#2 Bide Planet

Bide Planet Is a subscription box service delivering affordable and convenient environmentally-friendly goods straight to your door.

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We chatted with Amelia Gammon, Founder of Bide Planet to explore her journey into sustainability and learn about what she sees as most important.

  • 1

    What inspired you to start your business and have sustainability take such a central role?

    Five years ago, I left the media rat race in London and embarked on a journey towards a more sustainable life. Converting an old chapel in Wiltshire into an eco-home, I grew my own food and made whatever I could. Friends who visited loved the eco-friendly vibe but felt guilty about their own unsustainable lifestyles. 

    This inspired me to create Bide, a subscription box service delivering affordable and convenient eco-goods to their doors. 

    I decided the only way that I could offer truly sustainable goods was to make them myself. So I did, and then I taught local unemployed women how to make them. And then they made them better than I made them. And then they taught some other slightly further afield unemployed women how to do it. And they made it even better. And then suddenly, we created this home manufacturing network. And we've got about 6,000 people waiting to join it.

    Bide Planet Founder - Dragon's Den Pitch
  • 2

    What practices have you implemented and how has it positively impacted your business?

    Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Every decision, be it related to packaging, design, or infrastructure, is made with an acute awareness of its environmental impact. For example wherever possible Bide leverages existing distribution logistics, reducing carbon emissions by not requiring additional delivery vehicles. Despite challenges, especially in distributing products like washing up liquid, I never compromise on sustainability. I'm committed to finding solutions that align with my values.

    We actively support a circular economy by choosing second-hand electronics, furniture, and equipment for
    operations, contributing to waste reduction. I maintain a clear decision-making framework that prioritises sustainability without compromising on practicality, feasibility, or the quality of my products.

    Bide Planet Dragon's Box
  • 3

    What hurdles have you encountered and how have you managed to overcome them?

    Looking back, the challenges I've faced now seem like minor hurdles. However, the major obstacle has always been finance. Building a business rooted in environmental and massive social impact isn't like running a conventional tech or consumer product company. When I step into the same market as those businesses and ask for funding, the harsh reality is that many potential investors aren't concerned about our planet or societal welfare - though they might not put that in an email! Attracting the same level of financial backing as other companies is the biggest hurdle.

    Ironically, you'd expect the future-proof nature of my business to appeal more to investors. As consumer demands shift towards ethical, transparent supply chains, and environmentally conscious products - exactly what I offer - it seems logical that we are setting ourselves up for future success. Yet, it appears that many are not yet ready to invest their money in line with their purported values.

    Bide Planet Founder and Products
  • 4

    What do you see as the main sustainability challenges facing FMCG companies in the near future?

    The most significant sustainability challenge I grapple with is distribution. Current third-party distribution offerings aren't running on fully electric fleets; they still heavily rely on fossil fuels. There's a rather inefficient distribution network system in the UK - and it's a global issue - where everything goes into a central warehouse before being distributed again. This back-and-forth only wastes carbon miles.

    That's why my business targets bringing consumption within 20 to 30 miles of production via a distributed manufacturing system. Essentially, we're aiming to produce goods close to where they'll be consumed, bypassing the need for central warehouses and reducing unnecessary road miles.

    However, distribution is not the only challenge; packaging is a close second. We've run out of remote islands to offload our recycling onto, and the naivety of hoping that everything thrown in the recycling bin will be adequately dealt with is something that will soon have to be addressed by the government. We need to figure out how to package without relying on plastic.

    Bide Planet - laundry powder image
  • 5

    What advice would you give entrepreneurs aspiring to greater sustainability ambitions for their FMCG business?

    One of the key suggestions I have is to ensure adequate budgeting because opting for sustainable solutions will undoubtedly be more expensive than non-sustainable alternatives. Moreover, I highly recommend seeking advice from other FMCG brands and companies that have already embarked on sustainable journeys. 

    They've done the hard work, spent considerable time on research, and will likely be able to guide you more effectively. It's crucial not to shy away from seeking assistance when needed.

    Amelia in field with niva