Going carbon neutral with startup Pathzero
Ballast Point managing director Mat Wilk reveals how small businesses can go carbon neutral quickly
As a small business owner, reducing our company’s carbon footprint is important to me. I’ll be totally honest here – I like the sound of it. I want to be associated with being carbon neutral, it’s where we’re heading as a society, and I think it’s good for our brand. I have been thinking about it for a long time but never quite knew where to start. Big corporations, like Microsoft, are doing a lot in this space, but what can little guys like me do to help solve the problems of the world?
A bit of research – while waiting in a queue of cars to get a Covid stick inserted into my nose and into what I’m sure was part of my brain – led me to a startup called Pathzero, which offers a simple and affordable way for small and medium-sized businesses to go carbon neutral in five minutes.
This appealed to me. I knew it was what what I should do; it’s how taking climate action should work, and it’s the only way it can work for a large number of people. For a small company, spending thousands of dollars on consultants and time on implementation does not work – their business strategy really spoke to me and I saw a lot of parallels to things we were working on. So I contacted company co-founder Carl Prins, who was very generous with his time. We discussed the changing landscape of consulting, management systems and technology, and I agreed to give carbon neutrality a go.
So, what exactly does going carbon neutral mean? It’s about removing as much CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as your company emits, so you are not making our climate crisis any worse.
Pathzero was started by Carl and Charbel Ayoub, who met doing global venture capital and startup generator Antler’s program in Sydney. Carl previously ran an energy startup, where he became aware that small and medium-sized enterprises were not being served in this space. Charbel is a seasoned technology leader with a knack for building self-service apps. The pair set out to create a solution that was as effective as getting consultants in, but simpler and more affordable, so SMEs can join the movement to net zero emissions.
Pathzero helps you understand your company’s carbon footprint, set a path to achieve carbon neutrality and share your climate commitment with confidence. I had to fill out a questionnaire outlining such things as the type of business we are, how many people work in the office and how they get to work. It costs us around $100 per month.
Carl made me feel like we were collaborators rather than customers. It felt right. I did my best to take notes during the sign-up process and called him again to give him some pretty detailed feedback, which he appreciated, and which led quickly to changes he initiated in the sign up process.
I’m impressed by the innovative technology these guys have introduced. They are solving a problem from a different direction. You buy the offsets up front, so the more you do to reduce your carbon emissions in terms of your operation, the less you pay. If one of our architects, Pete, rides his bike to the office instead of driving, we save money.
Until this came along this was very difficult to do. It’s a process that involves a consultant researching it, preparing a report, recommending changes, implementing the changes then the offsetting comes down the track. Small and medium-sized businesses make up 90 per cent of companies and 50 per cent of employment worldwide, so this kind of thing can make a huge difference.
From a branding perspective, I believe it’s important to be seen to do the right thing, but from a fact of life perspective it’s inevitable. Everyone’s going to have to be carbon neutral at some point. Historically, the river doesn’t get cleaned up until you can no longer swim in it. That’s the only way things really change. Climate change has evolved from an issue that you tend to feel strongly about and become a fact of life.
It’s also a way of reducing operational costs, and it helps give our staff pride in the fact that they are doing their bit for the environment.
If you have a small office, I believe this is the way to go. I would definitely invest in this company and wish Carl and his team all the best.