Fuel for a Mindful World

Fuel For a Mindful World

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway sits down with Ian Clifford. Our guest is the CEO and Chair of FuelPositive Corporation, a Canadian-based growth stage company committed to providing commercially viable and sustainable clean energy solutions.

Dive into the conversation. Learn how to reduce carbon footprints, contribute to a sustainable future through farming and how to focus on technologies that are clean. This conversation is sure to support you in personally living in a more mindful manner.

Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Key Quotes

“They (farmers) don’t have to even look out to the supply chain anymore. The impact of what a fuel positive system does on and for their farm. It’s a liberating event.”

– Ian Clifford

“We have all the technology we need; We just have to do it.”

– Ian Clifford

“Support technologies and companies that are are facilitating immediate change. That’s the key.”

– Ian Clifford
Startup Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

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00:00.00

Lauren Conaway

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the startup hustle podcast I’m your host lauren conoway founder and Ceo of InnovateHER KC and we are so excited to tell you about today’s sponsor today’s episode of startup Hustle is sponsored by fullscale.io and they can help you build a software team quickly and affordably so today we are joined I’m actually extremely excited for this conversation I was excited before but then we just had a prep session with Ian Clifford Ian is Ceo of fuel positive and. Ian and I started to have the kind of conversation that makes me think to myself. Damn I wish I had already started recording and so I am very much looking forward to talking to Ian Ian thank you so much for being with us here today.

00:47.46

Ian Clifford

Oh thanks Lauren it’s it’s great to join you.

00:50.69

Lauren Conaway

Well and and so I just I want to get right into it because I feel like we have so many different conversational paths that we could take as evidenced to buy our prep our our prep session. So I’m just going to go ahead and ask you you know Ian tell us. But your journey tell us your story.

01:08.88

Ian Clifford

My my journey’s been um, really multifaceted I actually started um, started at a very young age um working with my father who was an architect So I’m a teenager here.

01:17.79

Lauren Conaway

Start The kind of better.

01:26.59

Ian Clifford

Um, and we had a little farm north of Toronto and he wanted to be an organic farmer and some of my early memories with him as you know, riding on an old tractor together and and plowing fields and and growing organic spelt and doing this. Yeah, it was like this.

01:40.73

Lauren Conaway

Oh Wow spels is like ringing is it not.

01:45.65

Ian Clifford

Bizarre Yeah Spelts a grain and it’s a very. It’s an ancient grain. So it’s it was in not only was it a you think you’re right I mean it’s the amaranth and spelt and these things that yeah might I know I know.

01:49.53

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, don’t they talk about it like in in the bible and things like that. Yeah, that’s right, That’s right.

02:03.13

Ian Clifford

So we we so as a as a as a city kid I was exposed to farming at a really young age and it gave me an appreciation. Um for the land. But also you know for how hard it was to be a farmer and it’s interesting because I didn’t really get back to it until a couple of years ago

02:15.45

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

02:22.86

Ian Clifford

Um, when when we started fuel positive and we looked at ah at farming specifically around um around Ammonia and and I mean it’s a detailed and long discussion about ah the technology but it’s totally applicable to farming and totally applicable to. Helping farmers. Um, ah, do not only the environmentally the right thing but also to Relieve farmers of some of the biggest stresses in their daily lives and that’s the cost of fertilizer. The cost of the cost of fuel.

02:54.19

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

02:58.66

Ian Clifford

And the supply of both of those major inputs into farming. So um, so it was funny to go kind of full circle um from a kid sitting on a tractor. Not really knowing what I was doing then to to now supplying um systems to farmers ah around the world. Ah, to help alleviate some of the fundamental stresses that that affect farmers today.

03:20.37

Lauren Conaway

Well and I and I have to ask um your dad How does your dad feel about it.

03:25.44

Ian Clifford

Well sadly I lost my dad about eleven years ago um that he’s I can still feel him very present in all of this. So it’s it’s really neat whenever whenever I’m thinking about um how farmers are.

03:29.20

Lauren Conaway

Oh no.

03:43.63

Ian Clifford

You know, reacting to what we’re doing or interested in what we’re doing I always invoke my father’s voice in the conversation in that he was so concerned about you know, um about the health of the land about the quality of what we eat.

03:57.28

Lauren Conaway

Now.

04:01.62

Ian Clifford

Um, about organic farming at the time was you know was very very early in its um in its Adoption. So It was a very um. So his his sentiment. Um, you know, really informs me on a daily basis which is great. It’s great to have that tie ball.

04:17.51

Lauren Conaway

Well and and what ah what a legacy and what an honor to to your father like hey you instilled this in me when I was young and now I’m carrying those principles forward to make a really deep global impact. That’s. That that is a beautiful origin story my goodness but.

04:36.00

Ian Clifford

Well, it’s no, it’s funny because I hadn’t I haven’t thought of it in that context until we started talking about it because um because the connections were because my my life went through I have gone through many many different iterations of of. Of um of professional work over the over the years all of which has had kind of an environmental significant environmental component. So that’s always been part of um part of who I am in terms of my priorities but going to farming and the reason for that is is interesting because.

04:57.52

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

05:14.28

Lauren Conaway

Ah.

05:14.78

Ian Clifford

Um, ammonia today and ammonia has been produced. Um as a chemical for the last century and it’s one of the most carbon-intens manufacturing processes on the planet. So for every ton of ammonia that’s manufactured utilizing fossil fuels. You have about 4 our tons between 2 and 4 tons of emissions carbon emissions in the production. So this is a really carbon intense material but 80% of ammonia that’s been produced over the last century goes to agriculture as a fertilizer so ammonia has this.

05:37.80

Lauren Conaway

Wow.

05:51.10

Ian Clifford

Huge nitrogen content every plant on the planet needs Nitrogen and and farmers have been stuck with the this is the only option up to now in terms of how to fertilize plants and and we’ve we’ve created a system now that farmers can have.

06:01.78

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

06:10.80

Ian Clifford

On their farms. So they don’t have to. They don’t have to rely on a ah huge global supply chain massive price fluctuations supply chain issues that have ah of course been exacerbated by covid and now the situation in the in Ukraine has made it even worse and pricing.

06:24.81

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

06:27.89

Ian Clifford

Pricing dust all over the place. So like 1 farmer in in Manitoba who we’re working with today a year ago. They paid about six hundred bucks a ton for for ammonia delivered to the farm today. It’s about $2400 a ton and this is their major input cost right? So this is a huge.

06:35.40

Lauren Conaway

Ah.

06:43.42

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

06:46.52

Ian Clifford

Huge, incredibly strenuous and stressful part of of of the farming business and we’re trying to say no, there’s a better way of doing this. You can do it on your farm. We can make this easy for you carbon-fre and cost absolutely cost competitive and the price isn’t going to change over the next thirty years so this is what.

07:03.19

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well I And that’s incredible because you have found a way to to marry social impact.

07:06.90

Ian Clifford

That’s that’s what we’re offering.

07:14.50

Lauren Conaway

Um, you know, fact, remains that we we are constantly looking for you know, clean energy sources and ways to to innovate and reduce that that carbon footprint like we we hear this in the media. Um, you know climate change like how can we can We slow the progression. How can we. Kind of create a sustainable future for our World. So you’re doing all of this over here. You’re you’re starting a movement of sorts but you’re also very tactfully making a farmer’s job easier and that has to that has to feel really good. Does it feel really good.

07:34.95

Ian Clifford

Yeah.

07:44.20

Ian Clifford

Um, yeah, it it feels it feels amazing actually and I I sort of underestimated how profound um the response would be I think all of us in the company did we didn’t realize how. Significant The the need is but also the level of of both economic and and mental stress on farmers I mean climate change is hard enough as a farmer as you can imagine. But when your key inputs you know fertilizer and fuel.

08:10.43

Lauren Conaway

Now. Um.

08:21.48

Ian Clifford

Are so vulnerable. Um, just imagine the the emotional stress that you would go through you know as ah, the the stewards of our land I mean these are the people who feed all of us right? and and and and these these antiquated systems are creating all of this.

08:30.84

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

08:40.12

Ian Clifford

Um, all of this stress and it’s It’s a huge huge issue we’ve we’ve now understood and and we’re seeing the kind of really really positive Response. We’re getting to ah to our solutions. So That’s that’s that’s hugely rewarding. Um, and you know makes all of us feel really good on a daily basis and in terms of what we’re pursuing.

08:59.11

Lauren Conaway

Well so I’m going to give you the opportunity at some point later I’m making a note to myself right now I do want to hear a little bit more about the farmer’s perspective for sure. But the first thing that I want to ask you is is how does. Fuel positive. How does the work that you’re doing fit into the the larger ecosystem because just as a for instance, like 1 of the things that you just mentioned was supply chain and how you know thank you pandemic like we we have found some pretty significant holes in our in our you know logistics and supply chain. Um.

09:29.14

Ian Clifford

Sure.

09:35.20

Lauren Conaway

He at least here in the US and I you know you’re in Canada I’m assuming that Canada is much the same. Um, but so so you you are a small but growing part of a very large ecosystem.

09:38.47

Ian Clifford

Oh absolutely.

09:47.94

Ian Clifford

Um, yes.

09:49.56

Lauren Conaway

That relies on things like transportation and you know product development like all of these things so talk to us a little bit take us to the ten Thousand foot view and talk to us about how fuel positive kind of fits within within that ecosystem.

09:56.62

Ian Clifford

Yep.

10:02.68

Ian Clifford

Yeah, so actually I can create a really um, straightforward example. Um I think that’ll be really? Okay, so this this should be relative. This should be easy to follow from that perspective. So so you’re a farmer you live in Manitoba.

10:08.73

Lauren Conaway

Straight forward examples are my favorite. They’re the best.

10:21.73

Ian Clifford

Um, you use ah a huge amount of fertilizer on fuel and fuel for your farm and today your fertilizer. Um, if you’re a canadian farmer it could most of it could come from Russia a large amount of it could come from Ukraine um, and and. And the production of that of those materials are centralized meaning they’re they’re produced in huge refinery type production facilities. Um, there’s you know a number of them around the world then that product is put into a supply chain. So it’s ships and its trains and its trucks and it so on um, all of which are disrupted um through covid specifically um through the obviously now sanctions related to um to Russia’s attack on Ukraine um, and and destruction now we were just reading I think last week a number of.

10:59.10

Lauren Conaway

Right.

11:16.94

Ian Clifford

Fertilizer plants were blown up. You know, knowing perfectly. Well the impact that would have economically for Ukraine but also the impact to to ah to farmers around the world. Um, and then on top of that in Canada we were just faced with a a rail strike um or the threat of a serious rail strike.

11:17.68

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

11:34.94

Ian Clifford

And of course those fertilizers are moved by rail in Canada so not only farmers were facing covid related supply chain issues war related supply chain issues and now domestic transportation supply chain issues. So imagine you’re sitting on your farm in Manitoba and you’re wondering where you’re. Hundred to five hundred tons of of um of ah ammonia is going to come from this year and how much you’re going to pay for it and are you going to get any like all of these things. Um, just creating this this level of economic and and mental health stress that I can’t even fathom.

11:57.74

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

12:11.79

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

12:13.26

Ian Clifford

Right? Like if you’re sitting there and and all the sources of your of your income are threatened um and then we saw then the cost of fuel go through the roof right? and these are artificial increases in price. But nevertheless those who rely directly on on.

12:25.19

Lauren Conaway

Riot.

12:32.40

Ian Clifford

On Fuelford means a production like a farmer um is is is facing exactly those same issues. So So what? our what our system does is it takes it takes the production of Ammonia and it puts it in a container so like a shipping container-sized. Um. Ah, production little production plant and it puts it right on the Farmer’s farm and as long as the farmer has access to sustainable Electricity. So a carbon free source of electricity. They produce their own fertilizer on the farm and they can produce their own fuel because it’s.

13:00.84

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

13:10.81

Ian Clifford

Not well known, but Ammonia is an incredible replacement for gasoline and diesel. Um, so they can create their own fertilizer and fuel on farm for their needs. They don’t have to even look out to the supply chain anymore like this is it’s It’s absolute. It’s a liberating event.

13:23.55

Lauren Conaway

Wow.

13:29.35

Ian Clifford

And this is what I’m so was saying earlier that like the reaction like farmers who are thinking of doing this. They see themselves as Heroes right? they see themselves and ah and they’re using words like that to describe what they believe the impact of what a fuel positive system on their farm could do for them.

13:35.77

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

13:44.56

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

13:46.90

Ian Clifford

And that’s pretty and that’s I mean that’s really inspiring as I said for us I mean you know this is why we’re doing what we’re doing but we never expected that it would have that kind of a a deep emotional reaction and it’s it’s it’s wonderful. It’s just wonderful.

14:01.12

Lauren Conaway

That Well I am so thrilled to hear that like I just I mean the excitement in your voice even is just it’s it’s quite inspiring. So so thank you for that.

14:10.71

Ian Clifford

Oh good because it is I mean it’s inspiring like it’s you know I mean in in our lives often in our work. We’re very distant from the people that are touched by what we do and this is such a direct line like there’s no middle person in this like the.

14:21.89

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

14:28.56

Ian Clifford

Our systems you know when we’re in production full production. They’ll go from our factory to the Farmer’s field and it’ll and and it’s a direct relationship right? There’s there’s no from us. There’s there’s you know there’s no middle people that it’s a very very direct relationship. So that’s a very interesting way of conducting business and and we love it.

14:35.63

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

14:45.94

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and and I love the fact that you are You are so hands-on you’re able to be so hands-on with your constituents and you’re probably really really well positioned to listen to your customers.

14:47.90

Ian Clifford

Love the idea.

14:53.42

Ian Clifford

Um, yeah.

14:59.80

Ian Clifford

Write.

15:01.20

Lauren Conaway

And so so I’m going to ask you I told you that I wanted to hear more about the farmer’s perspective. But I’m going to ask you to get specific. Can you tell us about a a really fantastic. Like best case you study you know an individual that that deeply benefited From. From your product I’m just I’m sure that you had like you probably have some anecdotal evidence in your back pocket and I just want I would I would love to hear someone’s story.

15:26.58

Ian Clifford

Well, it’s it’s really well. Our first system our first system will be on a farm this August so it is it is being built right now so we have not yet delivered a full commercial system. So.

15:40.60

Lauren Conaway

Okay, okay.

15:44.10

Ian Clifford

What? But what we have been doing a tremendous a tremendous amount of work on is knowing the customer. So um, and we’ve been doing this through. Um you know, very formal surveys and um and one on 1 interviews and and. Through our just through our online presence. We got a huge amount of incoming interest in what we’re doing so our business model um is is really clearly articulated right? And so our website is really current. It’s it’s full of of.

16:10.60

Lauren Conaway

Right.

16:17.70

Ian Clifford

Um, real-time data as we progress towards delivering our initial system. Um, and we’ve got and we’ve got all other demonstration systems lined up right now. So the first farmer who’s getting a system um farms is in Manitoba farms about ten thousand acres

16:20.42

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

16:35.58

Ian Clifford

Um, grows ah crops that are intended for human consumption. So these are very efficient crops that are designed to feed people directly and um is an incredibly sophisticated farmer So they they know exactly how to utilize.

16:41.89

Lauren Conaway

For her.

16:52.68

Ian Clifford

Um, the type of fertilizer that we’re creating which is a very dominant form of fertilizer very very high concentration and they’re so excited like this is this particular farmer just I mean they can’t wait to get it right? and they’re the same farmers who are you know like farmers around the world who are facing these.

16:57.89

Lauren Conaway

Okay.

17:05.10

Lauren Conaway

She worked.

17:11.41

Ian Clifford

The cost and supply chain chain issues that I that we talked about earlier but um, so it will revolutionize the way that they operate their business and they realize that it gives them a level of independence and control that they don’t have right and and have had no way of getting until something like this.

17:24.51

Lauren Conaway

Grant.

17:31.33

Ian Clifford

Um, was available to them. So um, so there there you go I mean over the next year we will have I mean just tons of anecdotal real on the farm experience but but we can anticipate at this point exactly what.

17:40.79

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

17:48.20

Ian Clifford

Um, exactly what the response is going to be because of the level of interest and that and farmers are just really honest about how they talk about the the problems and issues that they face a really open transparent community in that sense.

17:55.20

Lauren Conaway

Right.

18:01.62

Lauren Conaway

I Mean honestly like is is it sometimes a little too too Honest I’ve talked to some farmers in my time and man they’re they’re going to tell you what they are what what they believe which you know which I I love So so really, your.

18:08.80

Ian Clifford

Um, sure oh yeah, that’s right.

18:21.14

Lauren Conaway

Your ideal farmer is is one who’s innovation minded what like talk to us about your ideal client.

18:27.12

Ian Clifford

Well, it’s it’s 2 things 1 It’s it’s a farmer who is facing the hardships that we help address right? and the reality of those farmers is that’s pretty well every farmer like there’s not a farmer and yeah it is most right? and and.

18:35.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah I was good here. It feels like it should be most.

18:46.38

Ian Clifford

They don’t as you said they don’t they don’t hold their punches when they they tell you about the hardships and and they’re real like they’re real and it’s great to have a product that can help answer those those issues the the other um.

18:49.76

Lauren Conaway

Right.

18:57.16

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

19:02.24

Ian Clifford

Quality or aspect and this is becoming much more prevalent. We’re finding as well as we reach out to a broad range of of farmers is concerned for the environment. So. There’s not only I mean concern sustainability making sure their farms are healthy. The the soil is healthy. The water’s healthy. For the purposes of passing on their their farms to their you know to their families offspring What have you? Um, So that’s a really important part of it. But also the idea that and that understanding that farming um traditional farming is is a heavy polluter.

19:38.52

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

19:40.00

Ian Clifford

Like there’s a lot of emiss that come out of farming not only on the Fossil fuel side of things but but also on fertilizers you know, leaching into the water and into the air and so on um, that that farmers who really resonate again towards what we’re doing are very much focused on that as well. So they have a deep concern about the environment.

19:55.58

Lauren Conaway

Right.

19:59.95

Ian Clifford

And they want to you know facilitate change that doesn’t ruin their business so because when it comes right down to it. Yeah and farmers remind us of this. They’re businesses right? They’re business people. They’ve got to make a living. Um you can’t offer them something.

20:03.24

Lauren Conaway

Right.

20:11.79

Lauren Conaway

Right.

20:15.90

Ian Clifford

That will fix the environment but won’t be sustainable as a business. You know what I mean so so that’s a real important predator.

20:18.83

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and they and they happen to represent a business that is one of the cornerstones of our entire society. So it’s not as though it’s like expendable. Ah, right.

20:24.98

Ian Clifford

Exactly it would exactly no exactly farmers can’t fail like they just can’t right. It just can’t fail man.

20:35.24

Lauren Conaway

Know I love that. Well you know I got to break in here just for a moment and and you know speaking of businesses that kind of underpin technology at any rate today’s episode of startup hustle is sponsored by fullscale io and they can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. I will tell you that I have met countless full scale clients and every single one that I talk to one of the things that they talk about is the fact that it it is so convenient to work with full scale and as you know entrepreneurs you folks listening at home anything that can make our jobs easier. As we make our way into the world. Anybody that can help you take out the stress of building a tech product. You know we want to give major kudos to that. So thank you to to full scale for helping us out with startup hustle taking care of us but also creating mechanisms by which entrepreneurs can thrive. And that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about people thriving we are here with Ian Clifford of fuel positive and and we’re talking about. we’re talking about a lot of things really we’re talking about farming and sustainability and agriculture and.

21:31.40

Ian Clifford

Yeah.

21:45.30

Lauren Conaway

And footprint and in all of these really really interesting topics. So Ian I’m gonna pop right back into it and I’m gonna I’m gonna ask you I know that you have this I know I know that you have this information down but you know as someone who has long been watching.

21:50.32

Ian Clifford

Um, for him.

22:03.40

Lauren Conaway

You can call it many different fields Ecology sustainability. Um, you know conservation talk to us about talk to us about that like what is the current state of of our society. How are we we preparing? What are you seeing like trend-wise how are we preparing. To create a better world that is a huge question by the way I know that.

22:24.54

Ian Clifford

It’s a it’s a fascinating you know it’s a huge.. It’s a huge question and it’s a fascinating question because it it depends who you ask it depends. Obviously what sector you’re looking at right. So if you’re looking at sectors that have been the longtime polluters. Um, and the you know the worst proponents of of of the the reason where we are where we are today. Um, you’ll see um in many cases, you’ll sort of see lip service in terms of making you know making.

22:45.58

Lauren Conaway

Right.

22:54.47

Ian Clifford

Serious and meaningful change. So that’s one 1 issue that I think we have to be really cautious about when we when we really analyze where change real change is happening um and and distinguishing between that. It’s funny. You know we on our website we we quote greta.

23:04.10

Lauren Conaway

And.

23:13.34

Ian Clifford

Tun be who’s ah the young Swedish environmentalist and and you know she basically says that we have all the technology we need to do I’m paraphrasing to to fix things. We just have to do it so and and this has been a big big part of our mantra is saying.

23:21.63

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, right.

23:30.79

Ian Clifford

We know what the problems are we know what the technology is to fix things today like we don’t have to plan 102030 years in the future because we’ve been doing that for the last thirty years and it hasn’t happened so her point is that you got to implement things that.

23:34.87

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

23:42.23

Lauren Conaway

Right.

23:47.77

Ian Clifford

That work today that make a difference and and this again became kind of the cornerstone of what we’re doing and the importance of actually doing something where there is immediate result and it’s not You’re not. You know you’re not offsetting things. You’re actually making an immediate. Positive change to to environmental environmental improvement environmental imperative right? So so so that’s and that’s a really really important part of it so when I look at any technology out there or any plan that’s out there I’m really interested in in understanding.

24:06.28

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

24:24.29

Ian Clifford

How how immediate the the result is right? So there’s an immediacy when you replace a carbon fuel like a tractor um with a non-carbon fuel like and Hydrosammonia right? So there’s an ah immediate benefit. Um.

24:26.16

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

24:37.58

Lauren Conaway

Right.

24:42.25

Ian Clifford

And I know you got it’s you know, sort of 1 tractor at a time but it is there are you know millions and in the case of vehicles billions of vehicles on the road today and we’ve got to decarbonize that fleet and we’re not going to replace them with electric cars tomorrow. So what can we do as we step through the next decade to make.

24:53.44

Lauren Conaway

Prior.

25:01.64

Ian Clifford

Fundamental change. So those are the I think the the discussion around Immediacy is a really really important one and then we we need to support technologies and companies that are are facilitating immediate change.

25:09.00

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

25:17.73

Ian Clifford

Because we’ve got to stop the you know we got to slow down and stop this curve as quickly as we possibly can.

25:20.23

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and one of the things that we were talking about before we we hit the record button and I will always regret that because now that conversation is lost to the ether. Ah but 1 of the things that we were talking about is individualism. And the fact that you know you you have thus far I feel is that and correct me if I’m wrong, please. But thus far I feel as though we’ve been kind of leaning on the individual to enact small incremental change like go out and get that electric car.

25:50.93

Ian Clifford

Right.

25:52.68

Lauren Conaway

And go out you know, stop reduce reuse with recycle. You know you stay I don’t know keep your rainwater. You know any of those things we we hear a lot of that like what are the ways. But but when we ask our society to do that.

25:59.47

Ian Clifford

Are.

26:08.79

Lauren Conaway

We we ask an individual to in many cases make sacrifice and that’s a really difficult thing to do and we’ve we’ve seen that like even with the pandemic. You know there are many many people out there who are like hey you want me to wear a mask even though it’s not the most comfortable thing. Great I’m going to pop that mask on because it protects me.

26:11.28

Ian Clifford

Right.

26:27.20

Lauren Conaway

But it also protects the people around me but that that is that represents sacrifice and I think sometimes that it’s It’s really difficult to ask people to act against their own individual self-interest and so when we’re asking people to make these changes often. We’re asking them to sacrifice but you’ve created.

26:27.61

Ian Clifford

Sir.

26:38.66

Ian Clifford

For her.

26:45.79

Ian Clifford

Him.

26:46.46

Lauren Conaway

A win-win kind of situation. You know the planet wins your company wins the farmer wins because you’ve you’ve created a mechanism by which the farmers can improve their bottom line make their job easier but then also happen to benefit the environment which which benefits us all.

27:02.21

Ian Clifford

Right.

27:05.60

Lauren Conaway

And so I’m really interested like what are some other I guess companies or trends that you’ve you’ve heard of coming down the pipeline that we need to invest in because they represent this level of of significant change and fast change and change that isn’t.

27:18.53

Ian Clifford

Right.

27:24.56

Lauren Conaway

Disruptive to people who might fight against it does that does that make sense as a question. Yeah.

27:26.67

Ian Clifford

Ah, yeah, absolutely it makes sense and and it and it’s it’s a really good question. So I often point to the solar industry. So the the ah just the improvements to solar technology over the last couple of decades and the the. Reduction in costs and they increase in in efficiency and in positive increase in efficiency. Um is a great example because it’s sort of invisible to people and you’re right that it’s hard for people to to you know, think about their individual choices and so on when there is such. Big issues out there right? sure.

28:05.41

Lauren Conaway

And so sometimes it’s that you know people are resistant to change people are resistant to the unknown no matter the reason like individualism is the one that I just like picked up but there are any number of reasons that make it difficult to get buy in on some of these things.

28:18.62

Ian Clifford

Rights right? Yeah know you’re right? and it’s again, it’s a yeah and you know countries don’t can’t necessarily legislate people to change the way they do things but they can I mean intelligent governments can make. Um, Industries and sectors change the way that they do things and and I think that’s ah, absolutely critical I think that and and creating incentive to do that. You know so and you know use. Ah ah, use positive reinforcement as opposed to negative in the sense that.

28:37.61

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

28:48.57

Lauren Conaway

Right.

28:52.57

Ian Clifford

You know you you create financial incentives for change which ah which are extremely relevant and and and really really important. Um, but I go back to solar um, mainly because on the farm you know where real estate isn’t um isn’t typically an issue.

28:53.73

Lauren Conaway

Right.

29:09.32

Ian Clifford

Um, you could have large solar arrays that would power your farm system so you could actually run your farm off grid so you would have you know again, you could produce your own fertilizer your own fuel all of which would be powered by solar um by solar energy and that’s completely feasible.

29:15.51

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

29:28.41

Ian Clifford

And that takes it down to an individual interestingly it takes it down to an individual level because a farm is you know, an individual family’s business typically or it’s a corporate farm but it’s run by people right? So and these are people making really profound change right on the ground where they’re where they’re working.

29:38.61

Lauren Conaway

Right.

29:47.35

Ian Clifford

Um, so those kinds of changes are are very very significant and then we see things you know around around food and food supply and all of those things. So um, you know, then this comes down to you know plant-based proteins versus animal proteins. Um, you see a huge amount of movement now in in companies like Beyond you know Beyond meat and impossible foods and and there are a bunch of them who are basically creating meat animal replacements that are so efficient I mean forget about you know, forget about the ethics.

30:08.72

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

30:17.23

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

30:22.99

Ian Clifford

All you that look at look at the savings in terms of water and energy and and footprint. It’s profound and and quite frankly I mean we sort of have a joke you know in the company people you know, invite people over for a barbecue and you put a bunch of.

30:26.35

Lauren Conaway

Oh for sure.

30:38.56

Ian Clifford

Beyond Meat burgers on the grill and nobody knows that they’re eating a plant based burger. It’s just ah sure.

30:40.83

Lauren Conaway

So so I do I do have a quick question though you know you had mentioned in our in our pre pre prep that you lead a plant plant based Lifestyle have you tried the impossible burger. Yeah.

30:53.90

Ian Clifford

I have tried I’ve tried all of them and I’ve tried all of the plant-based cheeses like you know and we you know my partner and I we she and I we were you know we were big meat eaters and we were big cheese and dairy consumers and and.

31:06.21

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

31:11.90

Ian Clifford

And we you know we stopped a number of years ago for 2 reasons one I mean there was a there. There was sort of the ethical issue which is very very significant but but on top of that just a sustainability question just the the whole question around feeding the planet right is is a huge issue so when we see.

31:27.27

Lauren Conaway

You know.

31:30.53

Ian Clifford

When we now see companies and this kind of goes back to to to Greta’s comment the technology is all there to do this I mean you can shift over to you know plant-based milks and cheeses and I mean it’s you could go on and on I mean it’s it’s incredible. Um, you know and you you go into restaurants now and.

31:38.14

Lauren Conaway

Brian.

31:49.94

Ian Clifford

Many restaurants will have a full page of plant-based options like it’s ah it’s mind-boggling and this is like over the last couple of years so again it’s sort of the writing um is on the wall like gasoline writings on the wall. What we eat how we feed the world.

31:51.50

Lauren Conaway

Now.

32:01.55

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah, um.

32:06.25

Ian Clifford

Writings on the wall. It’s a question of how quickly things will change and what will help facilitate those changes I believe that strongly and you know and and for our company. Um, we want to help farmers succeed and we believe that into the future that will be a shift towards. Towards ah plant-based proteins because that’s what’s going to feed the world and and I think that’s a well on it’s becoming a much more Well Understoodd fact.

32:34.20

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well I am absolutely thrilled to hear that and thank you so much for such a such a comprehensive view. You know these these industries they’re they’re they’re new and and I so my my husband he lives in a.

32:47.29

Ian Clifford

Um, yeah.

32:52.32

Lauren Conaway

Ah, he’s from a somewhat rural area. Um, and it’s been interesting like when we drive home to visit his family. We’ve seen all of these wind turbines and like just all of these different mechanisms pop up in our ride and it’s like huh you know it’s it’s it’s penetrating.

33:06.82

Ian Clifford

Yep.

33:10.99

Lauren Conaway

Middle America because again the value proposition has become so strong that it’s it’s unavoidable as as a way of doing business in a way of making business more efficient in these agrarian areas and and so it’s been fascinating to see and I’m just I’m thrilled to see companies like yours you know clearly.

33:13.39

Ian Clifford

Um, yeah.

33:19.30

Ian Clifford

Yeah, absolutely.

33:30.76

Lauren Conaway

You know, based on our conversation and you have a very um pure reason behind what you do and so to see to see that I I don’t know exist within the paradigm of profit. Is absolutely fantastic like I social impact organizations enterprises always thrill me. So Just thank you for the work that you do.

33:52.48

Ian Clifford

Oh no, you’re so welcome and and yeah and they and again you can you can have you can create a very profitable business that can facilitate meaningful change. They’re not mutually exclusive like it’s not. There’s a there’s a real ability to.

34:02.15

Lauren Conaway

Data.

34:09.38

Ian Clifford

Um, to meet both of those objectives without any without question. Yeah, exactly. Well we have to have all 3 yeah and we have to take care of people right? I mean that’s the most important part of this. We’re taking care of the planet in order to take care of the planet. You got to take care of the people on it and.

34:10.50

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, it doesn’t it doesn’t necessarily have to be people and purpose over profit when you can have all 3 Ah yeah yeah.

34:26.46

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well I’m going to ask you I’m going to ask you to talk to the people for a minute One of the things that I like to do on my episodes of startup hustle is I like to ask our guests. You know, not everybody can go out and start a.

34:29.20

Ian Clifford

And we believe that firmly. Um, I mean.

34:43.90

Lauren Conaway

You know, social enterprise not everybody’s going to go out and try to solve the problem of you know fossil fuels and and carbon and you know not everybody is going to do that and so I’m going to ask you? What can our listeners do in in their day to day to support what you’re doing. And to create a more sustainable whether it’s a sustainable business model or world. You know what are some tactical things that they could do today to to help.

35:13.29

Ian Clifford

Well as well as entrepreneurs. It’s the you you’re by definition making choices every single day. It’s about moving it’s about it’s about alignment. It’s about who you associate with and so on i. Strongly recommend and I’ve I’ve learned this you know over the last couple of decades. Um, there’s 2 pieces to it 1 is who do you work with within your own own organization. So do you have a set of values. Do you have a mission statement that.

35:42.90

Lauren Conaway

Now.

35:50.60

Ian Clifford

Resonates with everybody you work with you have to be so selective in terms of who you choose to work with but also from the individual looking for the job you should be looking for a fit where where your values are represented as well and then you can create an amazing team of people. Um, so that’s sort of at the at the company level the internal level there. Um, but then the company has to choose who they do business with as well, right? So if you’re if you’re working with you know companies that are enlightened that clearly understand environmental imperative that really care about. Um, the the you know that not only the social. Um, ah that not just their social footprint but also their environmental footprint that truly are embracing a sustainability model throughout their enterprise and so on if. Companies like that continue to join forces. Um, it’ll be unstoppable I mean that’s what I’m seeing at least is you know as the imperatives become more and more clear. Um, the choice of who you work with becomes more and more important because you can get things done.

36:48.91

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

37:01.63

Ian Clifford

If you choose the but wrong partners they can they can slow you down. They can you know they can ruin a great initiative. So the choice of partnership is is a huge huge piece of the puzzle.

37:09.51

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and and it’s a fair, It’s one of those things that you know feels kind of intuitive. But yeah, you know healthy reminder like you as as the the founder and the entrepreneur you have the power to choose who you do business with.

37:26.70

Ian Clifford

Exactly Well exactly And yeah and and or and I can’t I can’t stress that enough because a lot of entrepreneurs will be driven just by profit and by.

37:28.94

Lauren Conaway

So the the ask is that you choose rightly and you do your research and you make sure that you’re working with organizations that are vision and mission aligned with what you’re doing.

37:45.37

Ian Clifford

Um, margin and that sort of thing but but it it has to go much deeper and especially now in the environmental you know imperative that we live in on as a planet. We’ve got to make those but we’ve got to make those choices for you know first and foremost or yeah or or.

37:53.10

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

37:59.17

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, for sure.

38:03.63

Ian Clifford

You know we can we. It’s easy to get off track and it’s easy to get bogged down and or or worse.

38:07.13

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and I and I I you know bless you for sharing all of that that is is awesome advice and I invite any of the folks playing along at home to you know, take a really good critical look and make sure that you’re you’re existing in a sustainable way and space I’m going to ask you. You Ian I’m really curious. You know we’ve talked a lot about the the kind of that ecosystem that that we’ve referenced and we’ve talked about the farmers but now I want to talk about you and I want to ask you know what do you see coming down the pipeline for fuel positive over the course of the next I don’t know let’s say 5 years

38:27.24

Ian Clifford

Blue.

38:46.72

Lauren Conaway

Like where where do you see the company growing to.

38:49.12

Ian Clifford

Ah, well we have ah initially we have a really strong canadian focus. Um, our technology is developed in Canada we’re building um our manufacturing capacity in Canada to start with and we’re demonstrating our technology across Canada.

38:54.17

Lauren Conaway

And.

39:08.51

Ian Clifford

So I think the next couple of years will be real growth in Canada um, but as I said earlier, we’re getting inquiry from from farmers and other organizations around the world. So I don’t think it’ll be long before we have an international growth. Plan. Ah you know, established and announced. So um, so we will be exporting this technology and our and our and our systems around the world. We’re building them. They’re all containerized as I said earlier so that.

39:30.56

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

39:44.59

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

39:44.98

Ian Clifford

They’re easy to move around which is really important so we can build them here. We can deliver them anywhere in the world depending again on supply chain. So it’s very possible that we would also set up some international manufacturing of what we’re doing as well. So we could grow.

39:58.45

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

40:04.31

Ian Clifford

Um, very large, very very quickly and you know part of our hiring process is to make sure we’ve got the best people. Um, who can manage that level of growth we expect things will will happen extremely fast as I said just given the level of interest and the and the imperative.

40:21.13

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

40:23.32

Ian Clifford

So the other thing that’s really great is we’re getting a lot of government interest. Um and and support so both. Yeah so I mean yeah, farming and food are you know, sort of foundational to any any country and um.

40:29.89

Lauren Conaway

I Should certainly hope so.

40:38.71

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

40:42.40

Ian Clifford

And and seeing in Canada right now federally and provincially a real focus on on technology on emissions control and a reduction on productivity is is really great to see so we we believe that will get a lot of support and and that’s not.

40:56.44

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, so.

41:01.94

Ian Clifford

Just going to be limited to Canada that’ll be that’ll be around the world. We believe as well. So.

41:04.79

Lauren Conaway

Well I for one am super excited to see fuel positive here in the states not that you should let that influence your rollout strategy but you know just say let’s say it.

41:11.50

Ian Clifford

Yeah, oh no, no, it’s yeah no, when where you are you know in the Midwest I mean the the you know the demand is is huge. Yeah of course yeah, it’s sunsion.

41:21.36

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, we do we we love our farmers here in the midwest ah, all right? Well Ian I have to ask you and actually I have no idea what I’m about to ask. It’s just going to fly out of my mouth as I talk. Because I’ve been so fascinated by the conversation I have not formulated anything yet. But I I am going to ask you the human question and I am going to ask you if you could have an unlimited amount of money to spend on 1 luxury thing. Because I feel like servant like servant leaders who are like all about impact and like socially conscious issues like sometimes we forget about ourselves and so I’m going to ask you you have an unlimited amount of money to spend on 1 purely luxury purely for you item.

42:04.23

Ian Clifford

And her.

42:15.27

Lauren Conaway

What is it.

42:15.35

Ian Clifford

Um I would buy up as much Farmland as possible and I would convert it over to permaculture as a way of restoring environmental balance. Um, and that.

42:31.49

Lauren Conaway

And that is not that is not that a social good. What are you doing.

42:34.55

Ian Clifford

Yeah I don’t know I don’t you know it’s funny because I don’t There’s I don’t sort of sit here wanting for anything. It’s like it’s a little weird I It’s I Maybe it’s just because I’m Canadian I don’t know what it is but I don’t I don’t have. When you asked me if I had all the money in the world to buy something I wouldn’t buy anything I would do something with it. It’s It’s just ah and maybe that’s the answer. Absolutely no and in no in a hardbe. Yeah yeah.

42:56.10

Lauren Conaway

All right? Well so does that does that make your heart feel good like is that the selfish piece of it I mean I’ll I’ll allow it I’m not super psyched about it.

43:09.44

Ian Clifford

I Don’t know I don’t know that would probably it would have something to do with sailing in the wind and the water. Okay, there you go fair. Let’s let’s let’s go with that hats. That’s okay.

43:11.42

Lauren Conaway

No I’m also not surprised there. You go get yourself a night. A really nice like sailboat or something man all right? all right? But I love that you’re in. And Ste was like well I’m going to do something to take care of the world. But that doesn’t count all right? Well i.

43:30.10

Ian Clifford

Yeah, audit it Absolutely I will stick to sailing that. That’s fair because there’s no gas there. No fossil fuel and you’re just relying on the wind. They know it’s both.

43:39.10

Lauren Conaway

Ah, well I love that and thank you for sharing that little piece of yeah yourself and thank you for for taking the time to to chat with us here on the show. This has been great.

43:49.26

Ian Clifford

That was a pleasure anytime I mean these kinds of conversations are great and and I would love to have a similar conversation and invite one of our farmers on as well I think it would be so cool just to you know to go down that path because it’s one.

43:58.34

Lauren Conaway

Oh man that would be so cool.

44:05.65

Ian Clifford

For me, it’s always it’s 1 thing a company talking about something but it’s always so much more important you know the end user and the experience and that sort of thing. Yeah, exactly well yeah, agreed.

44:06.95

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah, you need to hear who you’ve touched whose life you impacted for sure I know I love that idea. Also, you know who else we love around startup hustle we love Today’s sponsor once again, today’s episode of startup hustle was sponsored by full scale. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably you also want to mention some of you may not know this many of you probably do but find us on Facebook startup hustle. We actually have a chat group where you can talk to the hosts. We can continue conversations that we had on different episodes. super super cool. I’m your host Lauren Conaway and I love spending this time with you week after week and we really appreciate that you take the time out of your busy schedules to listen to startup hustle. Thanks for listening and we will catch you on the flip side.

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