The fund will support sustainable food production via early-stage, values-based food innovators — from the ethical treatment of employees on farms and in factories, to the end of the food production cycle with compostable packaging.
Two of Western Canada’s leading marketing agencies, ZGM Inc and PS&Co, have launched the Ethical Foods Fund (EFF) — giving investors the chance to support the next generation of startups poised to reshape our global food system.
Proceeds of the fund will be used to support the growth of sustainable food production via early-stage, values-based food innovators — the first group of startups includes:
Uproot Food Collective, an Edmonton-based online marketplace helping craft food brands — such as Honest Dumplings, South Island Pies and Little Bear Gelato — produce and scale original products;
Wize Iced Tea, a Vancouver-based company that produces low-sugar iced tea from coffee leaves sustainably and ethically grown in Nicaragua;
Humble Potato Chips, a family-run Canadian company that produces certified organic potato chips in a certified plastic-free and compostable bag; and
“Through the Ethical Foods Fund, our goal is to accelerate food done right,” said Ric Williams, a partner at ZGM who brings 30 years of experience in food marketing, manufacturing and commercialization.
Williams will manage EFF alongside PS&Co CEO Bob Stamnes, who brings decades of experience in the development of Corporate Social Responsibility and mission-based marketing for some of Canada’s leading companies. All companies supported by the Ethical Foods Fund are assessed by social and purpose-based criteria and determined to be in line with B Corp certification requirements — whereby they are scored on environmental and social performance and trajectory, along with other investment KPIs.
“Our approach begins with the ethical treatment of employees on farms and in factories, and extends all the way to the end of the food production cycle with compostable packaging,” Stamnes said.
Advertising innovator and PS&Co Chairman Frank Palmer is providing strategic guidance to EFF as a long-time philanthropist and advisor to the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good — a large-scale corporate social impact fund.
“I see firsthand the benefits of the profit-with-a-purpose model that EFF is trying to achieve,” Palmer said. “As an advisor for the TELUS Pollinator Fund, its investments in for-profit, purpose-driven businesses are creating a meaningful and measurable impact through the same business model. It is incredible to see how TELUS is supporting mission-driven founders beyond just capital and resources, by also leveraging its broad network and expertise to enable these companies to grow and thrive. With a similar vision in mind, I look forward to helping EFF get off the ground.”
A recent report from Boston Consulting Group asserted that, with 25 percent of global GHG emissions caused by the food value chain, food system innovations — specifically, alternative proteins — may be the most capital-efficient and high-impact solution to addressing the climate crisis. And there's no shortage of investment opportunity — the food tech world has come alive in recent years as bold, nimble entrepreneurs continue to unveil potentially game-changing solutions to the many failings of our modern food system. In the past few months alone, we’ve highlighted startups including Aqua Cultured Foods, Atarraya, GoodSam Foods, Perfect Day, Plenty, Supplant and WNWN Foods — all with ingenious new takes on environmentally and socially destructive food products, processes and supply chain issues; and all ready to scale — thanks to eager, forward-looking investors. Now, Canadian investors have a direct line to help support the most exciting domestic innovations in the space.
“The timing is right on two fronts for EFF,” said Tara Bosch, founder of Smart Sweets and investor in EFF. “Early-stage, purpose-based food founders struggle to find smart money to support their growth in Canada, and consumers are moving with their wallets towards ethically minded brands to support their own beliefs in leaving the world in a better place.”
For more information about the Ethical Foods Fund’s investment portfolio strategy, visit ethicalfoodsfund.com.