Footballer Chris Smalling has announced a new off-the-pitch venture.
The athlete, who currently plays for Italian side Roma, has launched ForGood, his own sustainability-focused venture capital fund. The new fund aims to invest between £50,000 and £1 million in companies that are tackling environmental issues.
Smalling, a vegan, has already invested in plant-based brands that are trying to transition the food industry away from meat.
Animal agriculture is detrimental to the planet. It emits 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gasses and uses significant amounts of natural resources. Plus, it’s a key driver of deforestation.
Plant-based brands, on the other hand, are often better for the environment. Smalling has invested in Heura, a Spanish alternative protein brand, and THIS, which is known for its “hyper-realistic” meat alternatives.
‘I want to be making a difference off the pitch’
Smalling isn’t alone. A number of celebrities have invested in vegan brands, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman, and Tom Felton. But the footballer believes there’s always room for more and is hoping he can encourage high-profile figures to team up with him on ForGood, he told The Times.
He added that his son, who was born in 2019, is a key inspiration for him when it comes to backing sustainable brands.
The athlete said: “I do want to be known as someone who’s had a good career on the pitch, of course, but equally, and especially now that I’ve had Leo, my son, I want to be making as big a difference off the pitch as on it.”
He added that it’s “quite nice” to “switch off” from football and focus on ForGood.
To launch the new fund, Smalling has partnered with purpose-driven investors Rebecca Wheeler and Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni. Castiglioni is an entrepreneur, investor, and chairman of the special purpose acquisition company Natural Order Acquisition.