By Riley Kaminer
Businesses of all sizes are increasingly aware that mitigating climate change is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ Nor is a mere marketing strategy. Rather, investors and consumers alike are pushing corporations to consider the environmental impact of their daily operations.
A critical part of sustainability is reducing carbon emissions, which will help mitigate the effects of climate change – and save lives. But that’s easier said than done.
Enter SustainaBase, a West Palm Beach-based startup that aims to help organizations track their carbon footprint. SustainaBase cleans and ingests data related to a company’s environmental impact. This covers all aspects of a business, such as their water use, their waste, and their packaging. The platform then interprets this data and displays dynamic visualizations.
“We help organizations track this in a way that has it all in one place for them, so they can have a strategy, they can have their goals,” SustainaBase co-founder and CEO Gaida Zirkelbach (pictured above) explained in an interview with Refresh Miami.
Sustainability plays a key role in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) compliance, which is increasingly important in many businesses. However, Zirkelbach underscored that sustainability can also have a positive impact on a business’s bottom line. She gave the example of the Palm Beach Gardens-based health food company Garden of Life, which tracks its carbon footprint using SustainaBase’s tools. The platform enabled Garden of Life to become carbon neutral certified.
“Because of that, they're able to have a climate pledge friendly designation on Amazon for their products, which is very exciting,” said Zirkelbach. “Garden of Life is an example of a customer that is forward-thinking in their sustainability strategy, making sure they monitor their carbon footprint in a way that's dynamic and easily trackable – and doing something about it.”
Holly Lichtenfeld, the startup’s Chief Growth & Strategic Alliances Officer, noted that SustainaBase is addressing a real, and growing, need: “A lot of the challenge is simply not having a good system – and an automated system – to give them the information that they need. We're surprised by how many companies at this moment in time are in that spot.”
SustainaBase is deeply rooted in the Palm Beach, and South Florida, tech ecosystem. The company took part in West Palm Beach innovation hub 1909’s accelerator program. “We want to make sure we support the entrepreneurial community as we build it,” Zirkelbach said. “I think it helps everyone in so many ways, whether you're just starting out or are more established.”
The startup currently has less than 10 full-time employees, but Zirkelbach expects “to ramp that up quite a bit in the coming year.” The SustainaBase team was remote from its inception in 2019, which ended up being a strategic advantage during Covid. Since restrictions have been lifted, Zirkelbach said that the team has started to meet about once a week in person. “So far it seems like that makes our team happy and makes us work well.”
In the next six to twelve months, Zirkelbach said we can expect to see “a lot of growth” from SustainaBase. “What I hope is that we see a lot of companies wanting to understand and lower their footprint, and us helping them do something about it.”
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