With early traction, PPP has an opportunity to capitalise on its first-mover advantage in the sustainable packaging economy.

Amid the generational ESG shift in the global economy, sustainable packaging solutions are now a key focus for many sectors.

And it’s a field where Aussie start-up Planet Protector Packaging (PPP) has gained impressive traction since it was founded in 2016.

As it scales up for its next phase of growth, the business is conducting an equity crowdfunding raise on the Birchal platform, where it’s already attracted ~$750,000 in capital from more than 400 investors.

With plenty of developments in the pipeline, PPP founder and CEO Joanne Howarth caught up with Stockhead to discuss the company’s outlook as it accelerates its expansion across Australia and New Zealand.


A better solution

For more than 30 years, polystyrene (EPS) boxes have dominated the product-packaging market for cold storage products – food & beverages, seafood and pharmaceuticals.

And of the 8 million metric tonnes of plastic that enter the world’s oceans each year, almost half of that is generated by the packaging sector.

As the owner of a food logistics business herself, Howarth was committed to finding a better solution which is how PPP developed Woolpack – its proprietary packaging product derived from waste wool that is 100% reusable, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.

The idea immediately gained substantial traction, and in the four years since its inception, PPP has generated around $20m in revenues.

As a measure of its momentum, the company also closed out the 2021 financial year with more than 100% annual revenue growth.


Tapping the crowd

PPP has established that strong top-line growth without any external funding. But as the business grows, Howarth is now focused on additional capital streams, and she’s been pleasantly surprised by the crowdfunding response.

“Wool is a renewable resource, and so as the world transitions from plastic towards a more circular economy we are witnessing a return to natural fibres. We’ve found people appreciate wool and what we’ve built and want to be a part of it,” Howarth said.

In addition, the Birchal crowdfunding campaign has provided some unexpected benefits from a business development perspective.

“Since we launched, I’ve received so many emails from new investors and people who work in the industries we serve, offering to make introductions,” she said.

“We’ve got more than 400 new investors now, and it’s not just because they like the business — they’re genuine about what we’re doing.

“So, in that sense, it’s been a beneficial exercise in elevating our brand and generating awareness.”


Next steps

Having already met its minimum funding target, PPPs crowdfunding will be open until Thursday July 22 for new investors to participate.

In terms of deploying the funds, Howarth is dedicated to building a vertically integrated supply chain for PPP’s Woolpack technology, the bulk of which is currently assembled overseas.

And through the growth of PPP, the broader strategic aim is to offer a platform that helps strengthen Australia’s wool industry by creating a revenue-generating channel for recycled and coarse wool, which has seen little demand.

“This is all about supporting Australian sheep farmers and rural communities,” Howarth said.

Along with her business, Howarth is also spearheading the Ewe Beauty Campaign for wool to help bring wool processing back onto Australian shores and has initiated a Change.org petition to Ban EPS Packaging.

“The world is experiencing a waste crisis. The oceans are reeling with plastic. We need to look at the way we do things now because what we do over the next ten years will dictate the future of the oceans for the next 10,000 years,” Howarth says.

“And it will take more than talk to replace polystyrene, which has dominated cold-storage supply chains for 70 years”, she added.

“No one questions that performance; they grab and go. But wool is the best natural insulator on the planet, so our product outperforms polystyrene.”

The superior insulation of wool means PPP’s Woolpack products require fewer refrigerants than polystyrene boxes. They are flatpack delivered, which translates through material savings in transport and labour cost.

“But this industry shift still takes time; people are inherently resistant to change. This step with Birchal is something we just wanted to do to give Australian retail investors access to a piece of this great future in sustainable packaging,” Howarth said.


For more information about the Planet Protector Packaging equity crowd funding visit Birchal here. 

This article was developed in collaboration with Planet Protector Packaging, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
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