Welcome to the Winter 2023 edition of Ahead of the Curve.

While new year resolutions may have gone a little out of fashion, January remains a traditional time to look at new ideas for the year ahead. Therefore, we thought it fitting for this edition of Ahead of the Curve to profile businesses that have innovation at their core.

The two featured companies we have chosen are both ambitious start-ups whose core values have ESG (environmental, social, and governance) firmly at the heart.

HigherSteaks: Operating in the field of cellular agriculture, HigherSteaks has the ambitious mission to transform the global food system by making nutritious food from animal cells and plants. Dr Ruth Faram, its co-founder, and Chief Scientific Officer, talked to us about building the company foundations during the pandemic, gaining investor support, and the challenges the company, and the cellular agriculture sector as a whole, faces. HigherSteaks’ products may be available sooner that you may think!

City Farm Systems: Jonathan Lodge founded his business, City Farm Systems, before ESG was the hot topic of conversation it is today. His inspiration was rooted in resource efficiencies, and overcoming the cost challenge of last mile delivery. With environmental concerns becoming a key consideration and an important metric for all organisations, and agri businesses in particular, the City Farm Systems model of growing herbs and lettuces at the point of order, and to precise demand, could revolutionise the way we buy those products.

ESG is about a lot more than the environment the environment. The social dimension – put simply, the way businesses relate to their internal and external stakeholders – is just as important.

The Tech sector is commonly perceived as young and progressive, with workplace environments viewed as fun, informal and rewarding. However, 2022 saw a notable increase in the number of employment related issues arising for employers in the Tech sector. In this edition, our employment law experts explore the issues that have arisen over the past year and other linked issues including:

• How much do we really know about the tech sector’s treatment of older workers?
• With only 16% of IT professionals being female, is the IT sector too ‘macho’?
• In light of the current economic climate and reduced demand as restrictions related to Covid have eased, how has the Tech sector approached redundancies?
• What should businesses consider if they use technology, in particular, AI, to make HR decisions?

Thank you for taking the time to read Ahead of the Curve, we hope you enjoy it.