Aisling Kirwan, director of operations at the social enterprise Positive Carbon, tells Irish Country Living that a social enterprise’s business model is set up to tackle social, economic or environmental issues and that is how they have always seen their business.
Positive Carbon is a social enterprise focused on reducing food waste. They have developed sensory technology and artificial intelligence to track and monitor the food waste within food service operations.
This technology can work for professional kitchens of all sizes; increasing profitability and making food service operations more sustainable. Aisling and her cofounder, Mark Kirwan, were awarded Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Impact Programme in 2021. They have since earned backing from investors from around Europe.
“At our core we are a sustainability company. We want to help businesses identity and reduce their food waste and therefore reduce their overall environmental impact. Food waste is such an extensive problem – one third of all food produced globally is wasted, costing $1 trillion dollars to the economy and contributing to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“That is we need to tackle it from all sides –we need businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profits and policymakers all working on the problem in their own way.”
Positive Carbon have just launched in 10 sites with KSG – a major food service provider in Ireland. Aisling and Mark’s technology will be an integral part of KSG’s food waste initiatives within these sites. This launch is also being supported by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Green Enterprise for a Circular Economy programme.
“If you have any idea, even if it’s not fully formed - get out and talk to people about it,” Aisling recommends. “Feedback from other people is so valuable in understanding what the problem is and what your solution may look like. I learned more in a 15-minute conversation with our first customer than in months of research behind a desk. Your idea and solution will continuously evolve as you grow, but it’s important to always be building something that is needed and wanted.” CL