08 Feb SustainIQ perfectly positioned as ESG comes to the fore in 2022
Fantastic piece on SustainIQ by British Business Bank Northern Ireland on its efforts to bring ESG to the fore in 2022 and beyond through its platform that can measure and report on ESG impacts. Keep up the good work Liam McEvoy and Maria Diffley!
Article from: newsletter.co.uk
(Image showing: SustainIQ co-founders Liam McEvoy and Maria Diffley.)
SustainIQ assists businesses in meeting their ESG commitments by measuring and reporting on their social, economic and environmental impacts.
Its unique software solution helps businesses unlock intelligent data and produce a fully integrated picture of their sustainability impacts on people and planet from their products and procurement.
According to Forbes Magazine: “ESG is expanding exponentially, and it’s likely to become more vital in 2022.”
The magazine also reports that sustainability will remain critical for both consumers and investors.
SustainIQ co-founder, Liam McEvoy has been working in the sustainability sector for two decades, but he has never witnessed a sea-change like the one we’re seeing now.
Liam said: “There has been an explosion in ESG. In my 20 years doing this I have never known the conversation to move as quickly as it is now.
“With the Paris Agreement and the UK government really stepping out in front and taking a lead on Net Zero through its ambitious targets, sustainability is something which all businesses, regardless of their size, need to be placing front and centre in their strategic decision-making.”
Liam and fellow co-founder, Maria Diffley hatched the idea for SustainIQ at an awards ceremony in 2017. Both worked in sustainability, albeit different sectors, but both were encountering problems with capturing data in an efficient way.
Liam continued: “We soon realised that there was a real need to create a solution that would help organisations use their sustainability performance to drive business improvement. This is how SustainIQ was born and after developing our online platform we initially focussed on the construction industry, although we were soon being contacted by companies in the FMCG sector.”
SustainIQ now works with a portfolio of companies including the SHS Group, Coca Cola HBC Ireland & NI, Belfast Harbour, Translink and Gilbert-Ash.
Liam explained: “Very early on we took part in the Springboard Programme at Catalyst. This was a programme for start-ups and entrepreneurs who were ready to scale and raise investment. This gave us access to the world of investors and we received funding from four private investors and Co-Fund NI which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.”
In December 2020, British Business Investments, a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, committed £10m through its Regional Angels Programme to Co-Fund NI to help provide growth capital to early stage, high potential smaller businesses in NI. Invest NI, which established Co-Fund NI, also contributed £6.1million to the programme.
Mark Sterritt, the British Business Bank’s UK network director for NI, stated: “Co-Fund NI was established to help smaller businesses with growth aspirations access equity finance to assist them in reaching their potential. It’s about helping those businesses really develop and succeed.
“Net Zero will be a key theme in 2022 and it is great to see SustainIQ in such a strong position to be able to help other businesses embark on their sustainability journey.”
The Co-Fund NI investment came at the start of 2021 and helped fast-track the company’s development.
Liam explained: “It was a game-changer for us. It allowed us to bring our tech in-house and establish customer success and marketing teams as well as helping us build our profile and our brand. It has allowed us to accelerate our growth, which has been so important due to the direction of travel of ESG and the increase in Net-Zero commitments. We are now on over 600 sites across the UK and Ireland within multiple sectors and 2022 is looking very bright for us.
“Yes, money was a key factor, but it wasn’t our only consideration when it came to equity finance. The business was already revenue generating but Maria and I did a gap analysis to really understand what we needed to do to get to the next stage.
“We found that through equity finance we could bring on board people who could offer invaluable advice, skills and expertise. The British Business Bank is a good example of that, and we know that if we put a call in today to say we needed advice in a certain area, they would help us or open us up to their network.
“Having that community to tap into was a big benefit for us and I would encourage other small businesses out there seeking to grow to consider equity finance. We are now perfectly positioned to help companies set and develop their sustainability goals. This is something which all businesses must consider, or risk being left behind. It’s understandable with so many smaller businesses still in survival or recovery mode that owners may want to kick the sustainability can further down the road.
“But my message is to consider the cost of doing nothing. We are all going to be paying for our carbon emissions before long, therefore it is important to start your journey now.
“My advice would be to educate yourself on what sustainability means to you, your business and the sector it operates in.
“Start recording your data – if there is an emission such as electricity or a company car then there is a cost associated with it. You need to start recording this data.”
Liam insists the ESG and Net-Zero focus provides opportunities for businesses to grow. He added: “Just look at public sector tenders. Increasingly we’re seeing these contain sections on sustainability which can carry a weighting of 20% towards your overall score. When it comes to tenders it’s not always about price, instead being able to demonstrate your sustainability record can help you win contracts. This is all happening now, it is easy to think we have another decade to get up to speed but we truly don’t.https://66ff30ff94b0ec3038dc8035f787f06c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“My advice is to make 2022 the year you start your sustainability journey or pick up the pace if it’s already underway – there’s no time to lose.”