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Sustainable Views

Sustainable Views: From football stardom to green investing

Season 2, Ep. 2

Working in sustainability is almost by definition a “career change”, given the recent nature of this area. As far as career moves go, however, few may feel as far apart as those of elite football and niche science.

French international footballer Mathieu Flamini has done just that, co-founding GF Biochemicals at the end of his playing days. Football aficionados will remember Flamini’s time with the French national team, England’s Arsenal and Italy’s AC Milan.

These days, his focus is on developing a version of levulinic acid, a plant-based alternative to the oil-based chemicals used in paints, cosmetics and other products, that can be mass-produced from agricultural waste. 

Flamini believes this could transform industries and cut carbon emissions; investors seem to agree with him. GF Biochemicals has secured €15mn of funding for this development, and has already a couple of hundred patents for plant-based substances.

In an interview at the Financial Times studio in London on October 2, Flamini talks to Alex Janiaud about the need to channel capital into the climate transition, his work with the French government, and ESG regulation. He also shares his views on the UK government's watering down of climate targets.


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