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We profile tech companies that work on one of the five existential challenges. This week, we focused on Grove and climate change. (As always, they didn't pay us for coverage.) Subscribe if you haven't already!


At the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, 16 year old Greta Thunberg told a room full of the world's wealthiest people what they needed to hear: "I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is." No, it literally is. Fires in the Amazon jumped 84% in the last year.

The world's forests are one of our only lines of defense against rising CO₂, and we're destroying them at unprecedented rates.


largest cause of climate change is deforestation


of CO2 is captured by every tree annually


acres of forest are lost annually

There are a lot of factors that contribute to deforestation, but a big chunk — about 14% — explicitly goes to our massive appetite for un-recycled paper.

Becoming a paper industry expert was not what Marketing Manager Margot James was planning on for her career. Out of college, with dual degrees in marketing and environmental studies, she leaned into AdWords consulting to pay the bills. But after a few agency gigs, she really wanted to reconnect with the meaning behind her work, which is when a recruiter reached out from a new startup — Grove. Grove is a PBC that sells sustainable, natural health and home products like method, Mrs. Meyer's, and BioBag.

If you've been buying Tide for the past 25 years, that can be a tough habit to break. So Grove wants to help ease you into real change.

— Margot James, Growth Marketing Mgr.
Grove Collaborative

The strategy has worked — Grove has grown from inception to become a unicorn in the e-commerce space in just over 3 years; all while saving one million pounds of plastic. They're also hiring as fast as they're growing.

Here are a few of Grove's open roles as of Oct 21, 2019:

Chief of Staff to the CEO

Operations | San Francisco

Senior Art Director

Marketing | San Francisco

Senior Software Quality Assurance Engineer

Engineering | San Francisco
(and a lot more!)

Grove initially reached out to Margot as an AdWords specialist. They ultimately went with another candidate, but were impressed by her enough to offer her "emerging channels," including direct mail. "I work with our printers to source FSC-certified materials. When we need to use paper, we do our best to source recycled materials." Margot also told us that most people think that 100% recycled paper is best for the environment. But Grove has devised an even better solution: treeless paper, made from bamboo and sugarcane, for products like toilet paper and tissues.

These treeless products comprise their Seedling line, which is partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation: for every 50 units sold, they plant a tree. They're on track to plant ~100,000 new trees this year, and it seems to be pretty good toilet paper. Of course, disrupting the environmental impact of toilet paper only goes so far.


of tropical deforestation
is for agricultural use


of emissions are from
electricity and transportation


of global CO2 levels are
produced by China alone

...not to mention that the richest 10% of people produce 50% of individual-produced CO₂. For Grove, though, paper products are just the start: they're fundamentally changing the nature of the goods they sell with methods like low-water production, bioplastics, and carbon offsets. And in the meantime, Seedling is helping to plant enough trees to reverse climate change, which turns out to be a scientifically viable strategy.

If you want to help address climate change, apply for a job or refer a friend!

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Project Mobilize is written and curated by Patrick Perini and Alec Davis, with special thanks to Jarett DeAngelis and Renée Holden.

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