Fast Forward Challenge: Sustainable Solutions Edition

Calling all businesses, start-ups, and innovators working towards a more sustainable future!

The Fast Forward Challenge: Sustainable Solutions Edition is a brand-new challenge, facilitated by DHL, providing the opportunity to showcase innovative and sustainability focused technologies and solutions to the world.

Submit your concept, solution, or idea NOW to win attractive cash prizes, and other rewards that no amount of money could buy, all while shaping more sustainable solutions for a greener tomorrow.

 As part of The Era of Sustainable Logistics, an initiative that is a collective response to climate change, bringing organizations together to usher in a new era for businesses with sustainable logistics at its core. The Fast Forward Challenge is designed to identify the best solutions focused on navigating and overcoming global sustainability issues, and there are big prizes for the winner(s).

All you need to do is send us a video pitch (no more than 5 minutes long) that summarizes your company, the problem you are aiming to solve, and how you intend to solve it. The most promising pitches will be evaluated by a high-profile jury in regional finals on four continents. The winners of each regional final will then be invited to the final at our global summit event in Valencia, Spain, April 25 - 27, 2023.

Click below to submit your up to 5-minute video:

Make sure to check out the FAQs to find out more important information, such as the deadline to participate, prizes, and many more. Together we can successfully address the challenges of the climate emergency that is shaping the world we live in.

FAQs for the Sustainability Fast Forward Challenge

What is Fast Forward Challenge: Sustainable Solutions Edition?

Answer: The Fast Forward Challenge: Sustainable Solutions Edition is a competition facilitated by DHL Research & Innovation GmbH, which provides the opportunity for businesses to showcase their innovative technologies and solutions to the world, with a focus on navigating and overcoming global sustainable issues.

Who is permitted to attend and participate in the challenge?

Answer: We have an inclusive culture at DHL, so any business (regardless of size) that is working towards creating a more sustainable future is permitted to participate in the event. Employees of the DHL Group are unable to pitch solutions in this event.

Are there any specific requirements or criteria that need to be met to participate?

Answer: The only criteria necessary to enter the Fast Forward Challenge, is that you are an organization that is working towards creating a more sustainable future and feel passionately that you bring a solution to the table!

What is the reward/benefit of participating in and attending the challenge?

The 5 chosen finalists (One from each region plus a wildcard, which can be located from any region) will be invited to the DHL Era of Sustainability Summit in Valencia, Spain, including round-trip airfare and hotel accommodation, covered by DHL.

All participants who have their solution shown at the Summit, will benefit from increased visibility and reach for your solution, with an audience of senior executives from some of DHL’s largest customers.

Cash prizes will also be awarded in Valencia! 50,000 Euros, 10,000 Euros, and 5,000 Euros will be given to first, second, and third place finalists respectively. The winners will also benefit from access and contact with a person within DHL (helping you progress your winning solution to the point where it can potentially be piloted in our operations!), and joint marketing support with DHL. The best solutions may even find a new home and be demonstrated at one of the four DHL Innovation Centers around the world, where thousands of senior executives from our largest customer delegations come to discover the next big thing for their organization.

How/where will the challenge take place?

Answer: Round 1 of the challenge will be virtual, you can submit your solutions via this form. If your solution is selected, it will be shown at one of our four regional events (held in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa) for our customers and subject matter experts to vote on.

Winners of one of these regional events will be chosen by a combination of customer input, operational leaders, subject matter experts, or the “wildcard pick” (as determined by DHL subject matter experts). The finalists will be invited to attend the Era of Sustainable Logistics Summit in Valencia, Spain, April 25 - 27 2023 where they will present live to a panel of judges, and in person to many potential end users.

When will the challenge take place?

Answer: There are two deadlines to submit your pitch. For your solution to be considered for entry into the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific regional competitions, your solution must be submitted no later than October 16, 2022.

To participate in the Middle East and Africa regional competitions, your solution must be submitted by January 10, 2023. If you submit for the earlier deadline and select the geographic scope of viability in the submission for multiple regions, your submission will be considered in multiple regions. Note: please consider the submission date based on the geographic areas of interest for your solution to be deployed, not the location you are located.

The final will take place at the Era of Sustainable Logistics Summit in Valencia, April 25 – 27, 2023.

Why should I be interested in participating in the event?

Answer: This event allows you to showcase your most innovative technologies and solutions, that are helping address or even solve the world’s largest sustainable issues, to people who share the goal of implementing solutions to make their supply chains cleaner and more efficient.

How do I apply to take part in the event?

Answer: To participate in the event you will need to submit your video application via the submission link. This will need to be submitted by the aforementioned deadline laid out in FAQ #6 (Americas, Europe, Asia: October 16, 2022 and for Middle East and Africa the deadline is January 10, 2023)

What is the process of application?

Answers: The application process is very simple! First, participants must have technologies/solutions that are focused on helping solve/overcome global sustainable issues. Second, participants must then create and submit an up to 5-minute video that includes: A) An introduction to your company B) What the sustainable problem/issue you are solving is; and C) A demonstration of your solution to for the judges to vote on (note: videos will be cut at 5 minutes if they overrun).

After this is submitted, your application will be reviewed, and you will be notified if your solution will be shown at the regional level events.

What do the pitches need to include? Are there any specific questions or objectives that need to be answered?


·         Introduce your company

·         What is the sustainability-related problem you are solving?

·         Explain how you are addressing the problem

·         If possible, show a demonstration of how the system works

in a video submission that is no longer than 5 minutes. If you are selected to attend the final, you will need to present your solution to a panel of judges at the Era of Sustainable Logistics Summit in Valencia, April 25- 27, 2023.

How many team members are allowed to take part in the event?

Answer: As many team members as you would like can participate in the video submission. If your solution is chosen to be presented at the final in Valencia Spain, two members from each team will be invited to attend.

Are there any costs to attend/enter the event?

Answer: There are no costs to enter the event. DHL is not responsible for any costs incurred during the production of the submission process. The finalist invited to Valencia will have their round-trip airfare and hotel accommodation covered by DHL. If visas are required for travel, applicants will be required to obtain these on their own. DHL can provide letters supporting the purpose of the visit if required.

Where do I submit my proposal?

Answer: To enter the challenge you will need to submit your application via our submission form. This will need to be completed by the above-mentioned deadlines (Americas, Europe, Asia: October 16, 2022 and For Middle East and Africa the deadline is January 10, 2023).

Is there any funding available for start-ups to help them participate in the event?

Answer: There is no funding available to create solutions or pitches in this competition.

When will I be informed of the outcome of my proposal?

Answer: All applications will go through a rigorous review process by potential end users and subject matter experts. Should you be selected to participate in the finals in Valencia, you will be notified ASAP following each regional event, and no later than January 1, 2023.

Who should I contact if I face any issues throughout the application process?

Answer: For questions or concerns, you can email with Subject line “*Company name* FFC Support Request”.

If my application makes it to the final, what do I need to prepare and expect?

Answer: If your solution is chosen to be presented at the finals in Valencia, you will be notified ASAP. A member of the DHL Innovation Center and Trend Research Team will be in contact with you, to help you and your organization prepare for the event, and to answer any questions you may have along the way.

If I make it through to the final and am unable to attend in person, can I participate virtually?

Answer: The event is face-to-face, therefore you will need to attend the final in person. Virtual attendance is prohibited. We recommend having an alternate delegate from your organization participate to not miss out on this opportunity to show your solution to this audience.

When is the deadline for application submission?

Answer: All submissions must be made via the submission form by the above-mentioned deadlines, based on the area of applicability for your solution (Americas, Europe, Asia: October 16, 2022 and for Middle East and Africa the deadline is January 10, 2023).