Norwich eco-entrepreneurs set to take on Amazon 🛒

Welcome to our Wednesday round up!

Norwich eco-entrepreneurs set to take on Amazon 🛒
Canopey Team (left to right): Hugo Douglas-Deane, Abrar Rauf and Thomas Panton

Greetings from The Seeker!

It's Shaun here with another Wednesday briefing.

Firstly we have had a fantastic response to our survey last week - it's great to hear how much you value what we're trying to do to promote sustainable independent journalism in Norwich. If you haven't done so yet and would like to have your say on shaping our future then click here.

📰 Today's Edition

  • Buying better
  • Police funding plea
  • Bakery's fresh start
  • Home help
  • Waste amnesty
  • Walking weekend
Could you edit The Seeker? I've had a blast in the editorial hot seat but I've got to step back for personal reasons (though I'm planning to stay involved with some writing). That means there is a great opportunity for a journalist/editor to have a go! We're looking for someone to work two days a week on a freelance basis for a minimum of three months (from October to December). The pay is equivalent to £45,000 p.a. Interested? Questions? Get in touch by emailing

Right let's get going!

Better buying

A Norwich-based business is hoping to take on the likes of Amazon by helping eco-conscious shoppers buy better online.

Canopey is the brainchild of former UEA graduates Thomas Panton, Hugo Douglas-Deane, and business partner Abrar Rauf.

The three have built an e-commerce platform to help the growing numbers of shoppers looking for a trustworthy place to buy sustainable products.

Fact checks

Shoppers can buy goods on the platform and also use its 'community impact calculator' to check their eco-credentials and environmental savings for things such as carbon emissions, water and plastic.

Thomas, who previously worked for Greenpeace, said: “We want sustainable shopping to be accessible for all. It’s a canopy for everyone to come under – we are not just targeting the eco-activists but the mainstream audience too.”

After months in development the site is set for an official launch at the Fountain offices in Norwich on September 22. A 'guerilla' marketing campaign challenging the eco-claims of other retailers is also planned.

Abrar Rauf and Thomas Panton outside an H&M store. Photo: Submitted.

Shopping solution

Hugo said consumer industries such as retail and fashion needed to wake up to the climate problem and provide genuine solutions for sustainable shopping.

“We need an accessible solution for every day people,” he said. “We are starting to see big pledges from the likes of Amazon and H&M, but they are just green-washing and using this issue as a sales tactic.

“We wanted to help people start their journey," he added. "You don’t have to be perfect. It’s really important just to try and make small changes rather than worrying about it not being good enough."

The founders initially funded the business themselves before a crowdfunder saw 340 people put money in. A further investment round is also planned.

Thomas said that Canopey will only list products passing its own vigorous vetting processes.

“That way a consumer knows that it’s been checked rather than taking the word of the brand,"  he said. "The aim for us is to become the household name for sustainable shopping.

"The problem with the climate movement is you are trying get people to sacrifice their convenience for the intangible. We are trying to take the conversation back to what people understand.

"We are the only platform that brings the journey into one place."

Sync the city is back! Are you ready to build and launch your own start-up with a chance to win £4000 too? Then head to the King's Centre for this year's event which runs from November 23 to 25. Tickets are on sale from Monday.

Missing millions

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner has a problem - even if he puts up the force's share of council tax by the maximum £10 he's allowed to next year, he still needs to find £3.9 million to fund all the policing services needed.

So Giles Orpen-Smellie wants your help and over the course of the next 12 weeks he'll be holding an "open and frank" conversation to get your views on how to fund the force.

“I would specifically like to hear which areas of policing and services you think should be priorities in my spending plans, and if you are prepared to pay more to ensure these are protected in the future," he said.

Fresh start

Helen Adshead, owner of Weddell & Turner. Photo: Submitted

Luxury gluten-free and diary-free bakery and cake maker Weddell & Turner is the latest business to move into the Broadland Food Innovation Centre on the Food Enterprise Park.

Owner Helen Adshead, who founded the firm in 2015, said the new location gives the team the space to test out new products and ideas in greater volume.

Other tenants at the £11.4m hub, to the west of the city, include Farmyard Frozen, Prep King, Old Rectory Preserves and Norfolk Spirits Company.

New business

Scottish-based Clarus Networks Group has chosen Norwich as the home for its new Maritime and Energy Business.

The wireless network specialists said the new team will be based at St Vedast House near Prince of Wales Road. This area's maritime and energy expertise and access to skilled staff were behind the decision to locate in the city.

Home help

A free scheme is aiming to help victims of abuse remain in their own homes while feeling more secure and safe to do so.

The Sanctuary Scheme was launched jointly by Broadland District and South Norfolk Councils and is part of a new Norfolk-wide project aimed at helping survivors remain in their home, close to their support networks of friends, family, school and work.

It can also pay for the installation of extra home security, too.

Kim Carsok, cabinet member for healthy and active lifestyles at South Norfolk Council, said: “A home should be a sanctuary, somewhere people feel safe and secure. This new scheme means that survivors can continue to live at home and be close to their support networks, while the extra security provides reassurance."

Call 0808 178 4702 to speak to the councils' Help Hub.

Waste Not

It's that time of year again when you might be thinking of how to get rid of the paint, anti-freeze, fertilisers and lawn treatments (among other things) the council won't normally let you take to the tip.

Norfolk County Council's annual Hazardous Waste Days amnesty starts in Norwich this weekend. See the dates below or find out what's included here.

Stretch your legs

Looking for something different to do? How about a walking festival?

The 10-day North Norfolk Walking festival starts on Friday and includes walks around Sheringham, Holt, Felbrigg Hall, Holkham, North Walsham and Hunworth. Each range between 2- 10 miles and average four miles. Find out more here.

Thank you for supporting The Seeker - see you again on Saturday!