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Pure Harvest Smart Farms Chief Sustainability Officer Josef Schmidhuber: 6 Things to Know

November 10, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a sustainable agriculture startup based in the Middle East, has hired Dr Josef Schmidhuber as chief sustainability officer (CSO).

Josef Schmidhube, chief sustainability officer, Pure Harvest Smart Farms

Here are six things to know about Schmidhuber's experience and the Pure Harvest sustainability strategy.

1. Business Focus: Pure Harvest, founded in 2016, is based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company focuses on sustainable year-round production of premium-quality fresh fruits & vegetables. 

2. Funding and Investors: The company raised $180.5 million in June 2022. Total funding through that point -- spanning equity, debt and other finance -- was $387 million. Key investors include Metric Capital Partners, IMM Investment Corp and Olayan Group, among others.

The company built a semi-automated, high-tech hybrid growing system, and then applied horticultural best practices, to tackle challenges such as food security, water conservation, economic diversification, and sustainability demands. 

Pure Harvest began production back in 2018 with tomatoes, but has since expanded its produce to include capsicums, melons, raspberries, blackberries, more than 26 varieties of tomatoes, over 14 kinds of greens, and nine varieties of strawberries. Those outcomes occurred in "one of the harshest climates on earth," the company noted.

3. Pure Harvest's Sustainability Strategy: We have not seen any Scope 1, Scope 2 or Scope 3 deadlines or targets from the company. We've reached out to Pure Harvest to see if they company has set net-zero deadlines.

4. Josef Schmidhuber's Experience: Schmidhuber has held key posts at OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development); FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization); IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.); World Bank; and European Investment Bank.

5. Key Partnerships: Pure Harvest works with several technology partners. Key examples include Honeywell, Richel Group, and Ericsson for IoT technology.

6. Executive Perspectives: In a prepared statement, Pure Harvest CEO and Founder Sky Kurtz praised the hiring of three key executives -- Schmidhuber, Chief Operating Officer Adrian Almeida, and CFO Andrew Bolter.

Sky Kurtz, CEO, Pure Harvest Smart Farms
Sky Kurtz, CEO, Pure Harvest Smart Farms

Describing the hires, Kurtz said: “I am so pleased to welcome Adrian, Josef and Andrew to our mission here at Pure Harvest. It is a fantastic vote of confidence in both the company we have built, and the wider AgriTech sector in the MENA region to attract talent of such caliber to one of the harshest environments on earth - in many ways, the ultimate proving ground and place of greatest need for our technology. All three appointments have extensive senior management experience leading large, complex organizations, and bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to our businesses. Their experience in growing and scaling up businesses will be invaluable to Pure Harvest as we embark on the next phase of our growth journey - bringing our mission to provide year-round, safe and sustainable production of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables to even more markets and consumers around the world.”

Pure Harvest Chief Sustainability Officer: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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