I. LET’S HAVE A LOOK ON CLICK AND GROW
Twelfth interview for ODD&THEKEDGERS, a virtual appointment at CLICK AND GROW with Martin Laidla, PR Manager in charge of dealing with branding and different kinds of CSR activities in the company. Created in 2009 in Estonia, CLICK AND GROW has legal addresses with warehouses in the US, Singapore and Hong-Kong but most of the operations are done in the country, led from Tartu where the headquarters are. With almost 50 employees, CLICK AND GROW is legally an electronic consumer product company and formally the leader of indoor growing devices. Today the only one to be profitable in the sector, CLICK AND GROW is building smart gardens that bridge the gap between modern life and nature. Before discovering to what extent in this article, we suggest you to soak up a few words of Mattias Lepp, CEO of the company (Click here) !
CLICK AND GROW permits everyone to make growing food easily at home
While our world is urbanizing, more and more people live in the cities year after year with 3,5 billion urban people today and a forecast of 5 billion urban people by 2030. Facing this increasing urban population, people have less and less experience of how to garden and knowledge about food itself, how it grows, why consume fresh food, … In fact, if gardening is still quite popular in some countries like Estonia or France, humans’ relationship with nature fades away over the years. This disconnection to nature, CLICK & GROW has wanted to correct it with the idea to bring back the joy of gardening by permitting to grow its own food in everyone’s home around the world thanks to indoor growing devices.
To reach this goal, CLICK & GROW understood the necessity to make it as simple as possible. Basically everybody can do some indoor garden of herbs, fruits or vegetables but practically it is hard to do it. Hard to get the right watering, the right light and especially the right knowledge for that kind of crop. Here the company makes the difference by taking away all the barriers for people to enjoy gardening and growing their own food at home. Well illustrated in the comparison given by Sir Laidla during our interview:
« CLICK AND GROW’s indoor garden products are so logical to use, it’s like a Nespresso coffee machine, you insert the capsule and then the plant grows. » – M.Laidla
Easy to use, not so easy to produce! The indoor gardens (Click here to discover the indoor gardens offer), composed by a water tank and a LED light are quite easy to make. What’s particularly hard to do and take years and years of experience and testing is to provide plant pods (the capsule in the comparison above) with 100% successful growing! Unlike usual hardware devices like a Nespresso coffee machine, here the CLICK AND GROW indoor gardens’ devices are combined with something that is living : the plants pods. Among the difficulties induced such as shipping that need to be really on time, no long storage because the seeds would die, hygiene and safety rules for food products to respect… our interviewee has also explained us that:
« We need to satisfy the needs of all the clients, both in cold and dry Alaska and warm and humid in Singapore, so all the plants need to be able to grow in the different climates where we export. » – M.Laidla
With 7000 plants tested so far, the company constantly proceeds to a selection of the plants depending on what people like to eat in different cultures worldwide, on how good it is for health … and obviously on the feasibility to grow the seeds for indoor gardening in their devices. At the end of this selection over the years, with a new plant launches every 1 or 2 months and some plants removed from the market from time to time, CLICK AND GROW offers right now 65 plants with 100% successful growing (Click here to discover the plants offer) that bring a multitude of benefits for the people who grow them at home:
« Indoor plants are proven to improve health through consumption, reduce stress, improve air quality and overall happiness » – Click and Grow website
Then, we perceive how important are the benefits of the company’s mission for humans to bridge the gap between modern life and nature. Furthermore, besides these benefits for the indoor gardener, doing it provides additional benefits at the same time. As explained by Sir Laidla during our interview:
« There are so many benefits to starting growing your own food at home ! Even if the experience is easy and you don’t have so much to do, doing it permits to develop a better connection with the nature, value it more and avoid at the same time the bad impact that traditional agriculture [industrial farming] has on the humans and the environment » – M.Laidla
Through this overview of the CLICK AND GROW’s activities, we understand the benefits for the indoor gardener and we perceive the potential benefits for the whole society and the environment. That’s what we will highlight in our second part dedicated to the commitments for sustainability!
II. CLICK AND GROW COMMITMENTS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
By enabling people to enjoy gardening easily by growing their own food at home, CLICK AND GROW contributes to reach a part of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Let’s discover those that resonate particularly for the company in the SDGs matrix, according to Sir Laidla during our interview:
SDG 2 – Zero hunger, SDG 3 – Good health and well-being, SDG 4 – Quality education, SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation, SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 11 – Sustainable cities & communities, SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
CLICK AND GROW’s Corporate Social Responsibility through its smart indoor gardens
Pursuing to be profitable with its products like all “for-profit organizations”, CLICK AND GROW carrying at the same time to lower the negative environmental impacts our nutrition has as well as to improving humans modern life : better nutrition, better health, better life! This is the sustainable development to reach: an integration, a conciliation, a viable harmony between the three pillars it is based on (Economic, Social, Environmental) (Click here to discover our heading #ODDLearning in our Instagram page @oddthekedgers with our post dedicated to the Sustainability pillars).
By speaking about sustainable development, the SDGs matrix is an useful tool that we have used with Sir Laidla in order to highlight qualitatively on which SDGs the CLICK AND GROW’s smart indoor gardens directly and indirectly make a difference:
The fact that eating well permits to have good health and well-being is no longer to be proven. CLICK AND GROW provides plants pods to enable everyone to consume the vitamins rich food good for its health with three times more nutrients compared to plants produced in open fields in traditional agriculture.
SDG 4 – Quality education
Smart Indoor Gardens are really good for children to teach about gardening and make them eat vegetables. Therefore, CLICK AND GROW collaborates with some schools that use its devices for nature education and children are literally fighting over lettuce! In fact, if a child sees a carrot, the connection with nature is .. often non-existent; but when the same child sees the carrot growing in that kind of cool device, she/he is really invested in it!
Vertical farms permit, like the CLICK AND GROW’s smart indoor gardens, to use 95% less water than traditional agriculture. Furthermore, by producing at home with the smart indoor gardens, it is totally sure that you don’t use pesticides or fertilizers that are washing off the soils, consequently the rivers, and the oceans.
During the 11 past years, CLICK AND GROW has been designing a new product range for a completely new market. Leader in the indoor food growing devices, the company is bringing a significant innovation in the food industry. One more time, innovation and technological progress such as smart indoor gardens brings us day after day closer to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
All cities spread year after year, some communities are pushed for relocation due to expansion of agricultural areas, … the place where humans live and the place where they get their means of subsistence must be rethink. For sustainable cities that are pleasant to live in with less pollution, the smart indoor gardens provided by CLICK AND GROW makes definitely sense.
Producing what the market really needs is very complicated. Especially in the food market where ⅓ of produced food goes to waste. CLICK AND GROW offers a responsible production and consumption at the same place : its smart indoor garden ! It works at home, in offices or for example in cafeterias when they want to produce food on their site (like herbs for their sandwiches). Here is important to note that the company encourages other ways to use the products : people can only buy the smart garden device and use their own soil and seed instead of the ones the company sells to reduce the plastic used by the company.
The global warming and its effects can be attributed to different factors, whose human industries like the agricultural sector. Giving everyone the possibility to apply at home the cleaner technology of urban vertical farms permits to optimize the consumption of vital resources like energy (avoid the fuels consumption of tractors and trucks, …), or water (water-use as effective as it can be for the plants : the growth substrate where the plants are growing drops the water up from the tank by little amount so it’s always moist but never overwhelmed or underwatered). At the end of a complex equation, growing its own food at home permits to reduce the environmental footprint of its diet and act positively against this global threat.
Indirectly, same explanation as the one for the SDG 14, plus a concrete solution to reduce the deforestation, the desertification, the agricultural species’ selection, … While some studies point out the way we produce food in developed countries has more impact in loss of biodiversity than climate change, the necessity to rethink the food industry with solutions like the smart indoor gardens are crucial to protect the biodiversity fundamental for ensuring the natural balances on Earth.
Presented here with CLICK AND GROW, this use of the SDGs matrix appears really easy but definitely helpful because it permits to give globally the areas where you have / could make a real difference through your actions. After understanding where your priorities are in the SDGs matrix (SDGs 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 above for CLICK AND GROW), you need to have in mind that the SDGs are interlinked, meaning that one often leads to others, it is crucial to implement efficiently the SDGs in your activity, projects, actions, … as a company, NGO, public organization, individual, … : targeting only one of these SDGs with your activity, projects, actions often isn’t enough! Therefore, after understanding where your priorities are and the intrinsically nature of the interlinked 17 SDGs, you are able to perceive how you contribute / could contribute to the SDGs through your activity, action, project. To do this, we have developed a quite simple methodology at ODD&THEKEDGERS to qualitatively measure the contributions of your activity, actions, projects to the SDGs, whatever the lifecycle stage it is ! Let’s discover it in application for the smart indoor gardens of CLICK AND GROW thanks to the GOOD PRACTICE SHEET we have done, supported by 3 TOOLS!
An upcoming project of the company: A collaboration project with IKEA!
Some companies have seen their activities interrupted or slowed down worldwide in 2020, shaken by the crisis due to the Covid-19. On the contrary, some companies have seen their businesses booming during this period like CLICK AND GROW and its activities of indoor gardening. Confined at home, people have been looking for some indoor hobbies like starting gardening. This situation, reinforced by the feeling of fear to go outside in public places like supermarkets or groceries, has led to a revenue 2 or 3 times higher than projected every month this year 2020, with a significant increase during the first wave between March and April 2020 where the company’s revenue was 5 times higher than projected.
Indeed, the company is totally able to prepare upcoming projects such as a collaboration with IKEA. To get straight to the point, CLICK AND GROW wants to develop its bigger devices that enable to raise the production of daily food at home. To do this, the company is finding solutions to grow more crops in less space. Then, the collaboration project with IKEA consists of integrating directly the smart indoor gardens inside their swedish kitchens. Beside your normal dishwasher, you might soon have a cabin where your CLICK AND GROW’s plants grow! This collaboration is definitely promising to scale up the company’s activities and as announced by our interviewee:
« Currently testing, a new prototype will come out in the next few months, this would be easy, hideable, expandable and stackable to grow a lot of salad in your home! » – M.Laidla
III. CLICK AND GROW AND THE KEDGERS
Could CLICK AND GROW be your next experience?
Beside the purpose to make Kedgers (Kedge Business School’s students) aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, ODD&THEKEDGERS aims to inform the managers of tomorrow of responsible opportunities abroad in the associative, private and public sectors. That’s why at the end of our interview with Sir Laida, we have not hesitated to ask some questions for you in order to know to whom this organization could turn for a professional experience abroad.
CLICK AND GROW agrees to host in Estonia someone from abroad. Concerning the types of positions: INTERNS in Marketing, R&D, Logistics and IT. You have the profile, you like the plants and innovation, then it could be a great opportunity abroad!
Precious words of Sir Laidla for the students that we are at Kedge
Before leaving, let’s soak up our interviewee’s advice!
« Dream big, we love fresh and new ideas of your generation! » – M.Laidla
« One thing for sure it’s : start gardening! » – M.Laidla
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