Project Vana, the eco-transparency platform built on the TISCreport, has been awarded a Fast Start grant from Innovate UK to use their “internet of connected entities” to drive net zero through supply chains.
In the war against climate change, Project Vana was created with the mission of enabling and fueling government and corporate activism to save the world. Vana is the name of the technology platform that aggregates eco-transparency data which allows the goal of detecting afforestation opportunities in corporate-owned land. This gives public, private and voluntary organisations the ability to easily access and understand what information is currently available about them in the public domain, so they can work towards achieving their ESG goals. The idea for Project Vana was conceived back in 2018 by Semantrica after observing influencing factors on corporate behaviour on their corporate transparency platform tiscreport.org. TISCreport itself came out of a West of England Initiative intervention in 2014, bringing together ethical businesses with policy makers, thanks to the support of teams at Companies House and Open Corporates.
Jaya Chakrabarti, CEO, says “We realised that not only is corporate transparency critical for accountability, it enables the playing field to be levelled for all organisations to take meaningful action on climate change. With our deep love of nature, and love affair with forests generally, we saw (through the woods) an opportunity to connect compliance with climate and net zero. Project Vana was the result.”
With support from their steering board, Carly Morris and Nourin Abdal of Geovation, Caroline Bray and Christian King of HM Land Registry/Ordnance Survey, the Vana prototype phase was successfully funded by UKRI during the pandemic lockdown, and confirmed that corporates are overwhelmingly the best hope of enabling the UK to hit its tree-planting targets. Because Vana was harnessing their buying leverage, the potential to massive scale net zero through the country and beyond via supply chains was recognised by Innovate.
Mary Stevens, Experiments Programme Manager the Friends of the Earth commented, “Vana’s innovative approach to using tools and insights from corporate transparency to achieve land-use change is really exciting. We need to try every possible route to change, so we’re keen to see how the idea develops.”
Heather Wright from Innovation and Growth Specialist at Innovate UK EDGE South West, commented, “Working with Jaya to develop Vana commercial strategy was challenging because of its complexity and therefore all the more rewarding when we were able to come up with focussed and workable real world solutions to get the business moving.”
Vana was subsequently selected to receive special support from the Innovate UK Edge Programme in January this year, to prepare them for market. Receiving funding from Innovate UK gives Project Vana the incredible opportunity to accelerate and improve the current infrastructure to bring organisations together to devise tree-growing and net-zero opportunities.
James Snelgrove from Innovation and Growth Specialist at Innovate UK EDGE South West commented, “We were pleased to provide strategic business support to Project Vana and help them to identify suitable grants. We congratulate them on their grant success. The company has tremendous potential to grow rapidly and scale afforestation in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”
Jaya says of the support received “working with James and Heather at EDGE SouthWest really helped us crystallise our proposition to align with UK objectives. Together with our steering board support, we’ve been very lucky to be able to articulate Vana without clouding it all with the complexity under the bonnet. The next six months are going to be incredibly exciting for us all!”