An entrepreneur with a background in finance, Sarah Pool has launched two sustainability-minded startups: Pacific Superfood Snacks and Canvas, which delivers needed fiber in a beverage. She discusses the different set of challenges in launching a startup built on sustainability and the opportunity presented by billions of pounds of spent grain.
Hear more from Pool at the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit on May 16 in Seattle, where senior executives, influential investors, and progressive thought leaders will discuss innovation in sustainable business and finance.
Does building a company built on sustainability make launching a startup more difficult?
Building a company is difficult, period. Launching a company built on sustainability — those challenges certainly look different. They inherently challenge the modus operandi of traditional business and economic models. Disrupting systems is different than creating products and services that adhere to them.
How do your companies’ operations address climate change?
We believe that adopting a plant-rich diet is the most effective and immediate means of tackling climate change. Food waste is right up there. We’re determined to create plant-based foods that are as appealing as the animal-based food that exists, and making them just as accessible. We’re also doing that by converting as much spent grain as possible (8 billion pounds produced annually) into better-for-you food, versus it going to waste.
What have you done differently with Canvas based on lessons from your past sustainability-minded startup?
To address a global problem, we’ve created strategic partnerships that will enable us to move faster, wider, and more effectively. We’ve partnered with Anheuser-Busch to tackle the problem head-on, developing technology to save spent grain and distribute it at scale.