Carbon Credentials is an energy management company using AI systems to help businesses reduce carbon emissions. Working with retail giants such as Tesco and John Lewis, the company, which has 60 employees, uses its AI platform to analyze 12 million rows of data every day, to assess the energy performance of more than 40,000 buildings across the world.
As organizations face mounting pressure to commit to carbon reduction, the company’s CEO Paul Lewis, who lives in London with his wife and daughter, explains why his company is so important in helping businesses achieve the carbon neutral dream.
LS: So what is your business all about?
PL: Making a positive impact.
LS: Can you expand a little on that?
PL: We get out of bed every day to be part of the drive towards a low carbon economy. We do this by making sustainability exciting and driving positive impacts for our clients.
We mainly work with large and complex organizations who are serious about their own results. Amongst them, our clients have over 40,000 buildings and a combined energy expenditure of over £2 billion per year. We are hungry and ambitious, and know that to make a real difference in the time scale the planet needs, we need to grow by 10x a few times over, and fast.
We engage stakeholders and employees at all levels of the business, from boardroom through to boiler room, securing buy in across the company and to support the entire carbon reduction process.
For the team at Carbon Credentials it’s about empowerment, everyone turns up to work wanting to make a difference and our business gives them the scope to do that. We’re hard working, collaborative and have a sense of camaraderie that manifests because of our shared sense of purpose and pride in the work that we do.
LS: And how do you use AI to drive your business?
PL: We use AI enabled data analytics technology to diagnose and optimize energy usage, we implement performance monitoring for sustained benefits that positively impact and influence our clients’ environmental, social and financial outputs.
LS: How are you different to other competitors in the market?
PL: We’re not just a consultancy, we’re not just a technology platform. Our technology and people come together to drive highly impactful, highly action orientated services that really get to the heart of what businesses’ challenges and opportunities are around the low carbon agenda.
For example, we worked with a small chain of hotels, Village Hotel Club, to address their energy performance and re-evaluate the role of sustainability in their business. We helped them to create a strategy and identify opportunities to improve the way their buildings function, which enabled them to release over half a million a year in energy savings.
Our technology differentiates us because we use it to support and enable our clients to drive transformational innovation. Our data platform ADAPt, has been developed into a high-performing platform with the ability to connect a multitude of different kinds of information in one centralized location.
We monitor 12 million rows of data a day on the energy performance of our clients’ buildings.
LS: It can be a hard task persuading businesses to spend money on environmentally-friendly practices …
PL: We recently worked with BNP Paribas on two sites to reduce energy use by improving CHP plant control and contractor awareness through the use of data collected through our Collaborative Assured Performance Project (CAPP), which is analyzed in ADAPt. The three year project has already paid for itself in the first 12 months, achieving savings of over £150,000 and almost 700 tons of CO2.
LS: That’s fantastic. Can you tell me about some of the other challenges have you faced?
PL: When I look back, I often see that the challenges have turned out to be realizations or opportunity for us to be true to ourselves. Related to this is that we are incredibly innovative and collaborative in our nature. This means that ideas often quickly develop into business opportunities which need serious consideration. We need to challenge ourselves around prioritization and ensuring that everything we do stays true to our mission and purpose.
The very top of my priority list is to maintain an outstanding quality of service to each of our clients. Managing growth without compromising on the quality of our service is certainly testing, but one that I feel we handle well and are always working on. I’m very careful about how and who we work with and our structures and systems must be agile enough to constantly deliver what our clients demand and expect. I remember when I was personally involved with each of our clients but alas there are not enough hours in the day for this to be still the case!
LS: How do you help your clients stick to their carbon reduction goals?
PL: To date, we’ve helped one in six UK companies including Tesco and Pukka Herbs set science-based targets which have been independently validated and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). These give an organization a well-defined pathway to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase between 1.5 celsius and 2 celsius.
One of my fondest memories is when Emma, one of our junior consultants, presented to Tesco what she thought their Science-Based targets should be. I was incredibly proud of her, and as a result, Tesco – a large emitter of carbon – set a truly ambitious carbon reduction target.
LS: You’re obviously very passionate about tackling climate change. Where did this come from?
PL: I was born into a large and lively family of environmental enthusiasts and grew up on the Isle of Wight. The house I grew up in was rebuilt when I was very young and redesigned by my parents to be as energy efficient as possible. The thermal insulating properties were incredibly high for a domestic house of its time, and my father still raves about them nearly 40 years on…
LS: What’s your ultimate goal?
PL: I am glad to say that my personal ambition and that of Carbon Credentials is inextricably linked: To put a sizable dent in the side of climate change. Nothing less will satisfy me or the company.
In short, over the next five years, the plan is more exponential increase in impact, in an environmental, social and financial sense for our clients.
To make that happen, this means growth. Growth in terms of our teams’ skills and capabilities, growth in terms or our technological capabilities: in artificial intelligence, our ability to seamlessly connect our software with hundreds of thousands and in time millions of buildings. We are going to grow in our international reach. We currently collect data from 60 countries and this is set to increase.