Five Ecopreneurs to Watch
Entrepreneurship plays a huge role in supporting the growth of the green economy, furthering the development of a world where resource efficiency and social inclusion are a priority. Sublime introduces Five individuals who have made waves while putting the planet first
Campaigning for healthier and more sustainable school meals, Jimmy Pierson is the director of the UK branch of ProVeg International, a charity on a mission to halve global animal consumption by 2040.
Pierson set up the pioneering School Plates programme in 2018 and has since provided more than six million plant-based meals to schools across the UK. ‘I care passionately about the food we serve to children. They deserve to thrive, nourished by good food they love. I also care deeply about the future of our planet and know that food can be an important solution in addressing the climate crisis,’ he says.
‘Children care about climate change more than any other generation, and they do enjoy tasty plant-based food – especially when it’s paired with education around its positive impact. It’s an absolute joy to see them eating nutritious meals while taking an active role in addressing the climate crisis at school, at home, and hopefully for the rest of their lives,’ he adds.
A former lawyer and football reporter, Pierson’s career change was driven by learning of the harrowing conditions on dairy farms. He sought out employment that would allow him to advocate for a greater shift to plant-based nutrition. He explains that ‘there are so many reasons to eat more plant-based food. Animal-based food emits twice as much greenhouse gas as plant-based food and is responsible for the deforestation of vast areas of rainforest’, but it was the welfare conditions endured by cows that really got him started on this path.
School Plates was inspired by Pierson’s experience in raising his daughter vegan. The programme addresses the problems he once encountered – reviewing school menus, suggesting creative language and positioning changes to increase the uptake of existing veg-forward meals, developing new recipes, and delivering plant-based cooking workshops for school caterers. Best of all, it’s all provided free of charge.
CEO, Co-Founder and Board Member at HomeBiogas. Oshik graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Sciences, specialising in water treatment. Oshik led the product development team at Shoresh, Israel’s largest tactical gear manufacturer and exporter, where he launched an innovative product, sold on a global scale. His next entrepreneurial endeavour was founding HomeBiogas together with his long-time friends and co-founders Yair Teller and Erez Lanzer in 2012. He lives with his wife and two children in Neurim, off the coast of Israel where they produce all of the energy for their cooking from their food scraps.
HomeBiogas develops ground-breaking, easy-to-use biogas systems, enabling people and businesses to turn their organic waste into self-made clean energy and fertiliser, on-site.
Their products are built upon a deep understanding of nature and the circular economy. In harmony with the natural processes of the earth, we use smart technology to strengthen the chemical process of anaerobic digestion and turn natural and organic waste into resources.
By producing clean cooking gas, water heating, and organic fertiliser we advance people’s lives. Farmers become independent with their own-grown organic fertiliser, families enjoy their own resilient and sustainable energy source, and businesses benefit from reduced waste treatment and energy costs and decrease their carbon footprint.
HomeBiogas has proven success in the consumer sector and sold over 15,000 systems in 107 countries.
This entrepreneur has made it his mission to create unconventional products with fewer natural resources. Focusing on next-generation biomaterials, Stübler has developed some of the most advanced fashion materials and helped implement them into sustainable products with designers in Paris and Milan.
Growing up in rural Austria, he fostered a connection to nature early on. Experiencing a world where waste was a resource, he started dreaming of a modern society with closed resource loops (however unusual this might have been for a 12-year-old). Degrees in agriculture, biotechnology, and bio-economics led to his first patents in the plant-based field, with the focus always on minimising humans’ environmental footprint.
While working on a humanitarian project in Central America, Stübler’s eyes were opened to the unrealised potential of fashion. He joined MycoWorks, a mushroom leather startup in California, in product development and, recently, returned to Europe to support fashion brands in replacing animal leather with mushroom-based alternatives. The latter involved visits to tanneries which, for a vegetarian, was a heartbreaking experience, and with the only alternative being plastic fur, Stübler decided to call on his expertise to make a change.
In 2021, he founded BioFluff, a company producing the first 100% plant-based fur, a soft, sustainable, and durable alternative with the goal to provide a cruelty-free material that excites designers and is good for the planet.
As a judge and mentor in several startup competitions, Stübler’s biggest passion is helping new companies develop sustainable and profitable products. His nomination for the LVMH Innovation Award, Fashion for Change competition, and IndieBio – as well as various other government prizes – have helped him make a name for himself as a true expert in the field.
Rex Garratt and Wendy Latham
It was the phrase ‘follow the science’ that first inspired Rex Garratt and Wendy Latham to launch Silicawaters. Garratt, a lifelong journalist, had lost family members to Alzheimer’s disease while his partner was encountering ever-growing numbers of children with autism during her twenty years working in a primary school. So their interest was piqued when a radio programme covered the detox qualities of a drinking water rich in silica, appealing for funding towards further research into a hypothesis that human absorption of aluminium with potential neurotoxic tendencies was coinciding with the mercurial rise in neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and autism.
This prompted their meeting with the research scientists, which led to the couple launching Silicawaters, an online shop unique in offering customers bottled water naturally endowed with silicic acid – and therefore with the power to help the body rid itself of aluminium.
Feeling that this was a ‘gift from nature’, Garratt and Latham adopted an eco-forward approach, selecting only the most sustainable and purest of silica waters: Sousas mineral water from Spain, bottled in environmentally safe glass bottles as well as in recyclable PET plastic, and ACILIS by Spritzer artesian water from an award-winning source in Malaysia, the very water which was originally used by scientists in their research studies.
They supplemented this ethic by certifying as a Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise, one that regularly backs scientific research and supports those with neurological disorders with free samples and discounts. As a result, Silicawaters.com was named Bottled Water Supplier of the Year in the UK Enterprise Awards 2022, received further recognition with Sublime’s Good Brand Award 2022. But as far as Garratt and Latham are concerned, the most rewarding part of it all is reading satisfied customers’ stories and learning about how drinking silica water has made a difference to their lives.