Written by Greta Vaivadaite
World, meet Daniela – a ecopreneur who is pioneering a way to provide green solutions to small to medium sized businesses by being one of the founders of Ecofye. In the hustle and bustle of the ever changing technology sector, green tech start-ups are blooming and are seen as the pathfinders that provide niche solutions to transform the world into the sustainable haven. With the green economy now worth as much as the fossil fuel sector 1, it is not just a profitable business to be a part of – but one that feels good too. Dive into the brain of Daniela in our conversation below, as I pick the brain of the bright, young, and inspiring woman who had a green vision and made it come to fruition.
Greta Vaivadaite for A\J: What is the story behind Ecofye? What inspired you to start the company?
DO: I met my co-founder, Tiago, during our Masters in Climate Change, Management and Finance at Imperial College. Ecofye started as a consulting project and slowly evolved from there. We saw the need from companies to implement impactful and meaningful changes. We noticed that many of them were enthusiastic about implementing sustainability metrics, however, they were basically doing whatever they thought was best at the time – and sustainability can be overwhelming sometimes. So, we decided to help companies to become sustainable with real tangible and achievable objectives such as carbon neutrality and more. This pushed us to launch Ecofye. In the process, we noticed that small to medium-sized businesses represent over 90% of the UK’s economy, these companies have the most flexible business models and therefore can implement any changes faster than any long established company. We then decided to launch a software tool that makes sustainability more accessible. We want to facilitate SMEs to access relevant information that allows them to change through technology, what we want is to really accelerate climate action.
GV: What is the most critical initiative you are working on now and how do you plan on achieving it?
DO: I would say the software tool that we are working on. It’s called the Ecofye Plus. It has been challenging to coordinate the logic of the tool and make sure there is no greenwashing, nor double counting of emissions. We do love a good challenge though, and are really enjoying the process – we can’t wait to see the platform up and running which is expected to be in April 2021.
GV: In your opinion, how are eco start-ups viewed vs. regular start-ups?
DO: The fields are either very defined or very vague. You can be a fintech, or something hybrid like us… a green tech SaaS intertwined with some disruptive technologies such as IoT which also does selected sustainability consulting for companies. We love the tech side of our company, but at the same time, we love to get hands-on with projects, we try to keep a good balance. I would say that there must be a change and improvement not only by mitigating climate change but by improving other sectors such as health and cybersecurity. It doesn’t matter whether your company falls into the green industry or not, as long as it’s having a positive impact and improving the world that we currently live in.
“We need to remember that climate action can only be achieved through collaboration.”
GV: What are the main challenges that are presented for being a green entrepreneur?
DO: People often struggle to understand why it is important to implement a change and transition towards better practices. My co-founder and I studied the same Masters program, so it’s tricky sometimes as we have found ourselves caught in the high climate change conversation loop but we are aware of this and we make sure to understand different approaches as most people think differently. We have to do our best to advocate what we believe in, which is a more resilient future. We recognize that these same values and thinking may not be present in every industry or mindset we approach. To succeed in this, we need to work with the other sectors and approaches. We need to remember that climate action can only be achieved through collaboration.
GV: What do you see in the future of the green industry and why?
DO: I can imagine companies implementing changes because it might be soon required by governments. I believe sustainability will be a requirement rather than a nice to have feature in the future. The amount of climate disasters that our planet is experiencing does not even fit in the news. And this is costing governments and insurances a lot of money. So, the best strategy for us to continue co-existing in this world is by reducing emissions and changing business as usual. I also hope that transparency in practices amongst companies is demanded. With all the technology, it is possible – it’s just a matter of time. But something that I want to make sure and emphasise is that implementing better practices does not mean compromising financial performance, on the contrary! It is a great benefit for everyone in the long run.
“Implementing better practices does not mean compromising financial performance.”
In a world that is rapidly evolving – in order to exist, businesses need to adapt, and in a sustainable manner too. As many businesses fear the financial aspect associated with being green, Daniela begs to differ – proving that being more sustainable now will save you more bucks in the future. Ecofye steps in to serve the niche spot that Daniela and Tiago saw was missing, with their hopes of making this world greener – one business at a time.