Listen to the episode with Elliot Coad
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Show Notes

Today’s guest is Elliot Coad, co-founder and CEO of Ecologi (formerly known as Offset Earth).

Ecologi plants trees in various locations around the globe allowing its subscribers to offset their carbon footprints. In our conversation we discuss how Ecologi got started, their growth and plans, and the challenges of running this kind of startup.

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Listen to the episode with Lola Oyelayo-Pearson
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My guest in this episode is Lola Oyelayo-Pearson, UX Design Director at Shopify.

Lola is an accomplished designer, activist, and director of user experience at Shopify. In our short conversation we cover a wide range of topics from how to tackle “Wicked Problems” to climate justice, to whether organisations like Extinction Rebellion are filling a necessary role or are just a plaything for the priviledged.

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Listen to the episode with Katie Patrick
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Show Notes

My guest in this episode is Katie Patrick, CEO of Energy Lollipop.

Katie is an activist, entrepreneur, author, and unashamed optimist. I really wanted to speak to Katie because while, like most of my guests, she has deep concerns about our environmental impacts, she refuses to be conquered by “doom and gloom”.

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Listen to the episode with Zoisa Walton
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Show Notes

My guest in this episode is Zoisa Walton, CEO of Octopus Energy for Business, a UK-based renewable energy supplier.

We talk about the challenges of marketing sustainability to businesses as opposed to consumers, how to balance profit with purpose, and how to start switching to renewables without necessarily switching providers.

Resources

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Listen to the episode with Thomas Alisi
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Show Notes

My guest in this episode is Thomas Alisi, Founder of Energy Open Piazza, a platform to help transition built environments to sustainable energy.

In our conversation we discussed:

  • Thomas Alisi has an entrepreneurial mindset and is a software engineer by trade, he’s currently working on the Energy Open Piazza consortium with Unit 9’s enterprise technology division. The consortium won the Power Forward Challenge in February 2020 which secured public funding 
  • Energy Open Piazza is an algorithmic software that enables data driven decisions for energy usage with a focus on the increasingly electrified world and ensuring investments made in new electrified technologies are aligned with performance expectations.
  • In 2020, the consortium started with discovery, then transitioned to prototyping with companies, and is now working on an actionable prototype
  • Currently assembling prototypes into one single platform to get this ready for use and execution in order to assist users in making energy predictions based on costs and energy options 
  • In Q4 20 and Q1 21, the team is building a business plan that will translate the project into a commercial company 
  • Importance of working with partners that are using the prototype in order to understand and validate options with stakeholders in order to find the most valuable solution
  • Thomas’s personal motivation to focus on energy through learning about Elon Musk’s First Principles, which urges people to think at a very high level about what we do, how we do it, and determine if it can be optimized in regards to everything we do 
    • Ex: Elon Musk researched rockets and realized that the cost of bringing rockets to space is Billions of $s but the materials cost is Millions of $s, so he asked himself what is the problem of going from Millions to Billions and is it possible to optimize 
  • Thomas’s background of optimizing processes and how he started thinking about optimization within energy which led to his journey of better understanding the energy sector and areas of opportunity 
  • Thomas’s previous experience with supporting PhD students with public funding and how that assisted him through the Power Forward Challenge process 
  • The importance of partnerships and ability to show value when asking for public funding and grants
  • Energy Open Piazza’s current partnerships with Skanska and Ernst & Young 
  • Discussion that companies have aggressive carbon reduction goals that are difficult to accurately understand — part of the Energy Open Piazza mission is understanding what is feasible in order to support companies with making decisions that make financial sense 
  • Understanding how both energy and data works is very valuable

Resources

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Listen to the episode with Romain Diaz
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Show Notes

My guest today is Romain Diaz, founder and CEO of Satgana, a global venture builder focused on startups addressing the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In our conversation we discussed:

  • Romain’s background as an adventurer, going off the beaten path and working in countries like Mexico, South Africa, Morocco, and China.
  • Discussed how he started as a traditional entrepreneur focused on fin-tech and co-founded a startup studio in Cape Town, South Africa. FinChatBot was founded through this which creates “Conversational AI Solutions” for the Financial Services Industry
  • After a period of burnout, Romain took a break, traveled, and started focusing on climate change. He discovered the SDGs and had his “climate awakening” where his belief of the role businesses should have in society changed.
  • “All businesses should have a triple bottom line: Financial, Social, Environmental” but right now the majority of corporations only focus on the financial one.
  • Andrew Beebe from Obvious Ventures said “People talk a lot about profit and purpose. For a long time it was profit vs purpose, then we started to realize it was possible to combine purpose and profit. Now we’re entering a world of profit because purpose where the goal is to create companies where the more they sell, the more good there is for society and the environment”
  • Business has the potential to create new solutions, bring innovation to market and so on but on the other hand businesses are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and the largest creators of inequalities. Satgana therefore tries to combat this by funding and co-founding for-profit companies that are addressing the SDGs (environmental and social impact). The aim is to be a good company that builds other good companies.
  • The Satgana structure helps founders building companies from 0 to the first round of funding through providing operational, financing, marketing, and organizational expertise along with a living stipend for founders 
  • There is a strong focus on the way entrepreneurs are selected ensuring that there’s a clear focus on an SDG and not creating a negative impact on another SDG.
  • Satgana intends to become a B Corp as soon possible and help incubated companies apply and become B Corps as well
  • Many accelerator models focus on 6 months but then lose support while the Satgana differentiator is to bring the founder from 0 to funding 

Resources

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Listen to the episode with Astrid Scholz
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Show Notes

My guest today is Astrid Scholz, Co-Founder of Zebras Unite and CEO of Sphaera

In the episode, we discussed: 

  • Astrid’s past experience at Eco Trust (a conservation organization) looking for scalable business models that have landscape-scale impact. 
  • Her realization that organizations exist and create great innovations but they get siloed because it’s not the organization’s mission to go beyond.
  • Astrid’s idea of building a platform that makes it easy to discover, re-adapt, and discover what other companies are doing
  • Sphaera Solutions started as SaaS company with a public facing product where anyone can share company solutions, much like recipes. In essence a kind of open source platform for social change
  • Astrid’s experience of trying to raise money — “I ran into all the usual problems of raising capital while female” — experienced first-hand the biases and learned that the VC culture isn’t imaginative 
  • Jennifer Brandel and Mara Zepeda had similar experiences as female tech founders so together the three of them collaborated and wrote Sex & Startups
  • The women also realized that they didn’t want to compromise to pursue “growth at all costs” which led directly to the idea of Zebras Unite which is essentially that: “Companies can be built for profit and for purpose that have ambitious goals but don’t grow at all costs”
  • Zebras Unite has resonated with thousands of people and how has now grown to be a multi-state cooperative following the mantra of “Zebras fix what unicorns break”.
  • “People can be really deliberate about how they create their organizational culture… nobody forces you to pay you 500 times as a CEO what your lowest employee makes” 

Resources

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Listen to the episode with Rebecca Burgess
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Show Notes

My guest today is Rebecca Burgess, CEO of City to Sea, an environmental organisation on a mission to stop plastic pollution through campaigns. Rebecca shares her experience and focus within City to Sea while providing her personal beliefs on our climate emergency and the role plastic pollution plays.

In the episode, we discussed: 

  • Setting up behavior campaigns tackling items that are most commonly littered on beaches, rivers, and oceans (single use  plastic bottles, coffee cups, cotton bud sticks, and sanitary products)
  • How do you unlock businesses to drive social change – recognize the power, means, and money businesses hold to make change 
  • City to Sea’s focus on values — ‘be balanced’ — organisation is a critical friend and trusted peer to businesses finding the middle ground between criticizing that they’re not acting fast enough while also engaging with them and influencing within instead of just making everyone feel guilty 
  • Refill campaign around single use plastic water bottles — 30k businesses are listed on the app that offer to refill your water bottle for free instead of buying single use bottles
  • Benefits to a company on involvement in City to Sea campaigns — making change and leading to positive results, customer demand / concern on environment issues, and having the opportunity to lead something from the start  
  • Reasons for litter on the beach — education on throwing things away versus flushing down the toilet, infrastructure, and lack of care for the environment
  • Adapting to the pandemic — ex: Refill Day 2020 was cancelled which is a large opportunity for partners
  • Positive evolution of CSR teams — 5-10 years ago many were set up to be a textbook exercise without the authenticity and values piece that they have now 
  • Witness more companies investing in sustainability and being more responsible because it’s integral to their business going forward 
  • Main difference between B Corps and other setups is that the company is consistently getting reviewed and the B corp assessment is very rigorous
  • B corps must be committed to the end result because it takes time to complete the application and get accredited
  • Concern over affording reusable market and the need to scale this market based on customer demand 
  • Desire to see more ‘rent a reusable item’ systems in place — ex: rent a reusable cup and return it 
  • Changing the narrative from climate change to climate emergency
  • Closing the gap between plastic pollution and climate — use plastic sensitive as the first step on education in the climate emergency 
  • Importance of collaboration across businesses and nonprofits — come together, refine what we’re doing, and use your skills where you can add the most value 

Resources

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Listen to the episode with James Mayes
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Show Notes

My guest today is James Mayes, co-founder and CEO of Mind The Product, the world’s largest community of passionate product people that provides content, membership, events, training, and more.

James shared his excitement around working with product managers to solve problems and how we can think strategically within the climate change landscape. 

In the episode, we discussed: 

  • Bringing together like-minded product managers and people who are passionate about fighting for the environment through a slack community ‘How Might We’ 
  • Idea that people need to be passionate about the problem they’re trying to solve within the climate change landscape (single use plastics, clean energy, etc.) 
  • Discussion around environmental practices businesses can implement 
  • James’s observation that he runs conferences and has a carbon footprint 
  • James’s personal decision to offset his carbon footprint and bringing this discussion to Mind The Product 
  • Process of joining a community — what are you looking for within the community, what are you hoping to get out of this, and what problem are you trying to solve? 
  • Internal conversation around sustainable practices Mind The Product can implement at conferences such as increased use of video technology, green supplies within the conference center, and bamboo lanyards 
  • Evolution of business practices and ideas based on what works well and what can we improve upon 
  • Discussion on the future of in-person conferences and live events 
  • James’s hope to find a speaker with a credible story and a storyteller around climate change

Resources

Here are the direct links to resources mentioned in the episode:

  • Interested in joining the How Might We slack community? Reach out to James by email on james at mindtheproduct dot com
  • Mind the Product website

Video Version

Listen to the episode with Eduardo Gómez
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Show Notes

My guest today is Tim Frick, CEO of Mightybytes, a digital agency and certified B Corporation that helps great organizations create greater impact. Tim uses his business to drive social and environmental change. 

In the episode, we discussed:

  • The history of Mightybytes and why Tim made the decision to change the structure to a Certified B Corporation 
  • Tim Frick’s experience of personal sole searching and the realization that he gravitated towards working with organizations that drive social and environmental impact 
  • The unique structure and requirements of B Corporations which use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems 
  • Process of going through the B Assessments, which is an audit process every 3 years to ensure the company is adhering to B Corp guidelines
  • Using the B Impact Assessment in Mightybytes’ ongoing decisions (community, governance, workers, environment, customers)
  • Making decisions based off of the environmental review during the B Assessment — learned that the internet had a major carbon footprint 
  • Mightybytes’ focus on decreasing their internet carbon footprint through web optimization in performance and efficiency
  • Mightybytes’ commitment to using green hosting providers using the Green Web Foundation’s advice and guidance 
  • Declaration of a climate emergency within Mightybytes along with a communications toolkit that states this is an emergency and we need to treat it as such 
  • Goal of reaching net zero at Mightybytes through offsetting and decreasing travel, renewable energy hosting, analyzing office space energy uses, and more
  • 1% for the Planet Member — 1% of company profits are donated to environmental organizations

Resources

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Video Version