Future farm: Climate work with attitude – the right one
You know how CarbonCloud always says that climate strategy is compatible with business growth? If you don’t think so (unlikely!), meet Future Farm – a prime example. But Future Farm is not just all about business: It is a worldview guaranteed to deliver long-term thriving wrapped in a brand that resonates and delivers mind-blowing meat alternatives – with a climate strategy at its core.
Future Farm began in Brazil as a category-defining product: The first meat alternative in the market. And as mind-blowing as innovation can be, the story that leads to it is usually even more novel. Future Farm’s founders were working together in a juice company that fostered early adoption and their vision was a match: What could they do next that is a) good for the planet, and b) an interesting business opportunity. The answer was in their research: 2 out of the 10 biggest companies in Brazil were meatpackers. Why not disrupt the meat-packing industry?!
The idea kept bearing fruit: Considering all the quality vegetables and legumes in Brazil, why make something new out of a top-notch stock and maximize its value? Thus, the first meat alternative in Brazil was produced in an old Domino’s factory. Future Farm hit the Brazilian shelves and soon after, Future Farm’s products could be found around the 5 continents and 30 countries. Today, the main markets are Brazil, USA, and Europe as the innovation hub. Future Farm’s growth is propelled by the same mindset that bore their category-defining products: Agents of change –not agents of chaos– with a future orientation who always strive to be better, always upgrading.
And if you’re wondering where climate transparency comes in, it is this precise mindset that gets companies into climate performance and climate action. We spoke with Pedro Zuim, Marketing Director EMEA & APAC at Future Farm to learn how they carve their space in the food network and how Future Farm sees the future of food.
The climate crisis as an opportunity
Climate transparency is part of Future Farm’s core business, as Pedro describes. Yet, it comes from multiple motives: Consumer demand, industry necessity, and of course, an internal commitment.
A decent chunk of consumers are looking for plant-based alternatives as a way to mitigate the impact on the planet. That's why climate strategy is at the core of our business: it's a reason why consumers are buying our products. We are planet-positive but we still need to be ultra-transparent.
What is climate transparency for Future Farm? It goes beyond an internal drive – it’s a commitment and accountability.
We are working with climate transparency by having a third party auditing our climate work, confirming our climate footprints, and helping us assessing what those numbers are and making that public with credibility. The companies that we admire have used CarbonCloud so it's a quality statement. Plus, we were looking for partners that have more credibility than us.
But before credibility, there is the actual work that goes into climate mitigation. And for Future Farm, their climate mitigation partner needs to fit their mindset of near-compulsive optimization and continuous evolution, as well as reflect their progress.
Our partnership with CarbonCloud is certainly important for our business. We keep evolving and we keep being as transparent as we can and keeping consumers informed about our climate work. The goal is to hopefully will be a truly carbon neutral company in the future. That's my intention and what we are working towards.
We are always testing, always improving, and we are using the data we have to make these decisions. This is a constant mindset. We seek to have the best possible efficiency, because if we find efficiencies, is good for our climate performance but it's good for consumers too.
Climate change at the core of the food industry
As committed as Future Farm is to climate transparency with consumers, the company has business optimization running through their veins as well. As Pedro tells us, the necessity to track climate performance goes beyond a seal of approval and the brand message – It is an industry necessity that is driving a fundamental change in the food system, upstream and downstream.
With an open mind, we asked Pedro to confirm –or disassemble– what we present as the retailers’ stance on climate work when we talk to food industry players. Pedro describes his experience even more decisively than CarbonCloud:
Big retailers and industry leaders are always looking for brands and products that actually impact the environment positively. It’s a commitment in huge companies so it's really important that food producers have their climate performance in numbers and that they are accredited by a trusted partner.
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Climate performance transitioned from a good-to-have to a must-have. It tells a lot about the evolution of ESG as something that's less on PowerPoint slides and more in the day-to-day of businesses. Senior leadership in Enterprises all have targets in sustainability – it is core in decision making.
Nowadays it’s not differentiation, it’s something that allows you to play. From our side, we wouldn't be able to play in some leagues without climate performance. It is utterly important for every business that that wants to keep existing.
The supplier challenge: It’s a network
As usual, CarbonCloud will be transparent with you here. Whenever we ask what the biggest challenge with climate work is, we expect the answer: Suppliers and the entire supply chain.
But we are also certain of the solution. While listening to Pedro talk about the supply chain and climate work, we had an ever-present, reassuring thought: ‘ok… it’s not just us seeing it this way’. But the level of resonance with our internal conversations was astounding. There is a community of climate optimizers in the industry who see the full picture and know what’s coming.
Struggling with supplier data? There is no short solution – it’s a system problem with a systemic solution. However, we are all part of this system and we can influence it. Pedro describes:
The supply chain is fragmented, that's why the cycles are longer because it’s a lot of people. Once you have a large network, it becomes hard to oversee what the suppliers are doing even though your contract says that they need to comply with XYZ. Moving forward in the future, we need to make sure that everyone in the chain is centralized as well.
Trying to influence our supplies is important. Choose suppliers wisely, invest in the relationship with them, build transparency and never take shortcuts when it comes to efficiency. Our suppliers are your brand as well.
And what is the outcome of a connected supply chain where the right decisions are available?
There will be places where people won't have the purchasing power but it's this part of the evolution. As we grow, the overall segment of businesses will be more efficient as well and then the cost of having products that are not going to hurt the environment will decrease. Let’s push as a whole, we are all in this together, no shortcuts.
The efficient way to planet-positive food
With such a clear take on the problem identification, we couldn’t help but pose the big question to Pedro. Say you have legislative power – how do you solve the problem? Once again, Pedro zoomed out to hit the bullseye.
Capital incentives, entrepreneurship, incentives in education. First of all, this is the magic of our time: Capital is almost like a tool to materialize reality and we can use capital for good. We merely need the policies that ensure that the biggest contributors to the climate emergency are investing deeply in reverting the scenarios. Then we need the right landscape for people to transition. For certain people in the food system, this is the only world they know and then the world tells this person that they are villains. We have a lot of models on the means and gathering industry. We need you need to empower them with knowledge and again with the right incentives and capital.
Powerful view, right? And what about consumers? Pedro wraps up our talk with a silver lining. He mentions that a disproportionate part of the responsibility has been shifted over to consumers:
A lot of narratives have been created that individuals are solely responsible for reverting the climate emergency and I believe this will change. We shouldn't put pressure on people to solve their crisis. Instead, we want to build an alternative that, when people think about Future Farm, it brins them joy rather than reminding them of the problems.
Agents of change? Efficiency seekers? Continuous optimizers? We see more and more of them and we are all driving each other forward. Our food network is changing. Future Farm has been right there at the Avant-guard – and their story is one to share!