Full Disclosure! Carbon accounting is complicated, here at big group we partner with Alectro to make things simpler! Hear from Alectro’s co-founder Tim Gellar, who will explain how carbon reporting works and Alectro’s mission.
Hi Tim, Alectro began working with big group in 2021, what’s it been like?
Working with a big group has been an exhilarating experience. The involvement of diverse employees in the journey of reducing emissions and identifying carbon reduction routes has been fun. Rather than relying on a single individual, the collaborative effort of the entire team has propelled initiatives forward. It’s heartening to see employees suggesting innovative internal waste management schemes and actively choosing lower-carbon commute methods, leading to a remarkable decrease in office waste and commute emissions. This collective effort not only benefits the group itself but also radiates outward, influencing suppliers and clients.
You co-founded Alectro in 2019, what made you do it?
Co-founding Alectro in 2019 was driven by a desire to inspire companies to adopt sustainable practices and proactively address climate issues. Having witnessed the environmental challenges firsthand, I recognised that the corporate sector could play a pivotal role. By offering businesses effective tools and strategies, I wanted to have an impact on the planet while encouraging a collective commitment to climate action.
Can you provide an overview of Alectro and its mission?
We’re dedicated to enabling every employee to become a climate champion, our mission revolves around empowering businesses to embrace sustainability from within. By equipping each employee with the knowledge, tools, and resources to make environmentally conscious decisions, we aim to create a network of change agents within organisations. Our focus extends beyond traditional approaches to carbon reduction, as we believe that collective effort, driven by informed and motivated employees, can drive real transformation. At its core, Alectro’s mission is about creating a culture of sustainability that ripples through entire industries and makes meaningful change.
What sets Alectro apart from its competitors?
Alectro sets itself apart by providing both enterprise and individual dashboards, these act as a one-stop solution, providing sustainability leaders with documentation and reporting standards for informed decision-making.
By granting each employee a login to attribute their carbon footprint to the company and offering the ability to explore supplier impacts, the dashboard fosters engagement and empowers positive change. Additionally, the dashboard’s features streamline reporting, enhance traceability, and offer a dynamic tool for aligning with sustainability goals.
Many businesses you work with are service-based and might not know how much of an impact they are having; how does Alectro work with these businesses?
We work with these businesses to recognise their indirect impact on the environment through purchasing power, renewable energy choices, and promoting sustainable behaviours. By encouraging responsible consumption and influencing suppliers, these businesses contribute to broader sustainable shifts within the industry.
How do you gather data from businesses to ensure accurate carbon impact assessments?
We use three methods: direct manual entry for utilities like electricity and gas usage, financial data analysis using activity-based or spend-based methods, and employee-entered data through surveys. These data streams are tracked within the platform, enhancing data accuracy and enabling climate champions to ensure precise conversion factors.
What challenges do you face in obtaining reliable data from businesses?
The challenges stem from businesses not having comprehensive Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for their products and suppliers, which creates a bit of a dilemma. By collaborating and sharing with other businesses, it becomes possible to report accurately and enhance sustainability practices. Businesses need to acknowledge the absence of specific data and show a dedication to ongoing improvement. Starting this journey is often the most crucial step.
How have your conversations with businesses changed within the last 3 years?
We focus more on supplier interactions, employee engagement, and actionable steps, rather than solely on carbon value. At Alectro, we understand that the first step is getting started on the journey towards sustainability, and we look to provide a road map. Businesses are increasingly interested in how they can interact with their suppliers and employees, understanding that across-the-board engagement leads to more effective and meaningful sustainability efforts.
How do you translate carbon impact data into actionable recommendations for businesses to reduce their environmental footprint?
We use a database of benchmarked actions; these actions are continually improved through employee proposals and tracked within the platform. Sharing unique and innovative actions among businesses fosters a dynamic and effective approach to addressing sustainability.
What strategies do you use to engage businesses that may not prioritise sustainability or are new to carbon impact reporting?
Focussing on cost reduction, finding new clients, attracting a mindful workforce and using efficient technology helps us attract and work with businesses that are just starting on their sustainability journey. Another aspect is that businesses often recommend other businesses in their supply chain to reduce their carbon impact, this helps foster a collaborative and mutually beneficial approach to sustainability.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role?
Witnessing companies’ excitement about proposed actions from their employees is really rewarding. These actions collectively shape a product that reflects collaboration and inclusiveness, and it’s inspiring to see clients’ enthusiasm as new features are revealed. Knowing that Alectro’s efforts contribute to meaningful change and inspire companies to take proactive steps is truly fulfilling.
What’s next for Alectro?
Alectro’s future involves streamlining reporting, enabling customised emission factor databases, and adding an Environmental, Social, and Governance module. We want to empower businesses with even more comprehensive tools for sustainability management, completing our virtual sustainability officer concept. As the world becomes more complex and businesses gather more Life Cycle Assessments from their suppliers, we want to provide a platform that allows individual companies to create their own knowledge database, fostering continuous growth and sustainable transformation.
To find out more about big group’s environmental goals, find our emissions statement here.