£7.5m funding package to help farming innovator’s international expansion

Cocogreen founders Thomas Ogden and Dr Sudesh Fernando

Banking giant, Santander, has provided a £7.5m funding package for Manchester-based Cocogreen to expand its services worldwide.

The company produces an environmentally sustainable compost alternative, referred to as Cocogreen substrate, from coconut husks, a renewable raw material.

Santander UK has provided the £7.5m support package, as well as overseas bank accounts, and a Santander Navigator subscription – the bank’s platform that supports UK companies with international growth.

Cocogreen is a leading enterprise in the emerging clean tech space thanks to its circular business model in practice, and its world first substrate innovation, Moisture Control Technology (MCT).

MCT makes the plant’s fuel (water and fertiliser) more efficient by optimising the root zone environment. This allows roots to use up to 95% of the substrate to transport fertilisers applied by the grower, with a 20-30% reduction in waste. This is compared with an average of 50-60% substrate usage from the closest competitor.

MCT is a transformative innovation for the agriculture industry, stimulating greater plant health to increase yield volumes by up to 150% compared with traditional farming, and up to 40% in comparison with other hi-tech farming practices.

It also enables crop growers to make significant savings of up to 30% on water and fertiliser, reducing pollution and optimising the production of food products over less land mass.

More significantly, it elevates the product as a highly sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional, peat-based substrates. This is doubly important as the use of peat-based compost will be banned from 2030 in the UK, a trend mirrored across the EU and more globally, tackling a practice that accounts for almost five per cent of global carbon emissions.

Cocogreen owns 11 sites in Sri Lanka that grow, process and engineer coconuts into the final product, with operations now growing outside of Sri Lanka to meet the needs of a client base spread across the six continents. In the UK, the company also leverages the Kent-based Water Efficient Technology Centre, of which it is a founding partner.

More than half of Cocogreen’s business is already conducted outside the UK, and Santander UK’s funding is set to accelerate this continued international expansion to boost trade with new and existing clients in the Americas, Australasia, Europe, and Africa.

The business’s global team includes a staff of more than 600, including 20 in its Manchester head office.

Investment in its team will see the business expand activities in brand and marketing, ESG impact and operations, as well as achieving broader coverage in key markets abroad with strategically placed sales professionals, logistics, finance and other support and technical roles.

Cocogreen was founded in 2010 by Dr Sudesh Fernando and Thomas Ogden and has experienced accelerated growth in recent years. It is targeting – and on track for – a forecasted £40m (consolidated) turnover in 2025.

Thomas Ogden, chief commercial officer and co-founder, Cocogreen, said: “Santander invest the time into their relationship with Cocogreen. They make an effort to come and see us face to face and that is so important to us. We have established businesses in every continent in the world now, and relationships are key, so we needed a truly global partner to sit side by side with us to achieve our objectives.”

Luke Rowbotham, relationship director at Santander UK, said: “Santander UK is proud to support businesses, such as Cocogreen, with a strong sustainability ethos, to grow.”