Danish eco-pencils growing on global market

The sustainable pencil company Sprout has reached a larger audience outside of Denmark with its pencils that turn into vegetables.

Danish eco-pencils growing on global market
Sprout old pencils will eventually become plants. Photo: Sprout.
Sprout, a Danish firm based in Taastrup, is quickly growing success outside of Denmark. The company's sustainable pencils that turn into plants and vegetables recently caught the attention of the influential US television programme The Today Show, opening the product up to a much wider market.
The morning programme, viewed by millions of Americans, featured the sustainable pencils in a recent back-to-school feature, something the company hopes will give it a major boost in the US. 
“It's really difficult to feature The Today Show; it sort of came out of the blue,” Sprout CEO Michael Stausholm told The Local. “The US market is very important for us. Right now about 90 percent of our business is within Europe, but the idea and the production comes from US. We want to get the European and American markets on the same level”
Sprout, which has pencils that can grow into 13 different plants, has also seen its popularity rise in European countries like Spain, getting featured in the newspaper El País and the parenting magazine Serpadres.
“Right now, our biggest market by far is Italy,” Stausholm said. “Maybe because the Mediterranean climate is better for planting and growing plants”.
The Sprout team told TV2 that their pencils may also soon be featured on the Martha Stewart Show, another programme with a massive audience in the US. 
The concept behind Sprout is simple. The pencils contain seeds and once it is too short to write with anymore, you can just put it in a flowerpot with soil and water and wait for it to flourish. Within 8-22 days, depending on the seed variety, your old pencil will become a plant of basil, rosemary, coriander, cherry tomatoes or green peppers.

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‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.