Paris-based start-up Carbonfact on Thursday revealed a $2 million round of seed funding that it plans to use to strengthen and support distribution of its carbon management software for apparel and footwear brands.
The seed round was led by French early-stage VC fund Alven, and Y-Combinator. Since its launch in July 2021, Carbonfact has signed on more than 150 partners including Yoox Net-a-porter and La Redoute.
The company provides apparel and footwear brands with scalable life-cycle assessment software based on the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint category rules. They’ve crunched the commission’s standards into data companies and consumers can visualize.
“What we want is to make a methodology that’s super easy and to standardize carbon accounting,” cofounder and chief executive officer Marc Laurent told WWD. “We can run hundreds of life-cycle assessments, and the output for brands is roughly that, for the first time, they have a clear understanding of what is the product footprint for their whole product catalogue. And once they have that, we are also able to identify hot spots.”
The methodology was developed under LCA specialist Dr. Bahareh Zamani, Ph.D., who joined the team in January.
Traditional LCA and carbon assessments tend to focus on scopes one and two, which are things companies can directly control, such as energy use in their headquarters. The Carbonfact LCA software focuses on scope three emissions, which are related to suppliers, purchased goods and materials — the outsourced areas that are often the hardest place for brands to target reductions. Roughly 90 percent of a brand’s emissions happen in this category.
Carbonfact uses a combination of brand-supplied data and independent supply chain research to collect data from suppliers for the assessment.
“For brands, it’s super complicated to reduce scope three because they don’t have the granular information. They only know that the problem lies in the products but they don’t know what are the different impacts in their product category, collection, price range,” Laurent said.
The goal is to work with brands to create reduction targets from season to season.
“They obviously know that a big chunk [of their emissions] is their scope three, but they need additional data to actually lower it and to have a product-level approach to make sure they are able to improve the next collection,” he added.
With multichannel retailers such as La Redoute or Yoox Net-a-porter, Carbonfact calculates the LCA across the product catalogue so that sites can identify which brands or product categories are high carbon.
The company launched with a consumer-facing carbon calculator for footwear before expanding into apparel and accessories. That product is still available for brands that want to promote their carbon strides. They have partnered with several footwear brands, including Nothing New, Lane Eight, Casca Footwear and New Lab. “Once you think your products, your footprints are good enough to be displayed to your consumers, we can help you with that.”
The funding round will be used to build out more robust data collection and processing, as well as brand support on sustainability communications strategies. Added Laurent: “We can have an external look at the content you’re actually producing to make sure it’s bulletproof.”
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