Meet Carbon Maps, which raised $4.3 million (€4 million) a few weeks after its launch. The company is building a software-as-a-service platform for the food industry to track the environmental impact of each product in its lineup. The platform can be used as a basis for eco-ratings.
While there are quite a few carbon accounting startups like Greenlee, Swipe, Persephone, and Watershed, CarbonMaps isn’t a true competitor because it doesn’t calculate a company’s carbon emissions as a whole. It doesn’t just focus on carbon emissions. Carbon Maps focuses on the food industry and assesses the environmental impact of products – not companies.
The company, co-founded by Patrick Asdaghi, Jeremy Weinstein and Estelle Huynh, raised a seed round with Brega and Samaipata – two VC firms that invested in Asdaghi’s previous startup Foodchery.
FoodChéri is a fully integrated catering company that designs its own food and sells it directly to customers with a strong focus on healthy food. It also operates a sister company called Seazon for batch delivery. The startup was acquired by Sodexo a few years ago.
“The day I left, I started working again on food and health projects,” Asdaghi told me. “I wanted to make an impact, so I started looking at growing the supply chain and agriculture.”
And the good news isn’t just about the food industry’s supply chain. In France, some companies have started working with the public agency (ADEME) that oversees the project with eco-score. A to E is a life cycle assessment leading to a letter grade.
Although very few brands put these letters on their labels, well-established companies may use the eco-point as a selling point in the coming years.
However, as the regulation is still evolving, these standards may expand further. The European Union is even working on a standard – Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). European countries can create their own scoring systems based on these European standards, which means that food companies need good information on their supply chain.
“A key element in the new eco-product is that there are some differences in the product category because the ingredients and farming methods are different,” Asdaghi said. “It takes into account the carbon impact, but also biodiversity, water consumption and animal welfare.”
For example, when looking at ground beef, it’s important to know whether farmers are using soy or grass from Brazil to feed their cattle.
“We don’t want to create the standards. We want to create tools that help with calculations – a kind of SAP,” said Asdag.
So far, Carbon Maps is working on pilot programs with two companies as it requires a lot of work to cover every vertical in the food industry. The startup creates models with as many parameters as possible to calculate the effect of each parameter. It uses data from standardized sources such as the GHG Protocol, IPCC, ISO 14040 and 14044.
The company is targeting food brands because they choose their suppliers by designing the recipes. Ultimately, Carbon Maps hopes that everyone in the supply chain will use the platform in one way or another.
“You can’t have a real climate strategy if you don’t have some cooperation in the chain,” Asdaghi said.