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June 13, 2012

Top 5 Sustainable Startups

As part of our ongoing look at all things green for Sustainability Week here at Nokia Connects, I wanted to draw your attention to our pick of 5 grassroots companies that are starting out to make a difference in the world.

via Plant for Peace

1. Plant for Peace

First up is Plant for Peace, who call themselves a ‘Sustainable Agricultural and Horticultural Development Strategy’ in Afghanistan. Basically, they are attempting to promote peace in this fraught corner of the world by persuading tribal leaders to grow and sell pomegranate trees instead of opium poppies, and thus diminish the drugs trade that is taking over Afghan rural society. In their own words:

‘The Plant for Peace strategy represents a long-term commitment to restore sustainable agriculture and develop a vibrant horticulture industry.’

The brainchild of Englishman James Brett, who in 1999 founded Pomegreat – Europe’s first commercial pomegranate juice – Plant for Peace has already persuaded more than 22,000 Afghan farmers to switch from farming poppies to pomegranates. With international and governmental backing, this is one group of dedicated world-changers to watch!

via Plant for Peace

2. The Honey Club

We’ve already featured the guys at The Honey Club as our Innovators of the Week, but what could be more sustainable than a startup intent on creating ‘the largest bee-friendly network in the world’?!

The Honey Club are a group of dedicated individuals based in North London who are engaging with local youth and communities in order to draw attention to the plight of bees. They also have their own bee colony with over 100,000 honeybees on the roof of their offices in Kings Cross!

via The Honey Club

3. One

Like many good ideas, One was born in the dark confines of a good English pub back in 2003, when founder Duncan Goose hit on the brilliant notion of creating a brand of drinking water that would give 100% of their profits to charity to fund clean water projects in Africa.

From this simple idea came a whole new brand of goods where all the profits were given directly to charities working to promote clean water, sanitation and sustainable livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pretty amazing really!

4. Foré Bamboo

The definition of a startup, Foré Bamboo is a new project that has just launched following its successful funding on  crowdsourcing website Greenfunder. Foré Bamboo partners with Haitian community organisations to plant and maintain non-invasive construction grade bamboo. This bamboo can then be used to relieve the housing and environmental crises in Haiti.

‘On our first trip to Haiti, two huge problems were very striking: the urgent need for housing, and the barren, deforested hillsides. In an effort to contribute to Haiti’s long-term sustainable development, this bamboo project is our foray into tackling both of these massive problems head on.’

So far, they have planted over 15,000 square feet of bamboo with plans to increase this exponentially in the next year. Good luck to them!

via Haiti Coram Deo

5. GreenUnite

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform that has taken off globally. Well, now there’s an eco-friendly version with the launch of GreenUnite, a crowdfunding site dedicated to supporting projects aimed at making the world a better place.

‘GreenUnite is a revolutionary crowdfunding and educational platform focused on helping to launch important products, technology and content dedicated to creating a more sustainable world.’

Each project submitted must adhere to certain ‘green’ requirements, and must also benefit a charitable cause or a not-for-profit in some way. Although they are a fairly new site, I felt that GreenUnite deserved a place here just for their mantra: ‘Together, we can change the world, one project at a time.’

What do you think of our pick of sustainable startups? Have one of your own you think we should know about? Then drop us a comment either in the box below or on Twitter.