Designed as a plastic substitute reducing pollution, EnvoBARRIER combines the UK company’s agricultural by-products material with non-leak coatings suitable for an array of containers from sandwich casings and cups to wraps, pouches and straws. “Every item is recyclable, biodegradable, compostable and marine degradable with a 28 percent lower carbon footprint than conventional products,” says EnvoPAP founder Kaushal Shah.
It was seeing the pollution generated by the burning of leftovers from sugarcane production in his home country of India that led Shah to set up the business in 2015 while a postgraduate at the University of Southampton.
As the paper industry seeks alternatives in the face of the global deforestation crisis, EnvoPAP’s process realises the value in the waste, known as bagasse.
After collection from over 100 mills and farms, fibres are pulped, pressed and dried forming the packaging and paper raw material.
“They simply plug into clients’ printing machines and can be used immediately.
“Sustainability and the value chain are now mega trends in our industry. We are seeing a huge shift in priorities for consumers and companies. Demand has accelerated with home deliveries since lockdown and is central to our growth.”
That is running at 21 percent a year for EnvoPAP while turnover is heading for over £5 million in 2021.
Close research and product development collaboration with SETsquared, the business incubation network of five universities including Southampton, has helped EnvoPAP become and remain an innovation frontrunner.
Through high net worth angel investors and crowdfunding the company, which employs 20, has raised £761,000 along with £2,500 in grants.
Its environmental contribution has been underlined by it now being awarded coveted Certified B Corporation status. This recognition, as a business fairly balancing profit and purpose, makes it one of just some 3,000 globally.
From the first focus on corporate clients, who include L’Oréal,
M&S, Lloyds Bank and Europe’s largest sugar producer Südzucker, more recent expansion has been into the retail market with its sustainable EnvoCOPY printer paper.
Eight packets of the A4 paper saves one tree. Now sold in more than 50 countries as well as via Amazon and eBay, it accounts for 70 percent of revenues with the working-from-home trend driving sales.
“As the company evolves from office supplies towards a full range of packaging products so the customer base is changing,” explains chief executive Shah.
Manufacturing close to the sourcing volumes is currently all in India, but for EnvoPAP’s next phase other regions and crop by-products, such as from rice, are being identified.
“We’re moving to a local conversion model,” says Shah who also plans to wrap up further £3.5 million of venture capital backing next summer.