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Astanor Ventures hires former Danone CEO as partner

Emmanuel Faber has been hired alongside US-based consultant and food producer David Barber to add to the impact investment firm’s sustainability knowledge base.

Astanor Ventures has hired two experienced food industry executives as partners as the European firm seeks to bolster its sustainability knowledge base.

The impact investor has added former Danone chair and chief executive Emmanuel Faber, as well as David Barber, co-owner of Massachusetts-based company Blue Hill, which operates a working farm, restaurant and consulting company dedicated to improving the food system.

Emmanuel Faber
Emmanuel Faber

Faber was removed by the board of Danone in March following shareholder calls to replace him after the company lost ground to some of its competitors in the dairy sector.

He joins Astanor with a reputation of pursing sustainable business practices and he is credited with making Danone one of the few listed companies globally to report financial earnings on a scope-3 CO2-adjusted basis. This means the company reports emissions from its value chain as well those emitted directly by the business.

Faber is also the founder and chair of the One Planet Business for Biodiversity coalition, which is a community of organizations and individuals committed to transforming how food is produced and consumed.

“Within the incredibly buoyant agtech and foodtech space, where I met and worked with dozens of entrepreneurs and investors over the last years, I have picked Astanor as the most entrepreneurial, impact-driven team, with already a fantastic track record of transformational start-ups that they support,” Faber said in a statement.

“We are now partnering to unequivocally focus on our single biggest collective opportunity to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 in a just transition: planetary diets for all, relying on a biodiverse, regenerative agriculture.”

Belgium-based Astanor Ventures closed its debut impact food fund on $325 million in November 2020, as it took all of its commitments from European institutional investors and family offices.

Barber is a founding partner at the non-profit organization Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which advances community and ecologically-based food production. He is also an early-stage investor in Almanac Insights, which is an alternative loan and grant vehicle that helps companies make changes to how food is produced and consumed.

“Astanor has demonstrated the importance of backing visionary entrepreneurs and scaling growth in line with measurable impact creation,” Barber said in a statement. “It is a privilege to join their effort to leverage modern technologies to facilitate a food system that nourishes our nature, our environment and our future.”

Astanor Ventures cofounder and partner Eric Archambeau added: “Astanor was founded on the principle that impact-driven business is the key to a more resilient, sustainable economy.

“This conviction has been a driving force in both Barber and Faber’s careers for decades, a commitment I have witnessed first-hand throughout our numerous collaborations. Their expertise, leadership and dedication to our common mission make them ideal partners for both Astanor and our investee companies.”