With compostable packaging and a sustainable business plan, Impact Snacks is working to reclaim more carbon than it produces to make their plant-based superfood bars.
Founders Corey Nobile and Nick Oliveri say their goal is to build a company that produces nourishing products that also help the environment. “The main challenge was really to change the way people look at single-use products by making fast-moving consumer goods sustainable, which kind of seems like an inherent contradiction,” Nobile tells Food Tank.
To achieve the smallest carbon footprint possible, Nobile and Oliveri decided to use only plants — never plastic — and a home-compostable wrapper using cellulose derived from soy and soy-based ink. This makes the bars certified home- and industrial-compostable and biodegradable.
The Boston, MA-based company also uses certified carbon accountants from Clearloop to calculate the carbon footprint of their business plan. The calculations consider the ingredients, production machinery, electricity use, and shipping for each step in the business. “We call it ‘farm to doorstep,’” adds Nobile. “The challenge is just finding manufacturers and partners that are willing to be transparent in their process.”
Impact Snacks reclaims 250 percent of the carbon the company emits. They do this in two ways. The first approach is to “remove existing carbon from the atmosphere by sequestering it with trees and in different plants,” Nobile tells Food Tank. To do this, they contribute to reforestation projects by partnering with the Eden Project in Madagascar and other efforts in Nepal and Columbia.
“The second approach is to actually prevent new carbon from being made. And we do that by finding…communities that are predominantly reliant on fossil fuels to generate their electricity.” Nobile explains.
In partnership with Clearloop, Impact Snacks developed its first solar project in Jackson, Tennessee to provide clean energy infrastructure. Through Clearloop, Impact Snacks can calculate the net emissions saved from switching to clean energy. The residual impact of these projects is important to Impact Snacks’ values too. The communities were selected deliberately to guarantee that clean energy jobs are created.
Impact Snacks recognizes that often, the most environmentally responsible options can be more expensive. To increase accessibility, Impact Snacks’ website allows customers to pay for the bars on a sliding scale based on what they can afford. This is also where customers can reclaim their carbon through monthly contributions and receive Impact Stories, a visual, graphical summary of how much carbon they have reclaimed over time.
Nobile also hopes to raise awareness around the importance of sustainable business practices. Impact Snacks hopes to make their business as transparent as possible and is willing to share advice with other entrepreneurs to help them adopt circular practices.
“I would like to add how important it is to at least have a discussion. There are a lot of opinions out there that are rooted in the idea that it is either way too expensive to be sustainable [in food business], or it is almost not worth it to be sustainable,” Nobile tells Food Tank. “That’s just not true. Just have the conversations [and ask] what’s one little thing we could do as a company to just be that much more sustainable? It’s just baby steps.”
Photo courtesy of Impact Snacks.