The seed of an idea
SproutWorld’s journey began in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2013, when a group of robotics students at MIT came up with the concept of a plantable pencil, featuring a seed capsule that could be planted once the pencil was used up. When SproutWorld founder Michael Stausholm saw the pencil on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, he immediately loved its simplicity and sustainable innovation, saw its commercial potential, and bought the patent and global rights to the pencil.
A symbol of change
SproutWorld's mission is to inspire a more sustainable mindset both among companies and individual consumers. Our plantable products are an easy way to illustrate what sustainability means, a counterweight to our throwaway culture, and a symbol of possibility. It takes small steps to reach a goal, and if enough of us take action, it will make a difference. After all, if you can give a pencil a new purpose and a second life, just imagine what else we can do.
A blossoming business
Since 2013, SproutWorld has sold more than 50 million plantable pencils in over 80 countries. Our headquarters are in Copenhagen, Denmark and we also have an expanding US operation based in Boston, Massachusetts. Today, you can choose from a range of different seed types from forget-me-nots and basil to cherry tomato, and even spruce trees. We have special edition packs, graphite and color pencils, different packaging options, and accessories.
In 2021, we launched a plantable makeup liner range, with eyeliner and browliner options, in collaboration with a leading European beauty firm. Made using a vegan formula and ethically sourced materials, our makeup is AllergyCertified, and developed without microplastics. Just like our pencils, they produce minimum waste after use and have a second life.
Around 85% of our customers are business companies and organizations, including IKEA, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Marriott, Disney and Porsche. The ability to customize our pencils with a logo and text make them a popular choice for promotional merchandise. SproutWorld products are also popular with individual consumers and are now sold on our own webshop, and on Amazon for the US and Canada, UK, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.
Growing the future
Eight years after we started, we realized our goal of making our pencils carbon neutral. We’ve become a certified B Corporation, and we’ve purchased degraded land in Poland, where we’ll plant trees, shrubs and plants that will add both oxygen and biodiversity back to the area. We have now set our sights on our next goal – for our brand to be carbon neutral and to have minimal waste packaging by 2024. It’s ambitious but we believe we can get there. There will be small incremental steps and big leaps into the unknown, but we are committed to keep on trying. After all, there is no Planet B.