As part of our support for #EarthDay, we spoke to the founders & CEOs of our cleantech portfolio companies to get their perspectives on what it means to innovate in this space, and their thoughts about the future.
SyndicateRoom: In a few sentences, tell us what Bockatech does.
Henri Gaskjenn: Our EcoCore plastic manufacturing technology is helping some of the world's best-loved brands — in markets from food service to FMCG — provide high-performance packaging that is economically viable and more sustainable.
SR: Tell us more about why developing cleantech is important and what other businesses can learn from what you’re doing?
HG: Cleantech is playing a critical role in enabling the changes that need to happen for us all to live sustainably.
Our approach is to make adoption easy by working with stakeholders in existing supply chains. For example, when it comes to materials, EcoCore uses tried and trusted polypropylene plastic that is manufactured at volume currently. It is also already captured by waste processors for recycling. Additionally, existing plastic injection moulding equipment is used to make EcoCore packaging, so manufacturers do not have to invest in new equipment to make more sustainable packaging.
SR: What trends or developments in the cleantech space are you most excited about and why?
HG: We're excited about two technologies in the packaging sector: Holy Grail watermarking and digitally-enabled reuse reward / deposit return. Holy Grail makes it easy for materials to be sorted during waste processing and substantially boosts recycling. Digital smartphone apps and reverse vending machines will significantly increase reuse that is a far more sustainable practice than recycling. Our EcoCore technology will use, as well as benefit from, both of these technologies.
SR: What do you think we’ll see in the next 5-10 years within these sectors?
HG: I hope we'll see Holy Grail and deposit return drive recycling rates for key plastics from around 15% where they are now to 70%+. In combination with legislation, we believe that digital enablement will also increase reuse in wasteful sectors such as to-go food and FMCG from virtually zero to 20%+.
SR: What do you consider the main impediments to widespread advances in clean technologies globally, and what steps can businesses and ordinary people take to mitigate them?
HG: Problems, such as greenhouse gas production, harm our environment very gradually. As such there are no "burning bridges" that force investment in, and adoption of, clean technologies. Businesses and consumers can help by encouraging governments to introduce legislation now that will protect the environment in future. This will drive the investment and adoption that cleantech needs.
SR: What differences do you feel your business specifically will make to the larger landscape of environmental responsibility, renewable energy or sustainability?
HG: Packaging is used everywhere, from to-go food service to FMCG and healthcare. But it's having a significant damaging impact on our environment — producing unnecessary greenhouse gases that are causing global warming as well as polluting water and land with waste, for example.
Our EcoCore technology is helping to solve these pressing environmental problems by making it simple and cost-effective for packaging manufacturers and brands to use more sustainable packaging that is reusable, recyclable and lightweight.
For example, reusable EcoCore to-go coffee cups cost the same as popular paper single-use alternatives but cut greenhouse gases by 20 - 30% after just two uses and halve the risk of land and sea waste pollution.
SR: What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the cleantech space?
HG: Make your cleantech easy for all of the key stakeholders — for example consumers, retailers, manufacturers and waste processors — to adopt now. A wait for the world to change to suit you may be a long one.
SR: How important is investment to the success of cleantech businesses, and what single argument would you make to encourage investors to consider investment in this area?
HG: Cleantech development can't happen without investors. The world quite literally needs you!
Henri Gaskjenn has extensive business experience gained as an entrepreneur with his own startups and at leading corporations, including PwC, BearingPoint, Arthur Andersen and EA games. As CEO of a growth Greentech, working with leading brands and converters in the fast-moving sustainability field, he has unique insight into the regulatory, environmental, technological and economic problems faced by the packaging industry as well as the latest manufacturing technology solutions.
Find out more about Bockatech.
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The information on this page does not constitute financial advice and is provided on an information basis only, based on research using the following sources: