Tag Archives: Sustainability

myenergi awarded EcoVadis bronze medal for sustainability

Eco-smart home energy technology manufacturer myenergi has been awarded an EcoVadis bronze medal for its commitment to setting the standards in sustainable best practice. The prestigious accolade places the Stallingborough-based company within the top 35% of all companies assessed by the framework within the past 12 months.

EcoVadis is one of the world’s largest providers of business sustainability ratings, boasting a global network of more than 130,000 rated companies. Its certifications recognise and reward companies that go above and beyond to embrace sustainable practices.

The accreditation process requires businesses to submit documentation, examples and references for multiple sustainability proof points, with performance assessed against a bespoke methodology. myenergi scored well across each of the four performance themes analysed – environment; labour and human rights; ethics; and sustainable procurement.

Emma Brigginshaw, head of sustainability and ethics at myenergi, commented: “Being recognised by EcoVadis is a clear demonstration of our commitment to embracing sustainable best practice across the business. It affirms the robustness of our management systems and performance of our production processes.

“But while a positive endorsement of our work to date, this certification is just the start. As a leader in the design and manufacture of eco-smart home energy technologies, we’re committed to holding ourselves to account and really leading the way when it comes to setting the industry standards.

“We’re therefore already working hard in the background on numerous initiatives to further improve our environmental performance, each of which will be announced in due course. This bronze medal is a really valuable yardstick to fully understand where we’re already scoring highly, as Well as the areas that need additional focus moving forward.”

Best known for developing zappi, the world’s first solar-compatible electric vehicle charger, myenergi is a global leader in the home energy technology sector. The business manufactures a wide range of pioneering energy management devices, including the eddi power diverter and libbi battery storage system. Since its founding in 2016, the business has sold more than 600,000 units globally, while opening subsidiaries in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland along the way.

For more information about myenergi and its latest range of eco-smart home energy tech, visit www.myenergi.com.

Pioneering entrepreneur launches The Clever Carbon Company to help protect the planet

A pioneering entrepreneur has launched a series of ventures aimed at helping protect the planet by improving the sustainable practices of businesses and individuals.

David Oates, 45, has established The Clever Carbon Company, based in Worsley, Greater Manchester, with a mission to bring about change by rethinking the way that products are designed, made, used and decommissioned at their end of life.

He already runs a consultancy business called Mouthful, focused on advising the hospitality sector on strategy and growth opportunities. He is also a sessional lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.

Previously, he had a varied career including roles as a manager in the strategy team at professional services giant KPMG and later as head of strategy at LateRooms.

He has a master’s degree in materials science from the University of Sheffield, an MBA from Leeds University Business School, and is a fellow of the Strategic Planning Society.

David has received support for The Clever Carbon Company from the GC Business Growth Hub, and funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and British Business Bank.

He has also been collaborating with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford on research and development projects linked to aspects such as materials science, rapid prototyping, innovation and digital enablement.

Through a blend of product and service design and using innovative technologies, The Clever Carbon Company explores and identifies solutions in industries such as consumer products and clothing, which are currently the largest contributors to landfill.

The first priority area for The Clever Carbon Company is tackling the impact of single-use materials in the personal care industry.

This has led to NeuTrail, a novel refillable dispenser for personal care products such as shampoo or handwash. Using circular design, it is made from a single, recycled material, which makes the product easier to recycle repeatedly, and it has a simple, gravity-fed design. which makes it easier to use, even for people with mobility issues.

NeuTrail is being manufactured with short UK-based supply chains via 3D-print technology, meaning each dispenser can be personalised. The range has already gained listings in a number of catalogues offering sustainable consumer products.

David’s second priority area is clothing and textiles. The Clever Carbon Company is developing solutions for high-demand, non-discretionary clothing, such as uniforms and workwear, through a venture named Cottonopoly.

Partnering with UK manufacturers, Cottonopoly supplies cotton or polycotton garments, initially school cardigans and sweaters.

Parents pay a deposit on each garment, which is then refunded when the item is returned after use. Returns then have an extended life as either pre-loved clothing or by being recycled into products of similar quality.

Cottonopoly has been conducting a trial of the takeback scheme at St Mark’s Church of England Primary School in Worsley and plans to roll out in other parts of the UK later this year.

Father-of-two David said: “We’re providing affordable, sustainable clothing and are incentivising parents to return items they no longer need so they can be renewed, re-used or recycled.

“Having young children, I am fully aware how many garments families can get through, and how they eventually end up being discarded.

“Every year, millions of school garments end up in landfill sites or are incinerated, both of which are very bad for the environment and are quite avoidable.

“Cottonopoly puts an end to single-life clothing, offering high quality and affordable products that can be easily and efficiently repurposed or recycled with negligible waste. Our mission is to reduce the impact of clothing on the planet, as well as on household purse strings.

“We’re collaborating with local mills, reducing the need for transportation. Anything can be sourced cheaply overseas, but the traditional UK textile heartlands are the perfect place to establish short, UK-based supply chains, which will be an essential part of tackling demanding environmental targets.

“Manchester and the surrounding area have deservedly been considered a hub of innovation ever since the Spinning Jenny and Spinning Mule effectively triggered the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th Century. At Cottonopoly we are continuing this tradition with a 21st century twist that puts consumers at its heart.”

David is looking to expand Cottonopoly to include other school uniform overgarments such as trousers and shirts, as well as workwear and potentially leisurewear. Customers will be able to buy items online via the company’s website or its app.

He is also separately selling the technology incorporated into NeuTrail and Cottonopoly under the brand name Scan&.

“NeuTrail and Cottonopoly are both underpinned by the same traceable takeback technology which keeps track of every product we make, including what it’s made from, who uses it and when it’s time to ultimately repair, re-use or recycle it,” he said.

“We use circular-design and traceable takeback technology to provide products that last longer and don’t end up being discarded, thereby inspiring people to become more conscious consumers.

“Our technology tracks all our products through their entire lifecycle, which makes returning them effortless. Users are better able to keep track of what they buy and are directly rewarded for returning the items at their end of life.

“If society is to meet challenging climate targets in the years to come, this circular way of thinking about products will need to become more commonplace, which is where The Clever Carbon Company comes in.

“Currently the sustainability landscape is confusing to both businesses and members of the public. The Clever Carbon Company is all about making sustainable practice more accessible and practical.”

Why Bespoke Packaging is Key for Brand Elevation and Sustainability Representation in the Retail Sector

Packaging is crucial in every industry but even more crucial in retail. From sanitation to buyer influence, packaging has a strong power to impact and encourage your company’s reputation. In a sector where similar products are on display, rivalling yours, standing out from the crowd is essential. In fact, there’s an average of 29 competitors for each business in the UK market.

Matthew Hall, Marketing Manager at CCS McLays, says: “Packaging is more than the product inside. It is an important marketing tool for your company, as not only does it influence consumer appeal, but it also provides an opportunity to reinforce your branding, providing that the branding is somewhat consistent over time and easy to recognise.

“In the retail sector, being able to stand out has always proved vital, and ensuring you’ve got bespoke packaging that is not only easily identifiable to consumers but also representative of your overall company’s positioning is a must.”

Standing out within the marketplace
Gaining a competitive edge is crucial in this somewhat turbulent industry. Product packaging plays a vital role in gaining brand awareness momentum, encouraging customer purchases and elevating your market share.

Hall states: “As the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute have proven, packaging also can offer buyers a mental shortcut, particularly when they are shopping for low-involvement goods. Products such as Toblerone or Heinz baked beans are easy to notice through uniquely identifiable characteristics such as the shape, colours or copy on the packaging, and this is one of many factors (albeit an important one) as to why both brands have enjoyed significant success over the years.”

It’s not just prior to purchasing where packaging can make a considerable impact. Post-purchase is also a huge opportunity for retail brands to build brand equity. For example, the bold yellow duffle bag has become synonymous with JD Sports, so much so that JD Sports recently developed a marketing campaign titled ‘The Bag for Life’ centring on the famous duffle bag prior to Christmas 2023.

Customer trust
Being a recognisable brand is important for influencing buyer habits. In fact, 46% of customers claim they’d pay a premium for products from a trusted brand. As mentioned, one way to gain this trusted status is through unique, bespoke packaging that customers can easily recognise.

However, trust can also come from finding brands which align with the right values. In fact, 82% of customers claim they’d rather buy from a brand that aligns with their values. Although what customers claim they do and what they actually do may not always match up, your packaging is undeniably an important tool in conveying the values you wish to stand for. For example, your sustainability credentials can be purposefully developed through your choice of materials. With 66% of people considering sustainability when they buy from a brand, this option could ultimately gain the favour of acquiring new customers and even creating loyalty.

Liam Knowles, Director of CCS McLays, says: “Bespoke packaging does more for your brand reputation than you might think. It is an opportunity to both increase your customer engagement and convey the values that you wish to stand for. Sustainability has rightly continued to gain traction for several years within the retail industry, but if you wish for your packaging to be sustainable, make it easy for your customers to recognise that through the choice of materials and supporting copy.”

Drawing online attention
Liam Knowles says: “The magnetism that the right bespoke packaging can have isn’t only useful in-store, but it can actually help your brand identity online too. With online retailers trying to catch customers’ attention through websites, shopping platforms, and even social media, making you stand out is essential.

“You don’t want to use standard, dull packaging that could be indistinguishable from the next. Instead, investing in unique packaging that elevates your brand could make attracting online audiences easier.”

Data shows that 80% of customers in the UK make e-commerce purchases, with this number expected to rise to over 86% by 2027. With new platform shops such as TikTok shop and other e-commerce creations becoming a reality for many, finding ways to penetrate the online market is crucial. Again, it comes down to recognisability. If your customers can easily recognise your storefront, social media, and packaging as all belonging to the same brand, you’re more likely to attract attention.

The retail sector is highly competitive, with similar products coming onto the market all the time. To stand out from the crowd, you need to make it more than just about your products. Your brand needs to be recognisable and consistent for continual customer engagement both online and offline.

Beachcombing Business: The Woman Turning Ocean Trash into Treasure

Sophie Witt, originally from Somerset, started a successful jewellery business as a result of her beachcombing hobby – where she turns ocean trash into treasure. 

Beachcombing is the process of wandering the high tide line and collecting interesting finds, and it has risen in popularity in recent years. 

For Sophie Witt, Founder of Bahari Blu Jewellery, her love of looking for beach treasures has taken her further than the occasional DIY project. Having started beachcombing with her grandpa when she was four years old, it was while studying a degree in Sustainability at The University of Exeter that Sophie started thinking about what she could create with her growing collection of beach finds.

Sophie started with her collection of sea glass – a material that is created when broken pieces of discarded glass make their way into the ocean and are rubbed smooth over the years by the sand, pebbles and waves. Effectively, the natural movement of the ocean turns unwanted shards of waste glass into gem-like looking treasures, ready to be found by meandering beachcombers like Sophie.

Intent on building a business that did not further deplete the Earth’s resources, Sophie set about learning how to create unique jewellery out of her sea glass finds. After months spent shadowing traditional silversmiths at work, Sophie launched her first bespoke sea glass jewellery collection, made from pieces of surf-tumbled sea glass set in 100% recycled sterling silver.

Sophie’s designs are inspired by the shapes of seaweed, shells and other fragments she finds whilst beachcombing, and she now works from her home-based studio creating ocean-inspired designs with the very treasures she has spent her life collecting. When asked what her favourite part of the process is, Sophie said:

My favourite part is dreaming up new designs, and bringing them to life. Each piece of sea glass is uniquely shaped, and I draw endless inspiration from the sites I see along the shoreline. Beachcombing is a wonderful excuse to spend many hours of my free time by the sea – I find the process so therapeutic and peaceful.”

You can see more of Sophie’s work on her website: https://www.bahariblu.com/

Or, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares behind the scenes of her jewellery-making and beachcombing adventures: @bahari.blu 

(Note to readers: Sophie does not collect any live shells, and collecting sea glass clears the beach of pollution as it is originally a man-made material).

Women are key to the success of the green transition

On International Women’s Day, ACCA underlines the need to address gender inequality in sustainability  


Women have a crucial role to play in the green economy. But leading global accountancy body ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is concerned that women are in danger of being left behind in the green transition. On International Women’s Day (IWD), ACCA is calling on governments, policymakers and employers to make a reality of the 2024 UN IWD theme ‘Invest in women: accelerate progress.’ 


ACCA highlights that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, and women are fourteen times more likely to die in climate emergencies than men. And UN data shows how women led households lose 8% more income to heat-stress than male led households. 


Emmeline Skelton, head of sustainability, ACCA, said: “Women work extensively in sectors such as agriculture where they are disproportionately exposed to climate-related events. On the other hand, they are underrepresented in sectors that are benefitting from the transition to net zero such as construction, utilities and manufacturing. This imbalance needs to be urgently addressed.” 


ACCA is working on this inequality through its focus on gender responsive budgeting (GRB), which measures impacts of gender inequality and mitigates them through targeted policies and budgets.  


Jessica Bingham, regional lead, policy & insights – EEMA and UK, is looking at how this can help investment in women. She said: “Gender responsive budgeting can help to identify and address differences by allocating resources to help resilience building. Women often leave the workplace to fulfil unpaid caring responsibilities. In many areas of the globe, work and employment issues are exacerbated by climate change where women have limited access to resources, loss of livelihood and food insecurity.”  


The accountancy profession is not immune to these issues. Women leave the profession at a much higher rate than men. In large accountancy firms, estimates suggest around 60% of the graduate intake are women, but that figures falls to an estimated 20%-30% at manager level.  


ACCA is providing education through initiatives such as workshops on the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). ACCA is working specifically with public sector finance professionals to understand how gender responsive budgeting could be used to address the widening gender gap.  


Finance professionals have a vital role in the transition to net zero. ACCA research reveals that CFOs believe the finance function has a key role to play in business moving towards a sustainable business model creating long-term value. For instance, by grasping upskilling opportunities the finance profession can become the guardians of ESG (environmental, social and governance) corporate data.  


Skelton said: “In order to make progress we need to look at these issues from a holistic perspective. That is why ACCA supports the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) addressing gender, poverty and inequality. 


“The good news on IWD is the more I research this area the more I’m convinced women can create wonderful opportunities for themselves and for the rest of society in the green economy.” 


Watch here to see Emmeline and Jessica discuss green transition. 

Read ACCA’s transition report,

ACCA celebrates St David’s Day with a focus on building on heritage for a sustainable future

National Day marked with business leaders hearing about sustainability and transformation


ACCA Cymru/Wales marked St David’s Day by bringing together the business community in Wales to celebrate the contribution commerce makes to the community and celebrate Wales’ national day.


Anne Jessopp, CEO of Llantrisant-based The Royal Mint told the 170-strong audience at a breakfast in Cardiff how a business founded in AD 886 is working hard to make sure it is around for another 1,100 years, transforming the business around its rich heritage.


While facing challenges – not least the continuing decline in coin usage – Jessopp set out for the audience of business professionals how The Royal Mint could harness its rich history to ensure it has a dynamic future. It is becoming a leader in reclaiming precious metals from electronic waste such as laptops and mobile phones.


With an annual revenue of £1.9 billion and customers in 120 countries, and an unrivalled expertise in precious metals, Jessopp talked about how she set about reinventing and transforming The Royal Mint.


The Royal Mint is committed to becoming a leader in sustainable precious metals. Later this year it will open a multi-million pound plant to recover gold from UK electronic waste. The pioneering facility will use patented chemistry to recover gold and other metals from circuit boards, generating hundreds of kilograms of precious metals per annum for The Royal Mint.


Jessopp said: “One of the ways we understand our purpose is the value we place on British crafts.  Our new business ventures not only contribute to our overall business success but also provide opportunities. We are moving our people into more sustainable skilled roles as well as nurturing new and diverse talent.”


Picking up on Anne Jessopp’s themes, ACCA Global Council member Helen Morgan spoke about the role that accountants play in supporting businesses and organisations of all sizes and in all sectors in challenging times.


As well as reflecting on key business issues the event heard about the unique work of the Sir Gareth Edwards cancer charity. The charity supports young people aged 15-35 who live in Wales, are receiving treatment for cancer and who are struggling financially.


Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: “It was a pleasure to hear from Anne Jessopp as she leads such an important Welsh-based organisation. Anne’s message about a clear vision, international trade, sustainability, skills and business transformation resonates with ACCA and all our members in Wales.


“We were delighted we worked on this event with our longstanding partners Menzies and University of South Wales. It was great to see so many guests. It is so important for the business community to come together to ensure we continue to work towards a prosperous future for Wales.”

Virtual business card Zappify breaks records in milestone year

The entrepreneurs behind the Zappify virtual business card are celebrating a record-breaking year as they embark on their next phase of expansion.

Keith Robinson and Paul Smith launched Zappify during the first Covid lockdown in the spring of 2020 as a fully digital and green alternative to traditional printed business cards.

During 2023 they achieved several milestones, as businesses continue to seek ways to strengthen their environmental credentials.

Zappify is now being used in more than 40 countries across six continents, and over 250 companies employing 75,000 staff worldwide have adopted the technology.

The final quarter of 2023 saw Zappify actively used more than 30,000 times by businesspeople across the globe, representing a year-on-year increase of 273 per cent and up 149 per cent compared with the previous three months.

Zappify’s client base ranges from individual freelancers and start-ups to multinational companies. Users include accountants and solicitors, architects and property developers, and companies involved in sectors such as manufacturing, consulting, leisure and hospitality, oil and gas, creative and media, fashion, jewellery and telecoms.

Clients range from chartered accountancy firm Saffery, law firm Gateley, food wholesaler Bidfood and specialist lender Leumi UK to valve manufacturer Severn Valve, Bazooka Candy Brands, the maker of the famous bubble gum, and energy and marine consultancy ABL Group.

The Zappify card is contactless and enables users to swap contact information in person or over video conferencing platforms, email and messaging apps on their smart phones via a unique QR code or personal URL.

Clients pay an annual subscription to use the Zappify platform, and all data is held securely in compliance with GDPR requirements and with endorsement from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Keith said that with increased functionality, including the options to share promotional corporate videos and generate personal video introductions, plus links to websites and platforms such as LinkedIn, social media accounts and YouTube content, Zappify is evolving into a powerful digital marketing tool rather than being solely a business card.

Zappify’s research shows that it takes almost seven litres of water to create 10 business cards. Each year, 10 billion business cards are printed globally, and 88 per cent are thrown away within a week. Over six million adult trees are destroyed each year to produce paper cards.

The upsurge in activity for Zappify, which is based in Bury, Greater Manchester, meant more than a million litres of water were saved in 2023.

Keith said: “Last year was a record-breaker for Zappify. Awareness is growing as companies and individuals everywhere put greater emphasis on the need to implement more sustainable practices and see the benefits of adopting ways to go digital.

“We saw exponential growth in the number of active users, and our global reach now stands at 265 companies operating in 41 countries.

“Our clients understand that virtual business cards are a cheaper and greener option than printed ones, with the added advantage that digital contact information can be shared more extensively using modern technology and devices, and can easily be updated when people move locations or positions.

“We have invested to further develop the platform by fully integrating Zappify with Apple Wallet, introducing an offline mode so that contact details can be shared on smartphones even where there is no signal, and enabling contact information to be displayed in any language, which increases our global appeal.

“Recently we have introduced a Platinum product offering a fully bespoke design experience, covering the virtual business cards, administration platform and user app. This is being rolled out after a successful trial late last year with a major UK-based property development company.

“Our growth means businesses are able to save more trees and water and conduct their affairs in a more digital, convenient and cheaper fashion.

“This year we are delighted to be launching an important initiative to encourage people to recycle their old, printed cards.

“By actively promoting recycling, this will further emphasise the sustainability message in business and demonstrate that every individual can make a difference, even if only in a small way.

“The ‘Zappify Pledge for the Planet’ will highlight that every contribution is valuable and will facilitate further savings of trees and water by putting back into the production process for alternative recycled paper products.

“This year is hugely exciting for Zappify as we continue to grow rapidly and see the digital card and platform become a one-stop digital marketing tool for our users.”

Sustainability at the core of new student competition with Microsoft Italia and three top business schools

A competition aiming to tackle societal, economic, and environmental challenges has been launched by three major European academic institutions – POLIMI Graduate School of Management, EDHEC Business School, and ESMT Berlin.

Supported by Microsoft Italia, INNOVA Europe invites students from bachelor to master’s level to submit innovative proposals that address any one of the specific challenges outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).“Technology and innovation are the key forces behind tangible action on environmental and social sustainability. This challenge was launched precisely to provide skills and guidance to young students and entrepreneurs who are committed to devising effective solutions to address the challenges that the European Union has identified as fundamental for the coming years and to shaping a better future for all,” explained Tommaso Agasisti, Associate Dean for Internationalization and Quality at POLIMI Graduate School of Management.

With collaboration and entrepreneurial thinking at the heart of this initiative, the three leading business schools from, Italy, France and Germany believe this competition will generate new products and solutions that can target a particular problem relating to at least one of the 17 UN SDGs.

“Our economies, societies, and cultures are facing unprecedented challenges, creating both threats and opportunities. Cooperation across countries is fundamental to instigate the rapid change needed, and we believe that fostering responsible entrepreneurship as well as bringing up the contribution of student innovators can be decisive in what the future holds,” said Ludovic Cailluet, Associate Dean for The Centre for Responsible Entrepreneurship at EDHEC Business School.

The winning team will receive a prize which consists of €5,000, and vital incubation services offered by the three academic incubators of the partner Schools – PoliHub, EDHEC Entrepreneurs, or Vali Berlin.

“With the Student Challenge for Sustainable Development Impact, we are creating a new form of international collaboration that prepares students for the challenges of tomorrow. In the process, they not only learn entrepreneurial thinking and develop innovative creativity, but they also gain access to a network from which they can benefit far beyond the competition,” said Baris Efe, manager and co-founder of Vali Berlin at ESMT.

“Together with POLIMI Graduate School of Management, we are looking for innovators capable of promoting positive change in Italy and Europe through digital. Technological innovations, beginning with Cloud and Artificial Intelligence, are more strategic than ever for driving sustainable growth and a more equitable society. We need to join forces and put systems in place to achieve a common goal: that of ensuring a better future for ourselves and for the new generations,” said Matteo Mille, Chief Marketing and Operations Officer at Microsoft Italia.

Vita unveils state-of-the-art sound reduction testing

The Vita Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of flexible polyurethane (PU) foam, has taken its R&D capabilities to the next level with the introduction of advanced acoustic testing technology.

Middleton based Vitec, part of The Vita Group has invested in the installation of an Alpha cabin, which provides in-depth data on the acoustic insulation and noise absorption properties of foam products. This will help Vita further formulate materials and composites with optimum noise reduction levels for end users in a range of market sectors.

Vitec can now conduct innovative, high-end audio testing within its own research department. This allows the R&D team to test more batches and to react to customer demands or in-house R&D breakthroughs at a faster rate.

Understanding the acoustic properties of foam is vital for a number of applications, including making cars and planes relaxing environments, reducing noise transfer between multi-occupancy residences and achieving a high level of sound quality in cinemas and other auditoriums. Knowing how sounds travels through foam also helps minimise disturbances from noisy appliances such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning units as well as lowering potential hearing damage risks in loud industrial spaces by quietening heavy machinery and equipment.

Thanks to investments such as the Alpha cabin and the expertise of the Middleton Innovation Centre, Vita’s team can tailor foam solutions to absorb specific frequencies. This means that if a particular nuisance frequency is known then the foam can be adjusted to best meet the challenge at hand.

Stuart Roby, Technical and Flooring Division Managing Director at The Vita Group, said: “Having the Alpha cabin at our Middleton Innovation Centre is an exciting development. It opens up a number of opportunities for our research into noise-tackling foam solutions. It opens up multiple opportunities for research into noise-tackling foam solutionsThere is a demand for noise reduction systems of this kind, with everyone from data centres to manufacturing hubs and theatres all eager to find out how they can solve tricky sound-related issues. and noise reduction systems, for which there is huge demand in the market. Whether it is data centres, manufacturing hubs or theatres, we can now support all our customers’ needs to solve tricky sound-related issues.

“Our ability to quickly turn around state-of-the-art tests and then use this information to tailor foams for specific situations has streamlined the research process, making us the ideal partner for companies that want to find out how foam can solve their acoustic challenges and concerns.”

Sustainability innovator helps founder bag Dragons’ Den investment

A gardening startup that uses the latest in compostable packaging innovation has become the latest winner in this season’s Dragons’ Den.

The key component of Grow Sow Simple’s judge-wooing seed kits, which won an £80,000 investment from Dragon, Sara Davies, are clever biodegradable pods. They’re made of bespoke moulded fibre, a wonder material, by Cullen Eco Packaging. The pod is just one example of the sustainable, compostable material shaped into an increasing array of designs to replace plastic packaging.

Entrepreneur Dan Robson, the man behind Grow So Simple, won backing on the BBC show which aired on 19th January 2023. His firm’s sought-after seed kits make growing your own veg more accessible. The flagship product, a biodegradable pod with multiple seeds inside (e.g. allotment garden mix of cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage), sells in over 150 stores in the UK and has lucrative orders coming in from as far as California.

Cullen Eco Packaging’s zero waste innovations are rapidly replacing plastic packs for everything from gardening products like Grow So Simple’s kits to moulded fibre bottles, a paper bottle replacement for dry goods such as vitamins, spices, home cleaning products and more.

David MacDonald, Cullen ECO-Friendly Packaging’s Owner, said: “Congratulations to Dan and his team on winning the Dragons’ Den investment. Dan is as passionate about innovation and sustainability as we are. Our moulded fibre packaging is a game changer not just for Grow So Simple but also anyone using plastic containers. We can design, engineer and manufacture replacements for most plastic packaging, and currently do so not just with Dan’s great business, but with over 1 billion products per year to companies in 34 countries.”

Dan Robson, added: ““The idea for my company was born out of my passions for sustainability and making gardening accessible. I am delighted that Sara, whose phenomenal brand was also created off the back of her own obsession for crafting, saw potential in our company at this critical phase in our journey.”

Dragons’ Den panellist and investor, Sara Davies, said: “I liked Dan the moment I met him and I really resonated with his commitment to giving all people, from all walks of life, the chance to grow their own vegetables. This level of passion, along with a strong concept, is critical for business success so I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and grow his fantastic brand.