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We have a social responsibility to not just inform the public and the media about what we do and why we do it, but also to counterbalance misinformation about our field. We aim to ensure the public gets a full and balanced picture on risks and rewards.
We also have a responsibility to educate our investors, stakeholders, and the public about who we are and what the benefits are from our technology and products.
Many of the words and phrases surrounding what we do are at best badly misunderstood and at worst actively misrepresented. Examples include “natural”, “synthetic biology” and “genetic engineering”. And many of the resultant products are often mischaracterised. There is nothing “fake”, or “artificial” about the yeast, sugar, fermentation, purification, ingredients, or DNA that we produce.
In the industry, the word “synthetic” actually means that the ingredient is made using synthetic chemistry from petrochemicals, which ours are most certainly not. Our ingredients are made from biosynthesis, which itself starts with photosynthesis, the process by which plants fix carbon and that underpins all life on earth. Similarly we start with baker’s yeast and plant genes. The yeast is not a “novel organism”. It’s baker’s yeast. And our genes are not “fake DNA”. They are normal genes, just like any other gene.
Impact on vulnerable communities
Evolva develops and produces ingredients that either open new markets (for example our stevia and nootkatone products) or that compete with products made from petrochemicals or large-scale agriculture for the mass market (for example our vanillin ingredient).
We do not target customers who source their ingredients from small artisanal farms, Fair Trade operations, or grower cooperatives in impoverished settings. Among other things, customers that are looking for ingredients from those suppliers have no interest in switching out supply chains, especially when their brand identity has been carefully cultivated around a local, artisanal-sourced (and often organic) narrative.
Even if this was not the case, Evolva would still have no interest in this market segment. The potential to deliver greatest shareholder value and make an impact on improving the daily lives of most people exists only in the larger market segments where we can differentiate our ingredients.
We set aside 1% of our product revenues to support science education in developing countries and the conservation of biodiversity.
It’s not a huge sum, but we believe it will grow. But, it’s our way of giving back, and supporting the international community of educators and researchers, and the planet we all live on.