants against the programme requirements.

Stage 2:

This is an assessment stage where the International Supply Chain Accelerator team will rank applications against the selection criteria allowing the best applications to be easily identified and progressed to the next stage.

Stage 3:

This is a final interview stage where a number of applications will be further assessed in an in person interview by the internal and external judges using the same selection criteria. The outcome of this stage is a set number of applicants that will be onboarded on the programme.

Note: All judging criteria will be taken into equal consideration.

8.3 Application Scoring criteria and weighting 

The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas below. Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criterion and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criterion. This scoring will be applied to all applications and will be equally weighted. 

There are 4 criteria upon which applicants will be assessed:

Strength and Originality of the Solution (25%):

The applicant should demonstrate that their solution is realistic, well-developed and adds value to the ICO in the context of the chosen challenge. The solution should also demonstrate how it achieves the outcomes pertaining to the challenge. The solution should also be shown to leverage advanced digital technologies where applicable and is reasonably achievable in practical terms. The solution should be estimable in the Technology Readiness Level of 4-5.

Team Experience (25%):

The team demonstrates that they are equipped with the appropriate technology and business skills, and show strong evidence that they can develop and deliver the proposed solution within the timeframe and budget/funding of the programme.   

Technical Feasibility (25%):

The proposed solution is at the TRL 4-5 level, with potential for progression to TRL 6-7 by the end of the programme. The technical delivery of the proposal is feasible and provides a clear added value to the ICO. All evidence is outlined in a well thought through Product Development Roadmap.

Growth Potential (25%)

The solution demonstrates the potential for scalability, beyond the lifecycle of the programme. The idea is likely to be suitable for further funding stages of development and commercial agreements.

8.4 Due diligence 

We will carry out due diligence on applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme. Applicants must be willing to submit further information or documentation upon request to qualify as ‘successful’.

8.5 Successful applicants 

Successful applicants will be notified and provided with a standard agreement for review and execution (“Programme Agreement”).  

The Programme Agreement is a standard agreement and not negotiable.  We do try and ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable.

In order to be accepted onto the Programme, successful applicants must sign the Programme Agreement.


9.1 Benefits

All the benefits provided under the Programme by third-party organisations (“Suppliers”) are subject to the Supplier’s terms and conditions stated in the Programme T&Cs. 

Any optional benefits provided by third party organisations whose terms and conditions are not contained in the Programme T&Cs will be agreed between the Participant and the Supplier directly.

Digital Catapult reserves the right to amend the list of benefits at its sole discretion.

9.2 State Assistance

Participants shall receive the grant as Minimal Financial Assistance (“MFA”), or to the extent applicable under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the de minimis aid regulations (COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1407/2013), collectively referred to herein as “State Assistance.

The total State Assistance received or due to be received by an individual Participant (including any associated companies e.g. subsidiaries), originating from a United Kingdom source, must not exceed £315,000, or €200,000 (approximately £165,000) for Northern Ireland Companies (or any other company subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol), each in aggregate across the Participant’s current fiscal year (as at the Agreement Date) and the previous two fiscal years.

This Programme has been assessed as providing £115,000.00 to Participants approximately equivalent to € 135,160.00

Before signing the Programme Agreement, Applicants will therefore be asked to sign a declaration confirming that you are eligible to receive the State Assistance.

9.3 Accessibility 

We aim to make all our programmes accessible. We welcome feedback as to how we may be able to improve the accessibility of our programmes in the future. If you have any feedback with regards to accessibility, please send your feedback by email to: Your feedback may be used by us in our programmes and activities.

9.4 Applicants

Digital Catapult reserves the right to accept any application which does not fulfil the minimum requirements. 

9.5 Key Dates

Digital Catapult reserves the right to change the Key Dates at its sole discretion. No extension to deadlines will usually be granted, with very limited exceptions where the Applicant requests an extension due to reasonable extenuating circumstances, beyond the Applicant’s control and unforeseen to them, subject to the Applicant providing evidence that proves the extenuating circumstance; and the Applicant informing Digital Catapult as soon as reasonably practicable following the extenuating circumstance becoming apparent. Digital Catapult reserves the right to consider the factors and decide whether such circumstances are extenuating and whether granting an extension is fair to other applicants. No extension granted will usually be for greater than two working days.

9.6 Applications

All information and documents requested must be submitted. Failure to submit all requested information and documents may result in the application being rejected.  Catapult will not use outside information in respect of your application unless otherwise indicated, other than to undertake due diligence.  Digital Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which it believes could impact its reputation.

9.7  Personal Data

Digital Catapult is the Controller for the personal information submitted in the Application for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR.

In submitting the Application, the Applicant confirms that it has made the Key Contact and any other person whose personal data has been submitted, aware of, and has the lawful grounds to enable each Controller (including its processors) to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person named in the Application and open call process) as set out in these Competition Terms and in accordance with the respective privacy policies: Digital Catapult (

9.9 Programme Agreement

Digital Catapult reserves the right to make amendments to the Programme Agreement it issues up until the point of execution by both parties.

9.10 Participant Programmes

Digital Catapult reserves the right to offer Participants access to its Participant Programmes, such as its Platinum Awards.


10.1 Data Retention 

Digital Catapult will store your application and the scoring it has received for the entire duration of the Programme, or up to two (2) years, whichever the greater.  If you are a successful Applicant, we shall also store your Application for a period of up to seven (7) years following the end of the Programme.  For administration purposes, contracts may be stored for up to seven (7) years, contracts providing State Assistance for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

10.2 Confidentiality 

The information provided in your Application will be kept confidential and only used and disclosed as reasonably necessary for the purpose of assessing Applications, and, if admitted onto the Programme, for working with you in the Programme.  This may include with our Programme Partners as indicated above.  

For practical reasons, NDAs will not be signed by Digital Catapult or the Programme Partners as part of this Programme Competition. The activities we provide can only be achieved through trust of the tech community. It is therefore not in our interest to release your sensitive information. Confidentiality provisions are included in the Programme Agreement.

The scoring of your Application will be treated as sensitive information.

As your Application will be transmitted over the Internet, ultimately Digital Catapult cannot guarantee its security.

10.3 Intellectual Property 

We respect the intellectual property of others, and we ask our Applicants to do the same. 

In submitting the Application, you promise that you have and continue to have all necessary rights, licenses, permissions and consent to provide the content in your application to us, and for Catapult to use the Application as we have set out.

We will not remove from Applications any proprietary labels or copyright assertions. 

10.4 Disclaimers, Exclusions & Limitations

We accept no liability for any consequences, whether direct or indirect, that may arise from your participation in the Programme Competition, your reliance on any statements we may have made about your application, the Programme, or its suspension or withdrawal.

In any case, to the extent permitted under law, Digital Catapult’s liability shall be limited to one thousand (£1,000) pounds.

10.5 Entire Agreement

These Competition Terms constitute the entire agreement between Digital Catapult and the Applicant and extinguish all previous and contemporaneous agreements, promises, assurances, and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to the subject matter of these Competition Terms.

10.6 Jurisdiction

The Programme Competition is governed by English law and the Applicant agrees that any dispute shall be exclusively resolved in the English courts.