The agri-food SME (small and medium sized enterprise) sector is suffering from a two-sided market failure. A side that is seeking to bring sustainability to their supply chains but lacks the resources to know where to start. And a side that is providing those sustainable solutions but lacks the resources and visibility to be seen by the right buyer. This market failure is a significant contributor to this sector’s GHG emissions.
Greener’s solution is aiming to bring these two sides together through matchmaking and help businesses discover, connect and form partnerships that are fit for their specific needs.
Thanks so much for agreeing to talk at the event, can you tell us more about Greener?
Mehrnaz: Greener is a platform that helps agri-food businesses build more sustainable supply chains. Our platform functions a lot like a dating app, but instead of finding you romantic partners, it seeks out business partnerships. We make it easier for agri-food businesses to find the right partner by understanding their needs and then matching them with users who don’t just provide the services you’re looking for, but operate with a similar set of values.
We launched a year ago and now have users from all around the world who are actively seeking and offering sustainable solutions that can grow their supply chains in a greener way. Greener being born in the middle of the pandemic means we are very much aware of the unique challenges faced by businesses. That’s why from day one we’ve been committed to being a completely free platform for all users. We want to ensure sustainability can be accessible to every business regardless of their size or resources.
What sparked your interest in sustainability?
Mehrnaz: I’ve been involved with sustainability in the academic world for many years and I really wanted to do something that had a real and practical impact. In earlier research, I worked closely with manufacturers and farmers in the dairy industry who were struggling to make sustainability work for their supply chains. That challenge only gets more intense as you move further up the supply chain and the businesses get smaller.
So I started thinking about how I could apply the knowledge that I accumulated over the years to bring sustainability to the heart of the agri-food industry. I truly believe that by allocating the right resources and knowledge we will tackle the climate crisis, but we need to do it today.
How is the product doing and what are you hoping to achieve with it?
Mehrnaz: The product is doing great – we are in an aggressive growth phase which is very exciting and naturally full of learning.
We have really big plans for the coming year! We want our platform to be a one-stop-shop for all things sustainability; a place that helps businesses make informed supply chain decisions and where sustainability is a core consideration rather than an afterthought.
Over 90% of the emissions in the agri-food industry are scope 3 emissions, and environmental impacts arise as a result of supply chain activities. So that’s exactly where our key focus is. We’re integrating useful and intuitive features that continuously empower decision makers to make informed decisions when it comes to their supply chains.
What do you think of the green tech scene that has developed in the south west in recent years?
Mehrnaz: I think it is one of the most exciting and happening regions in the UK for Green Tech. I’ve come across so many passionate and knowledgeable founders who are keen to tackle the climate crisis with collaboration, hopefulness, and enthusiasm. Things that we very much need to make meaningful change.
In just the last two years we’ve seen the resources allocated in this region increase dramatically to enable that talent to continue their work. But I also think that more needs to be done to really accelerate innovation even further.
There is still a huge disparity between the amount of capital and resources being pumped into the London tech scene compared to the rest of the country and I think we need to close that gap if we want to create the ideal startup ecosystem beyond the M25.
This applies to both governmental grant funding and private funds, and its especially true when it comes to funding early-stage startups.
What’s next for Greener?
Mehrnaz: Our goal from the beginning was to make sustainability accessible and to move it to the forefront of agri-food decision making. We’ve already taken the first steps towards that goal and everything from now is about continuously incorporating more features and insights so that we can keep giving businesses the tools they need to make change a reality.
Thank you Mehrnaz for the chat.
Our first hybrid event
Weds June 15th (6-8pm) at the Engine Shed, Bristol featuring Mehrnaz!
Head over to the meetup page to RSVP for free and let us know if you’ll be there in person or watching online.