A new digital marketplace for environmentally sustainable and eco-conscious products is open, with a mission to make greener shopping easier for everyone.
Canopey.com is billed as the home for buying better from a variety of ethical brands such as KeepCup, Wild Deodorant & Serious Tissues.
Every brand and product must undergo a rigorous vetting process to be listed on the site and fight ‘greenwashing’, a tactic used by companies to portray themselves as more sustainable and ethical than they really are. To be listed on Canopey, each brand has to give evidence for any claim they make, from organic, to vegan and home compostable.
Canopey, headquartered in Norwich, was quite literally founded in a field. After a number of years campaigning for Greenpeace and working in the events industry, founder Thomas Panton was working with Canopey co-founder Hugo Douglas-Deane at a music festival.
Thomas Panton, CEO at Canopey.com, said: “Hugo and I were standing in an absolute sea of plastic at the end of a music festival. We were so angry that not enough was being done to stop the world filling with waste.”
“We started Canopey to help make buying better easier for everyone – because until now it’s been complicated and confusing. We tried to find one platform where you can learn about making positive changes and swaps, find the products you want, and know that all of those green claims have been properly verified. It’s even harder yet still as a consumer to understand what that impact is and track your carbon emissions.”
One of the key features of the Canopey platform is its in-built impact calculator, which shows customers stats on carbon emissions, water waste and plastic waste for a product compared to its mainstream alternatives.
To do these calculations the platform uses data that analyses the footprint of different materials, gathered by academic institutions like Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
“We’re not here to judge – we want to encourage everyone to make their own choices one step at a time. Whether that’s getting rid of plastic in your bathroom or supporting fashion brands that pay workers fair wages, we want to help you on that journey,” says Panton.
The startup has received backing from University of East Anglia, as well as leading executives from data analytics company Experian and salon and beauty booking platform Fresha. The company’s Chief Technology Officer Abrar Rauf joined in May, following a career in financial investment and banking technology including NatWest.
The startup was chosen as Tech Nation’s City Winner for Norfolk, recently nominated for three StartUp Awards, and closed a successful campaign in December with more than 340 investors buying shares in the company.
Canopey launched in May to a community of 6,500 customers and currently has more than 40 brands selling on the platform. There’s currently a long waiting list though – with more than 215 green businesses signed up in total and awaiting vetting.