Small companies can make a big difference
According to the UN, meat and dairy accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Allplants has set out to reduce meat consumption by delivering chef-made, plant-based dishes to your front door. From the food itself to delivery, everything is sustainably produced and designed to protect the planet.
If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the US. OLIO is tackling food waste by connecting neighbours with each other, and with local businesses, so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. To date, five million people in over 50 countries have joined the OLIO community, sharing more than 15 million portions of food.
Raylo reduces the environmental impact of smartphones by using a subscription model, giving consumers access to the latest smartphones in a cheaper and more sustainable way. At the end of the subscription, customers can upgrade to a new smartphone and then simply return the old one. Raylo’s circular model of reuse, refurb and recycle means that smartphones are used for more than six years, almost three times longer than the UK average of 2.3 years.
Whirli is a toy subscription business platform that helps reduce plastic consumption and waste when children inevitably grow out, of or get bored of their current toys. The model works by giving parents access to an inventory of toys that they can use, return and swap using a token system.
Video streaming over the internet is at an all-time high, accelerated by working from home and growth in streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. But research indicates that video streaming already contributes close to 1% of global emissions, so it’s vital that we find new ways to reduce this. iSIZE does this by applying deep-learning solutions to optimise video streaming quality while reducing bitrate requirements, allowing for a significant reduction in data and energy consumption.
Minimum helps seamlessly integrate carbon offsetting into their business processes and customer journeys. Its platform allows businesses to calculate the carbon footprint of their products and services and connects them to a curated set of market-leading carbon offsetting projects to neutralize their environmental impact.
We also tend to hear lots about plans to build more renewable energy assets, and the need for large corporates to become more sustainable.
All of this is vitally important, and urgently needs to happen. Yet for us to be successful in tackling climate change, we will also need to scale up lots of new carbon-reducing technologies and sustainable services that will allow us to meet these critical net-zero targets.
That is where contributions from innovative smaller companies can be vital, and where our investment can help them keep growing and reach their potential.
Here are six companies from our own portfolio that are making a difference.
Jo Oliver is fund manager for Octopus Titan VCT