Impact guides the daily life of all Ÿnsecters: how can we feed the planet while conserving resources and biodiversity? As our initiatives broaden, we have decided to give a voice to those who are helping to change the world, offer alternatives and increase sustainably. Today, we meet Pierre Paslier, co-founder and co-CEO of Notpla, a London-based company that creates packaging from seaweed to replace plastic. We discussed the development of this innovation, the role of the entrepreneur, the impact of pollution in marine environments and the values that animate the life of a company: all subjects that unite our two different companies.
Could you describe Notpla in a few words?
Notpla was born in London in 2014 following a student project I initiated with Rodrigo. We worked for two years to develop this project and launched our first fundraising in 2017. We create biodegradable packaging that allow to preserve and transport food. Thus, Notpla offers solutions to the consumption of single-use plastic, by providing an environmentally-friendly alternative. Our slogan encapsulates this initiative: “we make packaging disappear“. To create our biodegradable packaging, we use a brown seaweed, particularly effective for liquid containers. Our first innovation is Ooho, a packaging for all types of liquids including water but also alcohol or sauces. We distributed it at the 2019 London Marathon, which was our first opportunity to test it on a large audience. The Marathon was a great consumer feedback experience and gave us the opportunity to adapt and remain close to the expectations and needs of all.
What led you to start Notpla?
Rodrigo and I didn’t plan on being entrepreneurs. Originally, we were just thinking about design that was in harmony with nature. We were concerned about the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, and our idea was to find a practical solution. In the end, our first concepts were a hit! We then felt compelled to carry on and develop our designs further. But Notpla also comes from a genuine realization: we had both worked in large companies where disruptive innovation like this had no place; now there is a real need for innovative entrepreneurs, so we took on the challenge.
Have you defined corporate values at Notpla?
Yes, we have values, but we rethink them as we grow. Today, we have 3 corporate values: sustainability, innovation and the “real solution”: it is important to be in a continuous improvement process. For this, we try to be scientifically objective. In addition to these corporate values, we also have team values. The first is collaboration: our employees have a wide range of skills, so everyone complements each other; well-being, a positive attitude and responsibility, especially the responsibility to find solutions. Up until quite recently, we were a small team, so it was easy to bring them to life. Today and in view of our development, we are dedicated to bringing our corporate culture to life! Every year, we also organize a day to talk about our values and redefine them collectively. Moreover, when hiring, we use this angle to identify if the candidate corresponds with our philosophy.
At Ynsect, we have defined 5 values: explorer, balance, authenticity, adaptability and solidarity. Among these, is there one that resonates with you more than the others? And why?
All these values have their place, but the explorer side speaks to us more. It is this interest in exploration that led us to create new packaging and try to veer off the beaten track.
To what extent does marine pollution have an impact on the brown algae you use?
Today, we use all types of seaweed in the design of our products, not just brown algae. Seaweed has exceptional properties: it has the ability to restore marine biodiversity, but also to participate in regeneration because it captures carbon dissolved in the water. To produce our seaweed, we tested seaweed from all over the world to ensure that we had the best. Today, part of our seaweed comes from farms in Brittany where it is raised in the best possible conditions, far from polluted waters.
What are you most proud of regarding the development of Notpla?
I am most proud of my team. We have people who left positions in large companies to join us. They accepted to have a different level of comfort for a project aligned with their personal beliefs and values. Today, we are a united team, sharing the will to change the world by offering alternatives to plastic.
To visit their website : https://www.notpla.com/