Forward Fooding met up with Oliver Bolton, CEO of Almond.org, to discuss his app which will radicalise and refurbish the way consumers save the planet on a daily basis. From recycled shoes to sharing trees, Olly gave us his insight into how the Almond app will disrupt the scene.
Hi Olly, great to meet you! So tell us a bit more about where the idea for Almond came from?
My background is in the drinks industry; 12 years ago I set up Waterbomb, and we became a B Corp 5 years ago. That essentially means that we were recognised as a profit making company that supported people and the planet; using business as a force for good. It’s like Fairtrade, for a whole company, and not just for products. It recognises sustainability, looking after your team, giving back to the community, using renewable energy, being environmentally aware…a whole range of factors go into it. And that really got me thinking about responsible brands and the triple bottom line.
B Corp aren’t really using technology to give an edge to all of these amazing products and services, and there’s a low amount of cross selling. These brands have incredible, environmentally aware customers but they’re not necessarily being shared across brands. So, that’s where the idea for Almond came about, where we could use technology to help responsible brands have an edge over non-responsible mass-market products, and then to help them sell to each other.
It’s evolved since then; there’s still the marketplace, which is one third of the product, but it’s grown two new branches. We now also focus on buying better, so helping people understand their carbon footprint, and offsetting.
So how does the buying better aspect work? How does Almond help us understand our carbon footprint?
Most people don’t really understand their carbon footprint; if I say mine is 15 tonnes, people don’t know if that’s good, or bad, or where the national average is. If you do a foot printing quiz, you get your result and it just sits on that website stagnant, and you can’t do anything with it. Almond’s three minute carbon footprint quiz is kept in the app for you, and we help you work out how to cut down that footprint. So if you say you’re eating meat four times a week, we can start to give practical advice to tell you how much you’ll help your footprint if you started to eat meat only three times a week. We’ll also contextualise the data for you, helping you understand it in more practical terms. (see more here).
So what’s the offsetting area of the app?
So having talked about the buy better area, which helps people reduce the damage they’re doing to the environment, the offset area allows people to actively help improve the environment.
When you buy something, quite often they’ll do an environmental measure, like plant a tree. But you never see that tree, and it’s far less incentivising because it kind of disappears into thin air. Almond will help to make tangible that for the consumer by putting a digital receipt of that tree into the app, and tracking its progress. We have the serial number, GPS location, date of birth, and the species of the trees; using this, we can connect it to a non-fungable token, making that tree completely unique. I can then give my unique tree to you, and you can use that to offset your carbon footprint now.
So how do you get trees?
Sometimes it’s an action done by the charity or company the consumer is buying with — so maybe every purchase means they plant three trees. Or, with the responsible brand we’re working with, we’re building loyalty rewards. With these you can either cash out, or you can buy a tree, at roughly a pound a tree.
So you want people to feel like they really own their trees?
We want them to feel like that because they do own their trees. We’re even going so far as to use the data about the species of the tree to show you the exact height and visual representation of what your tree would look like just so we can further bridge the gap between you and the tree.
So how do the two areas — the buying better and the offsetting — work together?
On the one hand then, the app will track your carbon footprint, but it’ll also allow you to track how those trees are reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you produce, and so show you at what point you’ll be carbon neutral. It’s coming up from that roadmap for people.
What’s been the feedback been to the idea so far?
Really positive; I think people are feeling really hopeless with actual practical ways they can reduce down their carbon footprint, and so we hope to be that solution. We want to create a marketplace ecosystem where people spend within that; we want people to be able to know their money isn’t going towards the climate crisis.
Bringing together tech, food and sustainability makes Almond a key business driving the future of food and FoodTech. At Forward Fooding, we are passionate in our belief that entrepreneurship can make a difference in solving some of the biggest issues affecting our current food system, and the Almond app represents the future of how data and sustainability can work collaboratively to drive a positive environmental change.
Talking to Olly, it’s clear he’s passionate about the climate crisis, and absolutely recognises the vital importance of orchestrating this positive re-vamp of the current way we interact with our environment. Pushing sustainability, awareness, and active change is a core principle at the heart of Forward Fooding’s drive, and we’re sure you’ll join us in looking out for Almond’s launch!
If you’d like to join Almond and be part of a community which powers the FoodTech revolution and strives for a future of sustainability, come and be part of Forward Fooding’s Global FoodTech Map here. You can also check out Olly’s website here.
If you enjoyed this article, follow, clap or share and join us in our Food Revolution at ForwardFooding.com