All Green Podcast- Ep. 1: Introduction & Q&A With Eco Four Twenty Founder, Michael
Below is a transcript from episode one of the All Green Podcast. Hosted by Eco Four Twenty members, Michael and Andrea, the episode discusses some interesting innovations in the cattle feed industry, plant-based meat alternatives, as well as a short interview with company Founder and CEO, Michael.
Ep. 1: Introduction & Q&A With Eco Four Twenty Founder, Michael.
Michael: Alright, alright it's the All Green Podcast with Michael Ghazal from Eco Four Twenty. I am the Founder and CEO and-
Andrea: Hi! My name is Andrea and I'm the Head of Marketing and Operations here at Eco Four Twenty.
Michael: We are coming from the Eco Four Twenty offices, y'know, and we're very excited because this is one of our first podcasts that we're doing for 2021. Y'know, as technology is always here for us it's really exciting to be able to share our speeches and our feedback with the world and we're very excited about, honestly just talking about current news and sharing, just green industries and green feedback around the world. So, that's what we're here for and yeah, what do you think Andrea?
Andrea: We're excited to take this podcast to new heights. You know it's going to be about all things GREEN, we're definitely going to talk a lot about international, cool eco-friendly initiatives, and showcase a lot of the awesome things that people are doing in business and around the world and stuff like that. So it's gonna be awesome, we're looking forward to it.
Michael: I feel like there's not a lot of, just, podcasts out there that are talking about cool, eco-friendly things. We see a lot of random ones on blogs that, you know just at work I'm always sharing back and forth, and I know that's what led us to wanting to do this podcast is just being able to share these cool new technological advances with the world out there, so.
Andrea: Do you have any cool ones, do you want to share?
Michael: Yeah, yeah! We got these two ready, I'm very excited because like, so this is actually- it's about Australian cattle feed. But, I don't know if everybody knows this but like, methane gas comes majority from cows! Like, cow farts is actually causing a lot of issues with the environment and, it's actually making a hole in the O-Zone layer, and who would've thought that that could be an issue. But people love meat so much, like, meat issues are not going to go away and I think it's really interesting that there are scientists and people out there who are like, pushing that towards it. So, what these guys did is like, first off they found that methane is way more destructive than CO2, which is just like, has the global warming effect here and is 86 times worse according to a University of B.C., study, which I think is crazy.
Andrea: That's crazy, it really puts it into perspective.
Michael: It's just showing that livestock actually and meat product, actually contributes to 30% of these greenhouse gases. So if they're able to prevent that and even lower that in anyway, like, that's a cool eco-friendly initiative, I think. So, what these actual scientists did is they basically found that they could make this additive for the cattle feed that will just reduce their own emissions. And they would just add a very very small percent, it's like, 0.2% to their diet will reduce virtually 99.9% of their methane gas output. Like, it reduces their farts to zero basically.
So I just think, like, that's so cool for the environment and beneficial and who would've thought? Who would've thought reducing cow farts could be like, a really cool, eco-friendly initiative?
Andrea: I think it's cool because, you know, you think about methane gas, everything else, all these other emitters, come from sources. We're mining for coal, we're doing oil, like bio-fuel and stuff, that's where the rest of the methane comes from so if we can at least control some level of production of that, I feel like that's doing some part to, kind've alleviate our burden on the environment. It's very innovative, I love it.
Michael: And people aren't going to be reducing meat consumption that much. I mean, if anything, it's just gone up, the consumption of meat for sure. It does bring us to the second topic which I think is really interesting, and similar to methane gas is just talking about plant-based meat and just artificial meat alternatives. What do you think about about this, Andrea? What are your current thoughts on this?
Andrea: I mean, personally I've been a vegetarian for, I think, about 7 years now. For me it was just for ethical purposes, like nothing inherent I had to avoid. It was just something that I realized if I could cut back meat I just feel like I'm doing better for myself and the environment. I know that there is a lot of unethical treatment of animals in the industry and I also realize that people aren't going to stop eating meat. So, I think, coming up with an alternative, where, you talk about Beyond Meat and they say how even the goal for them is to make a lower price per pound than real meat, it's sort've supposed to taste better or even similar to what people are used to. I think even if we could grab an entire audience of people who are used to eating burgers- rare burgers, seasoned, and all that stuff you can turn them on to an alternative does a big part for the environment, for sure.
Michael: Have you personally had any of these Beyond Meat burgers? I know they just went public like a year or two ago, it's so recent so it's very cool that they're going forward.
Andrea: For sure, I've definitely seen them. I haven't seen them as much in grocery stores but I have seen them in fast food places like A&W I know they had a partnership with, as well as Tim Hortons, which was pretty cool, they did a breakfast sandwich.
Michael: Yeah! I didn't do the Tim Hortons' one.
Andrea: It was so good, I think it was my favourite one. But the A&W one was the first one I saw and that one just blew my mind. It was the first time I've had a burger that took me back to 6 years ago, like "Wow, I remember what it tastes like" kind've.
Michael: Interesting! So is the Tim Hortons' one breakfast only? It was more of a breakfast special.
Andrea: It was a partnership, so they have a breakfast sausage I believe. It was in collaboration with the, you know how they have the "egg n' sausage" and "bacon n' sausage"? So it's like, "Beyond Meat, egg, n' cheese", breakfast sandwich or whatever.
Michael: I didn't know that.
Andrea: It was just as reasonably priced as the other ones which was really nice for me, cause I feel like you would expect for it to be a bit more.
Michael: Even traditionally, like 5-6 years ago, any of those plant-based alternatives were so much more expensive.
Andrea: Mhmm, and I feel like Beyond Meat is doing a huge service to the environment. They're using 99% less water and 46% less land to produce these meat alternatives and the main ingredient in these burgers is just pea protein. These are very small sprouts, and they have a lot of protein to the point where- you know when you're growing a plant and the root is almost red. It's very young and it has a lot of protein in it because it's still growing. So they're taking that, they're extracting a lot of other proteins from coconut oil to simulate the fat in meat and stuff like that, so it's very innovative.
Michael: That's so scientific, to make it- ALL that so that when you bite into it, it just tastes like real meat.
Andrea: You want it to sizzle on the barbecue, it's very innovative, it's very impressive and it's something, I'm personally happy as a vegetarian to see these new alternatives because I'm just used to veggie patties or rice and broccoli and carrots and stuff, so to have something that actually simulates it.
Michael: I've even seen at the grocery store they have like, riced cauliflower- there's all these artificial, vegetable alternatives to the meat versions. I think it was supposed to simulate ground beef, but it was just cauliflower. It's very interesting, like would you grill it them same way? I do love that idea and one of the reasons we brought it up, it said Beyond Meat partnered with McDonald's and Yum Brands, which is KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut!
Andrea: That's amazing!
Michael: It's really cool to see these big corporations that we would traditionally attack and say, McDonald's itself, how many cows have they killed? Millions! I have no idea, like untold amounts but the fact that they're able to make these positive changes now should be commended. If they're not going to do it, the government is not going to be making these kinds of forward steps and I think it's so nice that these corporations are taking the good positive steps. I mean, theres definitely financial reward but, there's definitely that economic and environmental reward for doing that so.
Andrea: And I feel like, even from a social component, it would be interesting to see now that these "golden fast food restaurants" that we know and love, for their "quarter-pound beef burgers" and chicken nuggets and stuff. Now, when you're pulling up in a drive through and you see that on the menu, are people more likely to make that choice? Or say, "Maybe i'll try that instead" or ask the people who are working "hey, is this good?" and then, maybe that gives them an inclination to want to try it. If they even cut out meat one day of the week, that's a win for anybody so I think it's awesome, it's very cool. I'm very excited for it.
Michael: Honestly, just healthier too. I'm not going to stop going to McDonald's, I personally love it a lot but if I can make a healthier choice while I'm even there.
Andrea: For sure, it really does a huge difference. So, I think now, we should a little Q and A with Michael. Ask him a couple questions, learn more about who he is. So, the first question I have is, just tell me more about you, who you are, what do you do? What's your role here? How did you get started?
Michael: So, yeah I mean, I'm so excited to share it, I haven't had the opportunity to share that much about what we do publicly. But, basically I'm a Digital Marketer by trade. I worked with an older cousin on a water filter company where we were able to bring water filters to literally millions of people and help social issues there. We worked on projects in Flint, Michigan to donate water filters to there. Basically, using entrepreneurship and small business and products to help people in a positive way. So that really brought me to find Eco Four Twenty and make this company and realize these issues with air filtration, and these issues with- why are there not many eco-friendly products out on the market? So that really led me to wanting to do this but, from the core I'm a Digital Marketer, Social Media person by trade, and I've really loved to see how technology has grown in the the last, even 10 years. How now we can advertise, and as you know, we're working with people around the world in different countries that we wouldn't be able to, because technology wouldn't allow it to us.
Basically, I'm just a good organizer of people and a good entrepreneur through this Digital Marketing thing but I lean on great people, that's the thing. So you, and other people along me help the way.
Andrea: I mean, I definitely commend you. I feel like there's not many people that take something that they're passionate about, like business, and marketing and stuff, and kind've facilitate that for a better use, for a greater good and I think that's very awesome. I'm excited, so on that note, what kind of projects do you have in store for us, in 2021, from Eco Four Twenty?
Michael: Yeah! I'm super excited to share, we've had that top-selling air filter for a long time now. We've had it in the market now for over 2 years! Truthfully, we've only ever had it with one colour, it's always been something I've really wanted to do so I'm very excited that we're going to launch new colours. We're really gonna go forward with that.
We're doing more partnerships with other stores, where we'll even put other logos onto our products, and that collaboration/partnership, we're very excited about across Canada. One thing we're realizing is that, yeah we're in hundreds of stores, but a lot of these stores love marketing their own brands too, and there's so many unique, amazing brands around Canada now, around the U.S., and around the world that are really growing in this green industry.
Let's help them, and we're really excited about launching that kind of thing. Really just launching new products. I'm super excited to say, we have these new coconut candles we've been testing, we have a lot of new, eco-friendly products that we're gonna just do to challenge the status quo. My goal is to make these products so that other competitors and other people and other people are now trying to be more eco-friendly, that's always been an amazing passion of mine and I love that we've been able to do it successfully now. We're very much going to do it in the future and in 2021, too.
Andrea: That's amazing, I'm so glad to hear, and I heard that we also did a project for Mount Namuli. Do you want to tell me about that?
Michael: Yeah! Absolutely, one thing I really want to do is- my ultimate goal has always been to work with these charities that are already, feet-in-the-ground, locally helping people. One of the coolest things is being able to buy land, and then designate it for a good environmental project, designate it for- people cannot bulldoze it. People cannot deforest it. Let's have it so it's going to be good for the community and good for the environment. So, this project was in Mount Namuli in Mozambique, and what we were able to do is- it was the official charity called the "Rainforest Trust", but we helped donate money for that project. What this project did, is they bought a piece of land on the second largest sky mountain there. With that, they literally bought it so that it couldn't be deforested. They bought it because there's a lot of people living in that community there, but now they're doing projects. They're literally teaching them to do beekeeping, this is a very cool environmental alternative we can do to just cutting down the forest there.
If we are going to take forests down, can they do it in a sustainable way? If they're only taking certain ones that are already going to be falling down, if they're able to do it, where they're just not clear-cutting the forests. They're able to teach them, but to be honest a lot of this, unless you have the knowledge and technological know-how, you're not going to do it properly, you're just going to clear-cut the land.
So that's what this project is doing as well, and they're actually doing it with local people on the ground, and so that's actually 23 million acres in this Mozambique plateau that they're doing. So we do have a blog post about it but it's so cool that we're able to raise money for these eco-friendly initiatives, and we're gonna be doing a lot more with them. This is the "Rainforest Trust" and then it's also a local French charity called "Nitidae"- I might be mispronouncing it. But, these are the two charities that we're donating the money to so that we could be able to do these partnerships and actually, it's like a very cool thing where we can raise money, but we're also having a great time doing it too. I love that kind of partnership in that sense.
Andrea: It's amazing, it's such a good way to give back to the environment. I feel like even now, working from home is kind of tough so, when you're giving back to the environment, what are some things during Covid that you've done to give back yourself, and stay grounded?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely, it's a great question! I didn't expect that in 2021, we'd be working from home and doing this remote team-building stuff, so much! I think it's really important to stay grounded and even though we might be like, so isolated and alone in our own homes, there's still digital ways to connect. I make sure to message my family on Zoom, have a quick Facetime meetings, very quickly, with friends and family just to catch up. It's definitely been a challenge, but these are just the great ways to entertain yourself in a small way and have that. Nothing replaces the hug, I definitely miss all of these hugs that we used to do and that kind of close connection, and I think we're definitely getting there. Hopefully by the end of 2021, but it's definitely something that is still- I think these Zoom calls and these digital meetings are here to stay. How cool is that we're able to talk to people in other countries that we never used to? For me to be able to actually even have the Zoom meetings with partners in Chile, partners in China, partners in Japan. Where I never would've been able to do that before, I would've had to fly there. I think that's an amazing thing that I'm super excited that, if anything, Covid taught us to cherish that technology. 'Cause that technology is definitely here to stay and is getting better. Facetime's even been great to even work with partners, our manufacturing partners helped a lot with that.
Andrea: We're definitely fortunate for all the advances we've had. I'm sure a lot of people have been stuck at home, maybe they've been reading, doing some catching up. Is there any books that you would recommend that have helped you live a fulfilling life?
Michael: Absolutely! Yeah like, I love sharing it's a book called "How To Win Friends and Influence People". It's an older book by Dale Carnegie, basically the main topic that I got from it is just speaking in terms of the other person's interest. I think it's really important to promote this healthy understanding and healthy thoughts of, "What is the other person thinking?", "What are their benefits?", "What are their ulterior motives?" To actually learn about that, in friendships, in relationships, in business, in entrepreneurship and anything in life. I think it can be very helpful and it's something I've always really recommended to people. I think he provides a lot of good examples of times in history where, if you just thought about how the other person was feeling and how you could help them, it would just help you tenfold. So it's a great book, I loved reading it, I personally read it in an audio book too, several times over for me. But yeah, I definitely love it, especially in Covid times, like, what else is there to do?
Andrea: Yeah, that's very interesting to get into the psyche of other people's mentality and stuff. I like it! I'll definitely check it out. So, last question, what piece of advice would you give to people going into 2021?
Michael: Oh it's a great question, Andrea. Honestly I really, I think if anything, Covid has taught us that life is so short. We all had these 5, and 10, and 25 year plans, and I think it's really interesting. I really think people should just get out there and do it. They should really take the time to make their ideas a reality. Don't just let it stay in that idea form, Covid has affected everything around the world that it just goes to show, if we're not going to do it now then when will we do it? I've known that a lot of people are stuck at home for over a year, you know? What better time when you're stuck in your own thoughts to use that time to start a business, start a small entrepreneur project on the side. I've known many friends who have taken that opportunity and they've never looked back, they've loved it in a very positive way, it's been great for their own mental health and for their own side projects. It's a good aspirational thing so, guys, anybody listening. If you have something on your mind, you just want to think about and do it, just try to do it. If you fail a little bit, it's a really cool learning experience and just get out there and do it.
Andrea: I love it! Just live the most fulfilling life you can and even from home you can find ways to work on your interests and maybe even make some money off of them if you're fortunate. That was very insightful, I really appreciate it.
Michael: Thank you so much everybody for listening to this podcast. We can't wait to keep coming back and bringing you more exciting podcast episodes. We're gonna talk about more current events, as new, eco-friendly initiatives come out, we're gonna come out here and announce it. Andrea, can you tell everybody where they can check us out?
Andrea: That's a great question, Michael. Listeners can find us @ecofourtwenty on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. We really appreciate everyone helping us make the world a greener place, one podcast at a time.