ProVeg International is a food awareness organization with the mission to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by the year 2040. It supports and connects startups and global partners in advancing plant-based and cultured-food innovation. It also influences and supports businesses, and works with governmental organizations and NGOs to create plant-forward policies and practices, as well as promoting public education on the subject.
ProVeg had collected extensive and wide-ranging data on the impact of its work, but the data wasn’t easily accessible to all staff or to the organization’s partners and supporters. They found out about Tech to the Rescue and were quickly matched with Silevis, a software development agency based in Poland. We spoke to Fabio Venturini, Head of Digital and Brands, and Daniel Braune, Head of Research at ProVeg, to find out more about how the project came about and the impact that it’s had on the organization.
Could you tell us a bit more about ProVeg’s work?
Fabio: Sure. As you know, our ultimate goal is to reduce the global consumption of animals across the world. We largely focus on five key reasons to be Pro Veg. These are: Pro Taste (promoting the idea that a plant-based diet can be delicious and satisfying), Pro Health (showing that such a diet has numerous health benefits), Pro Justice (creating a fairer world as our global population grows), Pro Animals (minimizing the amount of animals who live in poor conditions), Pro Environment (working towards combating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and using resources more sustainably). One of our major initiatives is the ProVeg Veggie Challenge which encourages people to go meat-free for 30 days, and potentially for longer periods thereafter.
We’re a growing organization, and now have more than 170 members of staff globally, alongside many active volunteers. We operate in the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Czechia, Spain, and Asia, and we’re constantly growing.
What was the data challenge that you were faced with?
Daniel: We pride ourselves on being an impact-driven organization that really values data and uses it to show how each initiative and intervention is supporting our cause. We have a lot of data on what switching to a plant-based diet means in terms of the animals that are saved, and the impact on the environment. Eating patterns and even the production of animal-based products around the world can vary substantially, which means that it’s often difficult to make direct comparisons between different parts of the world or to use the same data obtained from one country for other countries or regions.
Our biggest challenge was the fact that the data was not in a user-friendly format, which meant that even within ProVeg, only the research team could fully understand it. Our goal was to make it much more widely accessible, both internally and outside of our organization.
How did you find out about Tech To The Rescue?
Fabio: The Head of our Spanish office told us about Tech to the Rescue and forwarded us an email from you. I got in touch directly and was really impressed with the speed of Jacek’s (one of Tech to the Rescue’s Founders) response. Within the space of literally a few days, we were matched with Silevis and, shortly after, had our first introductory call with them.
Tell us about what happened next, how did you work with Silevis?
Daniel: For a start, the speed at which we were matched really encouraged me to get our internal data in good order. I shared this with the team at Silevis and we brainstormed the idea of a user-friendly calculator that would automatically show the impact of swapping out meat-based meals or animal-based ingredients for plant-based ones.
Fabio: You could tell from the outset that Silevis had a real interest in our mission and vision. They were also very professional and I always felt that we were being treated exactly the same as their fully-paying clients. We had our own dedicated project manager, developer, and designer. There were regular meetings in which they set goals to which they wanted to commit. They always met these! The service was really top of the shelf.
Daniel: We had to adapt our existing data formats to suit the requirements of the calculator, but this was a really valuable exercise as it enabled us to focus on what was really important. Unfortunately, we have also decided to remove the data on the environmental impact for the time being, as this was patchy, and missing for several regions of the world. It’s something that we are currently working on to include in our dataset so it might be possible to extend the calculator at a later time.
Brilliant. And what are your plans for the future use of this calculator? What kind of impact do you think it might have on ProVeg’s work?
Fabio: The calculator’s uses will be wide ranging. We’re thinking of developing different versions of it to be used for different purposes. It will definitely be featured in our upcoming corporate-engagement website and will be shared with partners. We will also use it as an add-on for different campaigns that we’re working on with prospective partners in order to drive engagement. We think that it will be instrumental in helping us to improve our reach and to prove the impact of all the work that we’re doing.
What were you most impressed with during the process of working with Tech to the Rescue and Silevis?
Fabio: Many things, but particularly how professionally the whole project was handled. It was also clear from the outset that there was a real passion for our cause. Tech to the Rescue organized this for us without expecting anything in return, which is true social responsibility.
Daniel: I was also very impressed with the speed at which the project came to life. It mobilized us into action, making sure that we had our data in order! Thank you for helping us make it happen. We’re excited to share the impact of the calculator further down the line.
Thank you both.