Celebrity Investors Are Transforming the Zero-Waste Space


The world of celebrity investments is becoming more and more commonplace. And headlines about a famous person backing a new Silicon Valley startup seem to make the rounds every week. From professional athletes and actors to models and musicians, A-listers are putting their substantial wealth to good use. 

A growing number of celebs are using their platforms to elevate new startups, entrepreneurs, and causes that they believe in. More and more, they’re investing in a broad range of sustainability-focused startups that are doing good for the planet, including food tech brands, fashion lines, and beauty brands. 

Celebrities using their platforms for good

Take Grammy Award-winning musician Rihanna, for example. The business mogul, who recently achieved billionaire status last year, is using her affluence to fight the climate crisis. Earlier this year, she pledged $15 million through her charitable organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation, to groups that are working to mitigate global warming. She’s also invested in the vegan cookie brand Partake Foods.

Then, there’s Jay-Z. The most prolific celebrity backer, according to the Celebrity Investments Index, the hip-hop artist and entrepreneur has made a number of lucrative investments through his investment firm, Marcy Venture Partners. Jay-Z—whose real name is Shawn Carter—is heavily involved in the plant-based food space. He’s invested in countless vegan brands, including Impossible Foods; Los Angeles-based cashew cheese brand, Misha’s Kind Foods; Swedish oat milk brand, Oatly; and plant-based chicken brand, Simulate.

And one would be remiss not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio, the founding father of sustainable celebrity investments. The Academy Award-winning actor has invested in numerous sustainable startups, including lab-grown diamond company, Diamond Foundry; recycling technology company, Rubicon; and he was an early investor in electric car-maker, Fisker.  

Celebrity investors are also tackling waste

DiCaprio’s organization, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation—which he founded in 1998 to support sustainable organizations and initiatives—is especially interested in the zero-waste sector. 

According to Terry Tamminen, the foundation’s CEO, figuring out how to finance the transition to a zero-waste future is a major economic opportunity—one that the foundation supports. 

“Investing in converting waste to valuable materials is of interest to investors because of climate change, tremendous pressure on natural ecosystems, better technology for conversion and the need to harvest more materials locally,” Tamminen explained.

Through his VC firm, Jay-Z also invested in British Columbia, Canada-based brand Pela, which makes compostable cell phone cases and phone grip stands.

They’re not the only celebrities backing the zero-waste industry. As environmental awareness increases, so too are investments in this field, helmed by the likes of Beyoncé, Ashton Kutcher, and Zooey Deschanel. Here are other celebrities using their influence to move the needle forward on sustainability.

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