A group of celebrities including LeBron James and other prominent NBA figures have poured $12 million into a funding round for Neutral Foods.A group of celebrities including LeBron James and other prominent NBA figures have poured $12 million into a funding round for Neutral Foods.
CNBC reports Neutral Foods, a dairy company that also tracks the greenhouse gas emissions that comes from the production of dairy products and buys carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions. Neutral Foods products include butter, organic half and half and organic milk.
In addition to James, other investors in the latest funding round include Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban, musicians John Legend and Questlove as well as Cleveland Cavaliers Power Forward Kevin Love, a former teammate of James. The funding round was led by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates’ investment fund Breakthrough Energy.
Cuban, who has invested in dozens of startup businesses and is a regular on the show Shark Tank, believes Americans are becoming increasingly focused on the products they purchase and how they affect the environment.
“I think consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of the products they consume on the environment. I think Neutral is well positioned to meet that demand,” Cuban said, according to CNBC.
While transportation and electricity are usually first when people think of greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture is a huge contributor to the emissions heating the planet. According to Breakthrough Energy, agriculture is responsible for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it the third worst offender behind manufacturing (31%) and electricity (27%).
Neutral Food milk is currently in stock at Whole Food, Target and other grocers and the company is planning on expanding to meat. The company also works with farmers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with dairy production including changing what cows eat and how farmers manage cow manure.
“It’s clear that consumers are hungry for sustainable, climate-forward options and they’re reflecting that in their purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to buying food and beverages,” Carmichael Roberts, who is part of the investment committee at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, told CNBC.