Collaboration for systemic change through entrepreneurship
PACE is thrilled to announce the addition of a new partner to its circular community: Enviu. Enviu designs and builds innovative ventures that drive the transition towards tomorrow’s economy, one that serves both people and planet, an ambitious mission that cannot be accomplished alone.
The partnership between PACE and Enviu strengthens each other’s vision of leading the way towards a circular economy. PACE is particularly interested in Enviu’s FoodFlow program, which is working to reduce post-harvest food loss in Kenya and thus aims to improve food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the country.
Below, David McGinty, Global Director of PACE, and Michiel Elich, Director of Enviu, discuss the nature of this new collaboration and why building partnerships are key to achieving meaningful change.
David, could you please share PACE’s vision and why you invited Enviu to join the network?
David: What makes PACE unique is our focus on leadership to solve critical issues and scale solutions through cross sector partnership. Enviu is a leader in developing and testing real solutions through impact-driven entrepreneurship, and we see huge potential for Enviu to exhibit how critical societal issues can be addressed and scaled through circular business solutions. Together, we can demonstrate what works and provide inspiration to the circular economy community.
And Michiel, why did Enviu decide to accept that invitation?
Michiel: Enviu has the ambition to drive dysfunctional markets, like plastics, textiles, shipping and food, towards becoming sustainable and inclusive. As David mentioned, we are a serial social entrepreneur and pioneer that turns this huge ambition into action by creating, piloting and building game-changing business models and proving their viability. But if we really want systemic change to happen, we need intense collaboration within a market or value chain, with partners and stakeholders joining forces for the greater good. That’s why we are very excited to join PACE and work together with their like-minded partners.
What synergies do you both seek to achieve through this partnership?
Michiel: First of all, we are looking for mission- and value-aligned partners of PACE to collaborate on bringing the promising business models we’re working on to scale. Secondly, we believe these models can be used to showcase that viable alternatives do exist, paving the way for policy makers and other stakeholders to create the right ecosystem for change. Thirdly, with our on-the-ground entrepreneurial approach and proven venture building methodology, we are eager to support PACE’s partners in realizing their ambitions and co-developing innovative solutions, not to add some circularity to a current business, but to truly reshape value chains and build a sustainable new normal.
David: As with all of our affiliated projects, our goal at PACE is to contribute to acceleration and scale, and to learn lessons that can be passed on to the rest of our community. Creating a circular economy will take real systems change, but it will also require that we move quickly to pioneer new ideas, test out what works, and then scale them up. That’s what we aim to contribute to with our affiliated projects, including FoodFlow and our partnership with Enviu. In that sense, entrepreneurship is at the heart of our model.
Enviu is driving systemic change in multiple sectors. PACE picked the program FoodFlow as a first showcase. Why did you choose this specific program?
David: We see Enviu’s ambition for FoodFlow as a great example of a circular solution to preventing and recovering retail food waste. We were particularly interested in the involvement of the local government in enabling those solutions. Moreover, the goals of the program, looking to create jobs and increase the income for smallholder farmers as well as increase food security, resonate with the mission of our funders and partners.
Michiel, can you tell us a bit more about FoodFlow? What inspired you to launch it and what does it hope to achieve?
Michiel: In East Africa almost half of all fruits and vegetables are lost on their route to market. This has consequences, it means farmers can’t earn a real living, that there isn’t enough nutritious, affordable food and both resources and carbon emissions are being wasted on food that never makes it to market. To feed the growing population, the amount of food reaching the market needs to see a 60% increase by 2050.
Our FoodFlow program creates a showcase value chain for French beans, mangos and avocados by developing the technology needed to drive out post-harvest losses and create a flourishing value chain for all. Our ambition is to build a value chain made up of sustainable, circular business models, achieving 0% post-harvest loss, increasing incomes and improving food security. The goal is to grow this showcase chain to other crops and regions throughout East Africa and beyond. Joining forces with the group of food experts within the PACE network and building on their successes, failures, skills, technologies and network, will immensely help to realize the envisioned change.
Combining PACE’s ambitious mission to accelerate the transition to a global circular economy with Enviu’s vast experience in building innovative, impact-driven companies, we are sure that this partnership will begin to bear fruit in no time.