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March 2017

Target Announces New Chemicals Strategy

Target announced its renewed chemicals strategy on January 25. The new strategy requires ingredient transparency for all products, aims to remove several classes of chemicals of concern from beauty, baby, and other formulated household products, and also fluorinated chemicals and flame retardants from textile products over the next 3-5 years. Target has also pledged to invest $5 million in green chemistry to help catalyze the development of safer products.

Safer Made Completes Initial Close

We completed our initial close in February, with a diverse group of limited partners led by Forsythia Foundation and including other foundations, family offices, and individuals. We are honored for the trust and support from investors who see the value in the next generation of products and technologies safer for people and the natural world. This initial close allows us to make investments while continuing to fundraise.

Unilever Consumer Study, New Fragrance Transparency Initiative, and Buying Spree

Unilever sponsored a new study showing that one in three consumers “are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good”. The study asked 20,000 adults from five countries how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home and then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions. A summary of the study here. Unilever is taking the lessons to heart, also announcing a new initiative to increase transparency of the fragrances used in their personal care products. As well as a new ‘SmartLabel’ system that will help consumers make more informed choices is a part of this initiative. Finally, Unilever has been on a buying spree acquiring 10 brands since 2015 including Seventh Generation and Blueair, making indoor air purifiers, which are helping them meet the consumer demand for healthier products.

New Investments in Biobased Polymers

PET, the plastic used to make beverage bottles and fleece may soon be replaced by 100% biobased alternative PEF, courtesy of some new chemistry from BASF and their partner Avantium. The demand for this new material is at least in part driven by Coke’s continued efforts to develop a 100% bio based bottle. PepsiCo, is also making investments in the biobased polymer sector, recently announcing a partnership with Danimer Scientific to expand the production of PHA for use in food packaging.


Apeel Sciences, a Santa Barbara, Ca.-based startup that uses natural extracts to prolong the shelf life of produce raised a $33 million Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors included DBL and Tao Capital. Miyoko's, a 3.5-year-old, Fairfax, Ca.-based line of non-dairy cheeses, has raised $6 million in funding led by JMK Consumer Growth Partners, with participation from CircleUp Growth Fund, Stray Dog Capital, and Obvious Ventures. LiquiGlide, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company with technology from MIT whose patented coatings ensure a permanently wet, slippery surface, has raised $16 million in new funding. AOBiome, a 3.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company developing skin care products under the brand Mother Dirt, that restore the skin’s natural biome, has raised $30 million in funding from iCarbonX. Weedingtech, a five-year-old, London-based company that makes a herbicide-free weed killer, has raised £3 million ($3.7 million) in funding from Calculus Capital. Byte Foods, a year-old, San Rafael, Ca.-based startup that makes smart vending machines and runs a delivery service stocking them with healthy food from local vendors, has raised $5.5 million in seed funding led by Spring Creek Investment Management, a family fund based in Philadelphia. Other investors in the round includeBolt and Bessemer Venture Partners.

AgriMetis a company developing pesticides using natural derived ingredients enhanced through synthetic biology and chemistry raised $23.5 million in a Series B financing.

Grab Green a provider of eco-friendly household products, has secured $2.5 million in financing from Stoneway Capital.


Health drink company Bai, which makes antioxidant beverages was sold in November for $1.7 billion to Dr Pepper Snapple Group. According to Forbes, it was a profitable transaction for investors. PepsiCo has agreed to acquire sparkling probiotic drink maker KeVita, for undisclosed terms. An Air Liquide subsidiary acquired a natural active cosmetic ingredients supplier division from Bayer.

JBT Corporation, a technology provider to the food industry, has purchased KY based Avure Technologies for $57 million. Avure develops food processing systems that ensure food safety without heat or preservatives.

In Case You Missed It

The dirty secret about your clothes, a report from the Washington Post examining the use of harmful chemicals in the apparel supply chain. Biobased chemicals industrial reboot, a New York times feature about Lygos and their platform technology for making industrial chemicals.

Also Noted

A cup you can eat.

Fabric and leather from pineapples.

Plastic from shrimp shells.

Cloned wine.

Dell now using ocean plastic for their computers.


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